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A damp start

Friday, 20 January 2012

"Pleasure in the work puts perfection in the work."



From left to right: Akula, Zenarinda and Marvo

A very mild morning but we have had good downpours of rain and it's now very damp. I took the older horses to the Al Bahathri to do some fast work at second lot and, apart from one group who hadn't got a brain between them, all went well. All the staff are in great spirits though despite the rain and we are all looking forward to getting the horses back into full swing and the start of the new turf season. The Programme Book for 2012 has just arrived. It's only about 4 months late but better late than never - and although it only goes up to the first meeting at Doncaster, it starts to get you planning well ahead.


Astrolibra (Iain)

Astroscarlet ran a very sound race last night as I had hoped she would do.  John Fahy  gave her a sensible ride and I thought that he would have been a lot nearer if he had laid her up earlier on, in what was a slowly run race. I hope the handicapper doesn't have a rush of blood to the head once again and put her up too much, but she is sure to improve and will certainly win races in the future.

Her dam Astrolove has just gone over to Ireland to be covered by Big Bad Bob. She has gone to  Des and Mariann Leadon's Swordlestown Little Stud just outside Naas. We only ever send a maiden or barren mare over to Ireland.


Akula (Liam)

The new Chief Executive Paul Bittar was on Radio 5 Live this morning being interviewed by the presenters on the new whip rule. He hinted that the punishment should fit the crime and I hope this could be the start of new thinking to come.

Unfortunately it was much too late for Robert Winston who failed in his appeal to get his 22 day suspension reduced. This means if for some reason he goes over the limit again his ban will be for 3 months or more, which would force him to go to ride overseas and would certainly change him forever.

We are starting to see a big change with the jockeys being frightened to death of going over the limit,                and I feel that it reduces our racing to a very low level. There are many horses that should win that don't purely because of the whip rule. I keep saying it, but let's hope that common sence prevails quickly.


Smokey Oakey (Butch)

Answers to Phil's Quiz

We clearly under-estimated the knowledge of our followers when we predicted that a score in double figures could be enough to win our Christmas/New Year quiz. It needed to be in the twenties to get near the top!

The winner was Mr. Richard Marriott who, incredibly, and with the help of his family, got everything spot on, even the fiendish bonus questions.

There was a strong entry this year – congratulations to everyone who did so well, especially runner-up Derek Walsh and Ian Bronger who was third. We hope the quiz gave a lot of pleasure to all you racing fans.

Here are the answers:

1) Champion NH jockey – Fred Winter

2) The ‘card-sharper’ etc – Bob Sievier

3) Trainer at the Pearly Gates – Sir Mark Prescott

4) More realistic - Sir Henry Cecil

5) The Troggs’ drummer – Richard Hannon

6) Twelve consecutive winners – Sir Gordon Richards

7) Home Guard chief – Fred Darling

8) Warned-off jockey – Charlie Smirke

9) Grand National losers – All trained at Fairlawne, owned by the Cazalet family

10) Arc winner – Saint Crespin

11) Cornwall con – Trodmore Hunt Steeplechases

12) Lincoln/National winning jockey – Dave Dick

13) Foggy National winner – Caughoo

14) The ‘love child’ filly – Signorinetta

15) New owner at 75 – Sir Winston Churchill

16) Expert commentator – Sir Peter O’Sullevan

17) Grey Classic winner – Airborne

18) Winking Ascot winner – Brown Jack

19) Strangely-coloured super-horse – The Tetrarch

20) ‘Make way for a bloody racehorse’ – Tommy Weston

Bonus questions:

Lead waistcoats – Jack Jarvis

Titled lady – Caroline Duchess of Montrose

The poem – Lippe upon (various spellings)