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The thaw is yet to arrive

Wednesday, 08 February 2012

"There is no education like adversity"

Benjamin Disraeli.

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Mystery Star (Lauren) Cat Island (Abbi) Dazinski (Steve)

It has yet again been very cold overnight with the temperature dropping to -6 or 8 degrees at times, especially when the stars were out. However as the cloud cover came over it had risen to a very warm -2 by first lot. The artificial canters have stood up to it really well and the walking grounds are safe if you take your time. We had everything out and cantered at first and second lot and the youngsters will be in the indoor school and possibly have a canter as well. Everything is eating well and they are even starting to lose their coats. This cold weather is great for killing the bugs and keeps the air nice and clear.

      7-_Steve_leading_Dazinski_back_to_the_box                     Steve leading Dazinski back to his box after a canter up Warren Hill                                     

We have one runner today at Kempton, which thank goodness has been moved forward from one of those stupid twilight meetings to a normal afternoon. Astroscarlet runs in the 5 o’clock, the mile and a half handicap for three year olds. I am pretty hopeful of a sound run as she showed she can stay this trip last time and she has also shown her liking for this track. So let’s hope we can have a good shout today.

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Comrade Bond (John) leading second lot out of the indoor ride

I see MP Matthew Hancock’s ten-minute rule debate in the House of Commons was successful yesterday and goes forward to a second reading. His aim is to find a replacement for the levy and get off-shore operators and exchanges with a racing right to pay tax. If both on-shore and off- shore operators paid for this right it would greatly improve the finances of racing, and without doubt would benefit everybody including the bookmakers and the government. There is a very slim chance of it making the Statute Book in this session but he has put a marker down for the future and it is a good start.

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The Guv'nors snowman - Is it a tea pot or a tank?

There is a very good article on the on-course bookmaking industry in the Racing Post today and one everybody should read as it gives plenty of food for thought. Since Betfair and the exchanges hit the scene the on-course bookmakers have gone into decline. There are fewer and fewer of them nowadays all fighting for the few bets that are now done on course. With the amount of mundane racing we get in order to keep the shops and exchanges going, the punters would rather stay at home and bet on-line than go to the soulless racecourses to see very poor fare. In my opinion this cannot continue as the bookies bring excitement and vibrancy to the tracks. You only have to go to France other than on Arc day or the occasional day at Deauville to see what I mean. Without the bookmakers in England it would be just the same - nobody there.

What are the answers?

1/ I think the courses should follow Towcester’s line and let everybody in for free. This would certainly work as the admission fee the public is charged is way too high.

2/ Charge the on-course bookmakers less to stand.

3/ Change the tax regime to give on-course bookmakers a chance of making a reasonable living.

Times do change but we certainly don’t want to see the end of the bookies on course as we know it.

7-_Kathleen-Francis_Hannah

Kathleen Frances (Hannah)

I didn’t mention it yesterday but the Owls were playing their fourth round F.A Cup replay last night at Hillsborough. We lost 0-3 to Blackpool and now concentration on the league can occupy our minds fully.

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The swimming pool over at the indoor ride - frozen over