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

It's a cold old morning

Friday, 24 November 2017

"The longer we live, the more we find we are like other persons."

Oliver Wendell Holmes.


and having a pick of grass

It’s a bright, sunny morning with the temperature actually getting colder as the light came up and we have had a good ground frost. It’s been a mixed morning staff wise, with the two new ones fitting in well, but still two non-runners, which is disappointing yet again. The horses have been cantering healthily and they look and feel in great form. I am starting to really get into them and get back into racing fitness. It is not a bad time to have a quiet spell as the racing is very hit and miss at this time of year with the fixture list thin on the ground. It will all start firing up again after Christmas when there will be racing everywhere.

I know I go on about the race planning, but if you were on the coalface, like we are, you would understand that the race planning is completely non-existence and there is no coordination with anybody. It is the racecourses that put on what they want and don’t seem to take any advice from anybody. It could so easily be sorted out with a proper programme for every type of horse, but for such a long time this has not been the case. You would have thought in this day and age, and especially with the fancy computer programmes that have been produced, it would be easy to do, and it could be, but the right people aren’t asked or there is a big reluctance from some areas of the industry to change.

Walking back home

Quite rightly the BHA has come under fire for their plans to change the rules on doping. They have thrown the baby out with the bathwater after the disciplinary panel, which the BHA set up themselves, failed to uphold the BHA’s own appeal. In fact it stated that the trainer in question had no case to answer and had taken every possible step to prevent the positive test happening. The main point here is that the BHA want trainers to be responsible for everything, i.e., all their staff, and whatever medication they are taking themselves. They also want trainers to be responsible for racecourse premises and in fact anywhere when the horses are under the trainers care, (so if a box at the racecourse is contaminated by a racecourse employee mucking it out, i.e. having a pee in the box, whilst taking human medication that is on the racing banned list, the trainer is responsible). We as trainers want to eradicate anybody who dopes and have unbelievably strong precautions against such things, but it is impossible to be 100% certain, whether it is in the yard, or at the races, that something out of our control has happened. The BHA does a great job and our doping system is as good as many nations worldwide. Their truculence in this case is misplaced.

Dandy Man ex Boucheron yearling colt

Angie and I were very appreciative to be invited to the Peter O’Sullevan lunch. His charity does so much for horse welfare both here and overseas. The voice of racing, who died a couple of years ago, is still held in the highest esteem by the racing public and professionals. This day always raises a lot of money for the charity with the auction itself raising £120,000. One of their beneficiaries is one of our favourite charities The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre which does an amazing job of rehoming retired racehorses. Both these charities have Christmas cards and with not long to go, if you are still looking for a card, these would be very good causes to support.

If you are interested in placing an order for your Christmas cards with The Peter O'Sullevan Charitable Trust, please contact:
Agnes Zauner at Red Dot, 63 Rosendale Road, London, SE21 8DY
Order Line: 020 8333 1411   email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 TRC_Captain_CeeBee     TRC_Kempton_Races

The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre
Tel: 01524 812 649 | Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it     
Phil On Friday

Some horses are more well-travelled than the average human these days. Take the Melbourne Cup. The first three were Irish-trained and horses bred in the northern hemisphere filled the first 12 places. Then there is the Breeders’ Cup where Britain and the rest of Europe are always well represented, the Dubai racing carnival at Meydan, and so on. A race in Ireland or France is considered by some to involve little more than a local commute. Aussies and Americans regularly turn up at Ascot and Godolphin fly their animals in and out every year.

The long-distance travelling of horses has developed beyond measure in recent years. What would our forefathers have made of it all?

Well, ‘international racing’, albeit more common and refined now, is nothing new. The fabulous Hungarian mare Kincsem won every one of her 54 races and travelled all over Europe in the 1870s to do it, even taking in a trip to England where she was victorious at Goodwood. The Russians sent three horses to Aintree for a 1960s Grand National. They took three weeks to get here by train and another three to get back, with nothing to show for their enterprise.

An element of ‘international racing’ was evident as early as the 17th century. Ten horses were shipped to America from England in an effort to get the sport off the ground there but, unfortunately, they arrived in the midst of a famine and were promptly eaten. A shipment 10 years later proved more successful.

The export of stallions was big business in the 18th and 19th centuries. The 1780 Derby winner Diomed went to the USA and was followed abroad by later Derby winners Gustavus (1821) who went to Prussia, Middleton (1825) to Russia, and Cadland (1837) to France.

The French soon cottoned on to the idea of ‘international racing’ but in 1802 a jockey called Charles Percival was ‘objected to as English’. He would have lost a ride at Champs-de-Mer but for the intervention of ‘an officer and a gentleman’.

“How long have you been in France?” asked the officer, clearly a man of considerable influence. “Since ‘89” replied Charles. “Well then, as you took part in the gaining of our liberty you are a Frenchman, and may ride.” Percival did, and won easily.

The officer and gentleman was Napoleon.