They are not children ...

It is still very dark first thing in the morning...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will and the other from a strong won't."

 - Henry Ward Beecher, quoted in the Associated Press



Astroleo leads the two year olds up Warren Hill second lot 


Walking home

It is still very dark first thing in the morning and today was no exception, as it didn't get really light until around eight o'clock, so combined with the rain it is quite a miserable morning. There was a bit of fun first lot, as they cantered up the Town canter on their way to Railway Land, when an unknown, loose horse loomed up upsides them in the dark. There was plenty of guessing as to whose it was but as yet we still don't know. First lot all did a good piece of fast work and are all ready to run. I just hope we can get some good ground but at the moment that looks very doubtful. Most of what the racecourses are calling good, good-to-soft is, in fact, absolutely bottomless and very heavy indeed.   


The Observatory ex Seasonal Blossom colt, ridden by Abby, above and below 


I was quoted today in the Racing Post, following my comments on the new Horsemen's tariff, which has just been issued to all trainers. I cannot quite understand Charlie Mann's comment and, I am sure, he may have been taken out of context, as the tariff is a very good guideline of what the racecourses can feasibly afford now they have started to get the media rights' payments. The Racecourse Association chairman, Ian Barlow, has written to 4000 owners and trainers warning against what he calls a boycott and, which he said, would be ineffective and probably counter-productive. He is only doing his job, as one would expect of somebody in that position and he produces a lot of figures to show the returns the racecourses are getting at present. This is already a start, as they are complaining before anything has begun. This is not a boycott or a strike, it is a sensible, reasoned decision and if everybody and I mean everybody, including the racecourses, cannot get this right, then we really are on the slippery slope.  


Rayvin Black, ridden by Ashley, above and below


Our first batch of foaling mares are in their boxes now with the first one due on 19th January. This is always an exciting time and a bit nerve-racking, as you are constantly keeping watch over them for any signs of action, whether they are in under camera or out in the field during the day. The first one due is Seasonal Blossom, the dam of Brushing, who is in foal to Dutch Art and whose yearlings sold very well this year. It is amazing how quickly the time comes round again, as it seems like only yesterday we were doing the same thing. You soon start collecting horses when you have broodmares, as by the time one is in training you also have a weanling, a foal and a mare back in foal again. Yet there is no greater feeling or excitement when your homebred wins a race or, in fact, actually makes the track.


Joe the Coat, ridden by Dan



Spirit Land, playing in the snow at his new home - see 'Where are they now' page