Velvet Vista runs at 5.45 followed by Astrojewel in the 8.45 ...

Everyone in today

Friday, 10 November 2017

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?"

George Canning.


We remember



It's a dull morning with a little light drizzle at times. The forecast is for it to get colder this weekend as the air comes down from the north. Everybody was in this morning, in fact we had an extra one as well which always helps, and we have had a good first two lots. They have just been on polytracks local to the yard.



We shall be having no runners for the next 5 or 6 days as the horses are all having their annual 'flu jab and their EHV14 booster. The 'flu jab is an official requirement of every racehorse and the booster is now required in every overseas country. Being live vaccine it is better not to stress the horses in the immediate aftermath. It won't do them any harm and we shall be just walking and trotting for a few days next week. I wonder how long it will be before I am telling you of some loose ones. Once they are bucking and kicking again we can carry on cantering.



As I said yesterday, we have had the expert woodman in this week as there are several dead trees in the woods surrounding the stud. It is fascinating to watch the climbers go up the trees and they have been doing a marvellous job. We shall leave a lot of the wood for the insects and the birds, but we have several tons of logs which will soon get used on the woodburning fires.    

        clearance        rum

                          Clearance (left) and Rum Ration (right) with two lucky magpies

Tim has been doing a really great job of breaking the first batch of yearlings and three of them cantered properly for the first time in the string yesterday. All went well although one or two were quite fresh. We shall be getting the first group of homebred fillies into the yard, probably in about 10 days time. This gives us time to get more boxes steam cleaned and painted.                                                                  

      isaac          dandy

The yearlings first canter: Isaac Murphy (left),  the Dandy Man ex Boucheron colt (right) and below Garrison Law


Phil on Friday


It’s time for a confession. Some years ago, along with many others involved in racing, I was naïve enough to think that more TV exposure of our sport was a good thing. ‘Let’s show our product to the world’, we thought, ‘and all will be sweetness and light’. Wrong! On a day to day basis we tune in to see the very poorest fare our sport has to offer. Bingo is probably more exciting.

There are exceptions at grass roots level, notably Chelmsford where they at least try to make it worthwhile for owners and trainers to have a go. But how it all contrasts with the feast of racing we have just had with Champions Day, the Breeders’ Cup and Melbourne Cup.

Now obviously we can’t expect anything approaching that very often, but perhaps there is a lesson in there somewhere. A bit of class just now and again instead of daily dross would do racing so much more good.

I have been ‘confined to barracks’ lately and my enforced viewing of At The Races has left me stupefied. It isn’t the presenters’ fault, and certainly not that of the commentators for whom I have undying admiration. No, it’s those ads. Of course they are required to balance the books but, if they become such a turn-off that no-one bothers to watch the programme at all, what’s the point?

Goodness knows whether my family will be able to afford my funeral, although I have been asked dozens, nay scores, of times in the last week. As for that smelly youth whose mother is having to borrow money at toe-curling rates to get the boiler mended, tell him to jump in the river. And what’s the old man doing, just wandering off eating his toast?

There is so much else, not least that discordant jingle at the beginning and end of the commercial breaks which, in modern parlance, does my head in. But I’m out of space.

Keep trying though, ATR, your professionals handle it well. But what good is the whole package doing for the popularity of racing? Definitely a negative.