The final day of Cheltenham with the running of the Gold Cup ....

An overcast morning but not cold...

Friday, 18 February 2011

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms."

 - George Eliot



Akula (Colin Bolger) and Marvo (Ashley)

An overcast morning but not cold and, as yet, no rain but I see from the forecast that we should be getting a deluge over the weekend. Colin Bolger phoned yesterday to say he was going to Fakenham for one ride today and he could call in to school on his way. So, we took six horses up to the Links first lot, where he and Ashley did a great job. They all schooled very well on absolutely perfect ground with plenty of grass on it and every clerk of the course in the country would have called it 'good' ground. Some excitement at second lot when one of the two year old colts got loose at the start of the Warren Hill polytrack; he cantered up with the string and then proceeded to pick a fight with Barwick. Now, I don't mean just a playful fight - I mean teeth and feet - it was like a high street on a Saturday night. They were soon separated and normal service resumed but the lad in question will be getting plenty of work to take his mind off other things.


Finger Spin (Colin Bolger) and Smokey Oakey (Ashley)

The post mortem results from Saturday's tragedy at Newbury were announced yesterday and, as everybody thought, electrocution was the cause. I hope now that all other tracks, and I am sure they are, will be looking into their own electric cables, especially where there have been new installations. They have done well to get the card back on today but it is a big disappointment that they have seen fit to drop the prize money by £100,000.


The heathman knocks the hurdle back into position


Finger Spin and Smokey Oakey

One runner today, Miss Wendy in the 3.30 pm at Lingfield, where Neil Callan rides. She was a bit out of her depth last time at Sandown over hurdles and this doesn't look easy today but she is fit and well and likes the surface, so may scrape into a place.
Yesterday's runner, Astrodiva, finished second in what was a moderate contest but she blew for twenty minutes afterwards and everybody's thoughts were that she hated the surface. 


Finger Spin and Smokey Oakey


Watch Chain (Colin) and Astroleo (Ashley)

Ladbrokes announced a 20% rise in their profits yesterday and although, importantly, they announced they are committed to racing they stated that the take in the shops on racing was down. With the growth of betting on the internet and telephones, it is far easier to bet through these mediums, than to go in person into a shop. The only people, who spend long on the premises, are the ones playing on the machines which produce so much profit for them. Many people keep writing that the racing industry should have a closer relationship with the bookmakers with an aim to working together for the good of both of them. I couldn't agree more but it cannot be one-sided and, although the racing side keeps banging on about more money, we will not get anywhere until the betting industry understand this crucial point. Everybody wants a healthy and prosperous industry and we could get it if the right people talked.


Crossing the Fordham Road onto Rayes Lane