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

A very dark morning...

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Wouldn't life be worth the living
Wouldn't dreams be coming true
If we kept the Christmas spirit
All the whole year through?
~Author Unknown



Astrodiva comes to load on to the horsebox, en route to Kempton tonight

A very dark morning, in fact, I would say that it is nearly the darkest morning of the year we have had so far. It is also pouring with rain and the forecast is terrible, so all-in-all plenty to look forward to! I was up at Garrowby early in the week and they still have a tremendous amount of snow, which seems to be hanging about waiting for some more to fall out of the sky. Alan and Tina and the crew have done an unbelievable job under trying circumstances to keep the show on the road. All the horses looked absolutely fantastic: the weanlings have really grown and developed and the horses-in-training look relaxed and happy.  


Astrodonna loads next

Two runners today, both at Kempton on the all-weather. Astrodiva runs in the mile and an half maiden at 5.00 pm. There are one or two in here that, on paper, have better form but she hated the fibresand last time out at Southwell and has run well on polytrack before, so it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that she could make the frame again today. The same comments apply to Astrodonna, who runs later on in the mile handicap at 6.30 pm. She was on top form towards the latter stages of the flat season and she still gives me the impression at home that she is very well in herself but she will need a bit of luck in running, as her racing style requires her to be ridden that way.


Wajid on the Windsor Knot ex Imposition filly brings up the rear

I had an enjoyable night at the Gimcrack club at York this week, where the speeches are historically given by the connections of the winner of the Gimcrack and, usually, by a major player in the industry. This time we had William Haggas, the trainer of the winner, on behalf of Harry Herbert's Highclere syndicate and  the chairman of the Levy Board, Paul Lee. William spoke with great clarity and tried to put across how the fixture list has expanded nearly to exhaustion point but the returns to those involved have diminished. He pointed out that there are four racing countries in the world where prize money was improving and they all had no bookmakers. He implored that side of the industry to get their act together and to work for the good of racing and with it, rather than purely for their own profits. He also pointed out that the 12 betting shops in Newmarket (yes, you read that right - 12. Why we need so many, nobody knows) did not have one advertisement, promoting horse racing, in their windows during last week. He also highlighted the bookmakers' insistence of pushing forward virtual racing and the slot machines to the detriment of live UK horse racing. Paul Lee spoke clearly and concisely but told us nothing new and it was a typical political-type speech. There was a passing mention of the betting exchanges but nothing to get excited about.


The wind must be blowing south south-westerly this morning

Phil's Christmas quiz is taking shape and will be up on the site by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. There will be prizes for the first four, so do encourage everybody to have a go. You can either reply by e-mail or by post, it is always a great competition with some facts and I don't know where he gets them from, which are absolutely amazing. Just what you need to do when you are snowed in or had too much to eat and drink.      


Zeeshan on the Act One ex Torcross leads the yearlings around the ride