The big build up begins ....

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It's a chilly autumnal day

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

"Once a game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box."

Italian Proverb.

Warming up with a trot up Hamilton Hill

     09_Tpin     16_Breeze
(L) Topapinion and (R) Astrobreeze

It must be 10 degrees colder this morning after yesterday’s very strange weather. It was 24 degrees at Yarmouth and the sky was yellow with a big red / orangey sun. It was dark so early as well and then we finished with a gale in the evening. It is back to a normal autumn cold, crisp, clear morning. We have been getting on well in the yard with everybody in who should be in and we have been using the Rubbing House canter and Hamilton Hill. All has gone well so far and Tim is getting on with the breaking of the yearlings that are already in. We will soon be getting an influx as the ones from the stud will be in the yard shortly. That will please Angie and David as it will give them plenty of time to work on the paddocks and move horses about.


Dixon ran ok yesterday but had every chance and failed to quicken. He was much more relaxed and didn’t pull at all. It looks to me like he wants quite a bit further and that is the route we will be taking next time. There were nine races yesterday at Yarmouth, including the very good listed race which was moved from Bath. I think the crowd definitely got their monies worth.

     14_Ttmab     18_Bracken
(L) TTMAB and (R) Bracken Brae

It’s the big build up this week to the Champion’s Day at Ascot on Saturday, where every race will be very competitive. Let’s hope the ground doesn’t go too soft and that everything turns up and runs. There is so much good racing at this time of year for these high class horses and you need a stable packed full of group performers to keep having the runners. Horses are not Grand Prix cars that you can take the engine out of, or put new tyres on, or change the gear box, they are very delicate creatures and you have to try to get them cherry rip on the day. The ground and draw, which is out of your control, plays a major part, in fact sometimes it is a miracle it all goes right. It just goes to show what a fantastic organisation Coolmore is and what reserves they have to call on, all done within their own establishment. It would be marvellous to see Aidan break the Group 1 record at Ascot this weekend and he certainly has every chance.

Dandy Man ex Boucheron yearling colt

The pumpkin won its class once again at the weekend, see picture. She is now finished and will be used as a seed donor for next year’s crop. Mind you I saw a picture of the biggest one grown in England this year, and it was about ten times the size of ours, but I still don’t think we have done too badly for amateurs. 

The Pumpkin Show


One runner today at Yarmouth

Monday, 16 October 2017

"Guilt is always hungry – don’t let it consume you."

Terri Guillemets.


It’s an overcast morning and we have had a mixture of weather already, showers of rain, some sunshine and the wind can’t make its mind up what it wants to do. One minute there is none and the next minute there is a good breeze. Hopefully we are only going to get the edge of the hurricane, which was aiming towards Ireland when last I heard a forecast. We have a couple of non-runners today but we have got on well so far and the horses have had a good cantering exercise on the polytracks.

Pulling out for second lot

Lost The Moon didn’t run too badly at York, although the ground was definitely against her. It was very false and great clods were being kicked up. It all stems from watering as the roots don’t go down, they go sideways. If the roots grew down, the turf would be much stronger and the ground wouldn’t be so loose, but I was reasonably pleased with her run and she is getting back to something like her form.

We have one runner today at Yarmouth. Dixon runs in the mile and a quarter handicap at 4.10. Since he has gone handicapping he has been fourth and second and should be there about today if we don’t get any rain.

Looking down Hamilton Hill

The most serious thing to happen at the weekend, and one that will have a lot of repercussion, is the sad death of stable lad Ken Dooley who was kicked in the head while attending his horse at Kempton on Saturday night. He evidently walked quite a long way up the stable yard before collapsing at the entrance. There are investigations going on I know into the matter, but it seems to me that there was no defibrillator in the stable office. I don’t think any of the personnel had any first aid training and it took quite a while before a doctor, and then an ambulance to arrive. There was plenty of heroic stable staff on hand who tried to save him, and they deserve our thanks, but the truth is horses are dangerous animals that can kick and bite at any time. I just hope the investigation is thorough and we get the right answers and processes put into place, but as always it takes an accident as serious as this to make the powers that be understand what is needed. The staff are working flat out and doing a brilliant job to produce the product for the betting industry, but they need to have everything possible in place when accidents like this occur.

... and looking up

It was very sad to read of the death of Patrick Haslam at the weekend. He was a top class trainer, great horseman and a great thinker about the sport. He did the job the right way and had been brought up properly, working for the famous trainer George Todd. He was a real help to me when he moved from Newmarket as he advised a few of his owners, who didn’t want to move up north, to have their horses with me. Hard As Iron, who was handicapper of the year, and Firelight Fiesta are two that I will fondly remember, especially Hard As Iron who Ray Cochrane got on with particularly well and who loved running at York. He was not the greatest of movers and we used to swim him a lot, but he had the heart of a lion, just like Patrick. Our thoughts go to his wife Annie and son Ben, who had taken over the training during Patrick’s illness. We wish Ben every success in the future.


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