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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

"Experience makes more timid men than it does wise ones."

Josh Billings.

11_Jewel
Astrojewel

06_Blaze
Astroblaze

When will it stop raining? It has poured again this morning and it looks like it is going to be showery for most of the day. The jump boys must be fed up with this weather as the ground on all the courses is desperate and with all the racing they have on it, it never gets a chance to be repaired. Most of the clerks of the courses have been watering and they are now running on ploughed fields most of the time. Everybody is in this morning with the flag flying and we have had two lots of workers on the Cambridge Road polytrack. It was dark and wet, with the rain lashing down and with no shelter, it was only the horses that lit up the morning and one or two of them really did that. I am delighted with what I see at present. Most of the rest will be cantering close to home on the polytracks.

13_Cantering
Cantering up Hamilton Hill

Our runner today has had to be withdrawn with a skin rash. It is in a strange place on her chest and has suddenly come up the last two days. I was hoping it would go down yesterday, but it has got slightly worse overnight and you cannot send anything to the races that has an ‘if’ about it. It means we will be able to get on with one or two other jobs at home and I have been chasing people around to get them done.

16_Ness
Ness Of Brodgar

Catastrophic is the headline on the Racing Post this morning with the Arc Chief Executive warning that’s what it will be if the FOBT machines in the betting shops reduce to £2 per spin. There is nothing set in stone though, and this is the sort of headline I thought would happen, but more from the bookmakers than the racecourse chiefs. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a settled industry, with the income stream right, the fixture list sensible and everything calm in the world. We seem to have a constant threat all the time with the BHA running round like a headless chicken and nobody knowing what is going to happen.

Take the BHA’s letter of congratulations to the appointment of secretary of state for Northern Ireland. It should have gone to Karen Bradley, but instead they sent it to Karren Brady. It came from the chairman Steven Harmen, who evidently thanked her for the role she played in the Levy reform. It was even dated wrong, January 2017, so whoever the idiot was who did both needs a quiet word in their ear, or maybe the catchphrase of the programme Karren Brady appears in, the apprentice, should apply.