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The weather can't decide what to do

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"You start making progress in life when you realize you don’t always have to resume where you left off."

Robert Brault.

15_Walking
Walking on the Hamilton Hill

09_Clipping
In the clipping box

It’s a mixed morning. It is certainly a bit warmer and we have already had rain and sunshine before 9 o’clock. It was lashing it down when I got here at half past five, but it had stopped before the horses pulled out at first lot. Although the sky looks black at times, we have not had any more. As you know, we are having an easy week exercise wise after the flu jabs at the weekend, and we had a good long walk and trot, followed by a very steady canter and a quiet walk back home. That has been the exercise for the vast majority of the horses, and will continue to be so for the rest of the week. My theory is that if you don’t stress them, they should absorb the injections, rather than it manifest into an outbreak. That’s my theory anyway.

Everybody is in this morning, so the flag is flying high and despite the weather, there is lots of cheerful banter.

28_Hay
Taking the hay to the steamer

It is hard to justify what happened yesterday at Kempton where the prize money was very good, but only three turned up for the Novice Hurdle and two turned up for the Novice Chase, as well as only two for the Graduation Chase. Both these chases had great prize money but nobody wanted to run and take on top horses, finish close to them and get killed in the handicap. The whole sport, whether it be flat or jumping, is becoming so top heavy that if something is not done to it, and quickly, I don’t know what will happen.

The jump boys are the only ones who want to keep Kempton as a racecourse and there is only one meeting that ever makes any money there, which could easily be moved to Sandown or Newbury. The sooner the planning permission is given and we get an all-weather track here at Newmarket, plus upgrades to Sandown and other Jockey Club holdings jumping courses, the better.

03_Stud
On the stud

You can see what the BHA seems to concentrate on, and they always get it wrong, in that there is more publicity about a set of silks that look like a dartboard than anything else. The estimate for it was £5,000 and it made £8,500. The other two lots failed to make the estimate and in fact one was knocked down to £1,000, so all in all it was another waste of time, although a small amount found its way to Racing Welfare.

The thing the BHA should have been doing yesterday, and failed once again, is holding the racecourses to account. They constantly tell us miss-information about ground conditions and although we have a new supposedly high powered website, the updates and communications on it are very slow. Ayr racecourse was completely caught out with their big Western Ayr Gold Cup meeting, but they have only got a warning from the BHA, rather than a massive fine or withdrawal of fixtures. It costs owners and trainers a fortune to get up there, in flights, hotel bills, transport for horses etc., but they got no recompense whatsoever. I don’t know what the three groups, The Owners Association, our National Trainers Association and the Jockeys Association are doing in this instance, but they should be going absolutely flat out to gain compensation from the racecourse. If these courses continue to get away with it, fiascos such as this one will continue.