Go to Kempton or Wolverhampton and then you will see what racing is really like ...

The weather was a pleasant surprise this morning

Thursday, 22 February 2018

"God has given you one face, and you make yourself another."

William Shakespeare.

The string cantering on Hamilton Hill

After being told to expect very cold weather today it was a pleasant surprise to find it mild with no wind. It is the calm before the storm though as the weekend looks sure to bring in an extremely cold blast, which should last a fair way through next week. It has been a good morning for us though with everybody in, so the flag is flying, and we have been able to give all the horses a nice exercise. I schooled four up at the Links at second lot on ground that was absolutely perfect. It just goes to show that if you don’t water the ground and it is well drained, you can get a good racing surface. The big problem is that the tracks water all the time and consequently when it rains it just becomes a bog. It has not been very good watching lately on the TV as most of the tracks, both here and in Ireland, have been running of desperate ground and the horses have been finishing incredibly tired. What can they do about it? Much less racing and don’t ever water in the jump season, even in the summer, it is fair then to all horses, whether you like top of the ground or the bog that we have at the moment.

     16_Schooling     17_Schooling
Clearance schooling this morning

There is a double page spread today from the BHA chairman and you won’t be surprised to know that yes, I had forgotten he was the chairman. Steve Harman has let the Chief Executive, Nick Rust, and his team take the full force of what has been happening over the last few years and has kept himself quiet in the background. Why this sudden big article I am not sure, but it may be something to do with the roadshows that are just about to hit the country. His four key ambitions for the industry when he started, i.e. the number of horses in training, betting turnover, attendances and extra income into the sport, have all been touched on. Very few of these have moved forward in the last few years, but at least they have not gone dramatically backward. I will be attending the roadshow at Newmarket next week and it will be interesting to hear what is said from the main table. I am sure the floor will have something to say as well.

Third lot pulling out

It’s all about the Cheltenham Festival at the moment. Trainers are having open days, there are plenty of money making evenings (with so called experts who all have an opinion on who will win or not), the clerk of the course under pressure because of the weather and ground and all owners, trainers and jockeys hoping their charge will stay in one piece and get to the races in the best of shape. There has been some great coverage, but somehow this year we have not got that one big horse or one big clash that everybody is talking about, but saying that it is four days of unmissable racing and there will be stories aplenty coming from it.