The turf season is just around the corner ...

We have two runners today at Chelmsford

Friday, 15 December 2017

"The difference between education and know-how is that one you pay for, the other you charge for."

Robert Brault.


The wind has died down this morning, but it is still bitterly cold. We have one non-runner once again and one leaving mid-morning for a doctor’s appointment. But the staff we do have in, both on the ground and riding, are doing a fantastic job keeping the yard running smoothly. So thank you.  We have used the polytracks close to home for all lots, with a good canter and gentle walk back. Out in the open it is hard to keep warm, so gloves, hats and thick coats is the order of the day. 


We have two runners today both at Chelmsford.  Our first is Astrofire in the 6.45, the fillies’ novice stakes. Running back over 7f this is her last race before being handicapped. She has a good draw but as usual there are some very nicely bred horses running against her, but I do feel she will run a good race and we will learn a bit more about her.

Bracken Brae is our other runner in the 8.15 handicap. This is a fairly competitive contest and she does have a very bad draw, but she seems in good heart and let’s hope she can give a good account of herself. She will definitely strip fitter for this one.

Roof Garden

Tonight at the London International Horse Show for part of their Race Night, there is once again the battle between the jumping and flat boys. To be held at Olympia they are raising money for the Injured Jockeys Fund. Started in 2014, the Markel Champions Challenge has seen many jockeys demonstrating their equine skills. This year the captains are Sir Anthony McCoy and Frankie Dettori.

Whilst Frankie has gone for a team of jockeys still riding, with the exception of Richard Hughes, AP has gone for a band of retired greats. Boasting many British and Irish champion jockey title between them, plus riding thousands of winners, they are not short of talent. Coached by Graham Fletcher and Olympic champion Nick Skelton the jockeys are timed whilst attacking six or eight show jumps.

They say raising money for the IJF is their main objective, but they are all sportsmen with the will to win. I think their competitive streak will come to the fore and they will go out to win for their team. Who knows there may even be a Frankie dismount on show.

Walking back home

Phil on Friday

Following on from last week’s piece about ‘carrying on regardless’ - in the case of Fred Archer it meant riding a Derby winner with one arm in a sling -  there is the matter of illness which seems to have afflicted several yards lately, including our own.

It can’t be helped – people genuinely fall ill from time to time though it would require nothing short of a minor nuclear explosion over Dullingham to stop the Guvnor and Mrs. T.

And speaking of carrying on regardless, I  well recall an incident, back in the old Flint Cottage Stables days, when a very senior member of staff turned up for work at 6 a.m. clearly much the worse for wear – looking desperately ill, in fact. There were clues to the reason for his demeanour. He was still wearing his evening suit, complete with black tie, and there was straw in his hair.

He had enjoyed rather a good, and long, night out. He hadn’t taken the time to go home and change but headed instead straight for the yard where he ‘kipped down’ in one of the horses’ boxes for the hour or so between the end of his revelry and preparing to ride out.

It is not known whether he shared the stable with a horse. In his state he wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway, and certainly could not have recalled much about the evening – or what had by now become morning.

He was feeling very ill. ‘Hangover’ would not have described his self-inflicted problem adequately. But here he was, admittedly supported by colleagues to keep him upright, reporting for duty on the dot. How effective he was that day, and the Guvnor’s reaction to it all, have gone unrecorded.

It wouldn’t happen now, lads…