The turf season is just around the corner ...


The coverings have started in earnest

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

"Liberty doesn’t work as well in practice as it does in speeches."

Will Rogers.

Cantering on the farm canters

It’s a mild morning with no frost. There is very little wind and it looks like staying this way for the next couple of days. Everybody is in again and all are working well. The horses are really starting to shape up now and let’s hope we get a clear run right through to the start of the turf season. We have been mainly using Southfield Round today and cantering about a mile and a half at a steady pace.

Belle Bayeux

We are having a very busy morning at the stud today with two coverings. The first box left at half past three for an early morning covering at Whitsbury Stud. Four Miracles is visiting Due Diligence this year. The other has got a much shorter journey to Cheveley Park where Azure Mist is being covered by Mayson. It is very technical nowadays in that we cover, or try to, at exactly the right time and let’s hope they are both in foal at the first attempt.

Cantering on the turf and moving well

It is always easy being the other side of the fence when commenting on somebody else’s job and training horses is a difficult business. Each horse is an individual and needs careful handling and planning of its racing programme. They are not cars that you can remove an engine or a tyre. I always refer to them a bit like boxers in that they have only got two or three top class fights in them. It is alright on the way up beating inferior opponents, but when you start to get into the big time and the pressure is on, each individual horse, a bit like humans, can take it differently. There is a comment today in the Racing Post about why trainers run their horses straight in the top races without a trial run, but in my opinion the trainer certainly knows best and there shouldn’t be any outside pressure to do otherwise.


Katie Walsh talks a lot of sense

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

"It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help."


Cantering this morning

Pageant Master

It’s a much colder morning although bright and dry. We have got a slight breeze and that is making it feel even colder. I made the mistake at first lot of going out without my over trousers on, which I certainly needed. All the riders are in and a good mornings cantering has gone on. At present, as well as using the polytracks, we have been on the turf which is certainly riding on the good side and a drop of rain would help a lot.

Walking through open stalls to continue the education

There is a great common-sense piece in the racing post today by Katie Walsh on how anybody can get on in racing regardless of their background and education. Her observations should be read by all the people in high places that have no experience of racing. It will assure them that in our industry everybody who has enthusiasm and works hard has equal opportunity. It is a delight to read such a good article. Her other comment is that trainers should know best whether to run their horse or not on ground that is unsuitable. You will have read plenty of times over the years me complaining about clerk of the courses who tell you the ground is one thing only for you to find, when you have got the horse to the races, that it is completely different. The cost of transport and staff is horrendous nowadays and the biggest item on most owners’ bills, so having honest and genuine clerk of the courses giving everybody a proper ground report is imperative. When it is incorrect, it costs a lot of money and aggro, plus sometimes owners insist on the horse running on unsuitable ground. This doesn’t do the horse any good and usually disappoints the owner.

Planes have been busy this morning

It was the stable staff awards last night in London with only the stud staff award going to Newmarket, a well-deserved win for Andrew Snell. It always seems amazing to me, or not really, that very few Newmarket staff ever get to the final and there is a bias towards certain yards that always seem to have a finalist and quite often the winner. In my opinion, and I am sure many others, the whole process, which is a great reward for the staff, needs a re-jig.


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