Altered Method runs tonight in the 7.15 ...

Five degrees colder this morning...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

"The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it."

 - C.C. Scott



Second lot canters up Warren Hill

Five degrees colder this morning and a few snow flurries in the breeze but I don't think we are going to get much in the way of snow, as the barometer shows pretty steady. A good first lot of older horses did two canters up Warren Hill. I must be starting to warm up for the season, as a bollocking was swiftly dished out after the second canter because one or two were going too quick, much to the amusement of adjacent trainers and heathmen, who could see exactly the same happening to them. Second lot were a mix of two year olds and older horses with the two year olds having a canter up the Hill before walking through Warren Hill plantation and then cantering round Side Hill yearling circus. This is a really good exercise and the youngsters learn so much from it. At this stage in the year, I am as far forward as I want to be with everything. 


Easing down at the top of the canter

Two or three interesting articles in the Racing Post today. The first one about the William Hill boss, Ralph Topping, who wrote a letter to the Racing Post. The gist of it is that if the Levy decision by the government is not to his liking he will take the matter to the European Court of Justice. Culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will be fixing the Levy rate very shortly and, if he follows the independent board members, it should be nearer the £80 million mark. We must not forget that William Hill took legal action in the European courts, which halted the previous levy replacement scheme that the Government and racing had put forward. With the announcement of record profits for William Hill, he seems to want it all one way as usual and to put even less back in to the industry: moving offshore lost many jobs and saved their tax bill.
The second thing to comment on is Alastair Down's good piece on page 12 re: the attendance figures, which really tells it as it is. Apart from a few good courses that attract racegoers purely for the horses and racing, most of the other increases in attendance are to see the bands, which play after the racing has finished. They got 30,000 at Newbury when Westlife played with about 20,000 of them having no interest whatsoever in the racing. The argument is that a few may come back having enjoyed the day but it is only the other attractions which made them go in the first place. It also alienated more than will come back from the stalwarts of the normal and loyal Newbury followers.
The third thing that I always think is quite funny and can never understand and, which I hope they don't pay for, is having a 'face of the Derby' - what a complete waste of time. If they cannot market the Derby, the most famous race in the world, without having such a thing, it is a very poor reflection. Their PR promotions' department wants a bomb under it - maybe Racing for Pennies could help. It is very sad to see the decline of the Derby, which used to stop even Parliament and I would love to see it established back on a Wednesday with as high a profile as it should have: the most famous race in the world, that everybody wants to win.  


Walking through the woods between Warren Hill and Side Hill

I feel very sorry for all my West Ham supporting owners today, as it looked like they were on their way to Wembley at half time last night, only for it to turn pear-shaped in the second half when Birmingham staged a winning comeback. The only good thing about it is that Phil won't get as much stick when Birmingham beat Arsenal in February!


Emerging from the woods


Cantering around Side Hill