Horse welfare is paramount ...


We have two runners tonight at Kempton

Friday, 23 November 2018

"Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it."

L.M. Montgomery.

Ness Of Brodgar and Astrofire

It’s an overcast, still morning with no wind whatsoever but it’s not that cold, especially if you are working and keeping on the move. Tim has the day off so I was in at 4.45 feeding and all the horses were pleased to see me as they awoke from their slumbers. We are having quite a busy morning as we have a couple of runners later on. The horses have been cantering on the polytracks racecourse side and all has gone well so far.

Velvet Vista and Astromerry

We have two runners today both at Kempton this evening. Our first runner is Altered Method who is making his debut for us as is the jockey. The horse had a couple of runs for Hugo Palmer and has settled in well to our routine. There may be one or two a bit sharp for him today but I think he most definitely has a future. Our other runner is Belle Bayeux in the 6.15, the seven furlong fillies’ novice stakes. She has had a couple of runs and is starting to get the idea, but once again this looks a very hot race as all these races are at this time of year. She is drawn badly in 14 which also cramps her chances. She is a big scopy filly who will get a lot further as she matures. Our jockey Ray Dawson is having his first rides for us as I said. He comes from Ireland and is attached to Jane Chapple-Hyam. He does a good weight and if he gets lucky and listens to what we tell him should get plenty more chances.

Walking back after exercise

One of Newmarket stalwart trainers, Luca Cumani, had his last runner yesterday when drawn badly and very nearly got the send-off he deserves. She finished second though and I am sure will be winning in the coming months. I must heap praise on Luca who has been a marvellous trainer and a great credit to his profession. He has had one or two big knocks over the years, through no fault of his own, but has kept his dignity in a most admirable way. He and Sarah will be running their Fittocks Stud which has already produced top class winners and I am sure will be even better now.


Angie and I were very lucky yesterday to be invited to the Peter O’Sullevan awards lunch which is always a marvellous day. Our owner Dame Judi Dench was there as she is patron of the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre and a thoroughly good lunch was had by one and all. Johnnie Francome conducted the auction which raised nearly £100,000 and as usual with Johnnie, was peppered with plenty of jokes. In fact Michael Parkinson who followed was overwhelmed by the brilliance of it. He said after listening to Johnnie he might as well go home now, but his recollections of his many interviews were very enlightening. The Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust Christmas Card is now on sale and all the money goes to great causes including this year the Peter O’Sullevan House here in Newmarket. The picture of it is below and can be purchased by mail or telephone order from: Red Dot, 63 Rosendale Road, London, SE21 8DY. Telephone – 020 8333 1411 or personally from: The Osborne Studio Gallery, 2 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8JU.



It really is cold this morning

Thursday, 22 November 2018

"You may not know where you’re going, but so long as you spread your wings the winds will carry you."

C. JoyBell C.

Pageant Master

It’s been the coldest night of the year so far and although we have cloud cover it has got progressively colder as the light has come up. There is very little wind at present though which is one good thing. I have been keeping the horses close to home this morning on Hamilton Hill and all has gone well. We will be having a couple of runners tomorrow and hopefully jump runners in the near future, it just depends on ground conditions.

True Calling

... and walking back 

Politics is one thing I am sure drives everybody barmy at present, what with all the Brexit negotiations and we in racing are in just as much turmoil. I see the new Levy replacement was being discussed yesterday in the Lords and there seems to be a lot of problems coming to the surface. I don’t think it helps that we have a new minister for sport after Tracey Crouch resigned. As usual there is so much more going on behind the scenes that no normal person ever hears about or is consulted on and just has to wait until the fudge is announced. Let’s hope on both counts the politicians can get it right.

Altered Method

There is a good article from the Irish correspondent in the Racing Post today, but it is what I have been saying for as long as I can remember. He is on about the American way of getting trainers started and putting forward the idea that it can happen on the Curragh. It has always been my idea to have an all-weather track here at Newmarket and for the Jockey Club to build starter yards for young trainers, as it is just so expensive to get going on their own nowadays. In America where they train on the track you can start training with one horse and build from there so the overheads are so much cheaper. You then just need some hard work and luck to start making a name. If you haven’t got a fortune behind you it is just so very hard here and in Ireland. I would think eventually, maybe 20 or 30 years down the line, we will have this system in place along with more all-weather tracks and then racing will be slightly more boring away from the festival meetings. Another advantage of training on the tracks is that the costs are greatly reduced to the owner with very little travelling and racing expenses, which take a great chunk when prize money is so low.

The groundsmen having a meeting


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