The turf season is just around the corner ...


The horses worked well on Saturday

Monday, 18 February 2019

"Springtime flowers bloom like colourful arrows piercing their way to the sun."

Terri Guillemets.

Velvet Vision and Garrel Glen working first lot on Saturday

... and Ness of Brodgar with Pageant Master

It’s an overcast day but the temperatures are holding up well. This is because of the jet stream which is pulling up warm air from Europe. In fact it is going to get much warmer during the week and forecast to be up to 18 degrees by Thursday. We could do with some rain as we have not had much at all this last six months and I suppose this weather at present could be the lull before the storm. We have a good lot of riders in this morning, as we also had at the weekend, including Sunday when we rode several out. Everything is getting on really well, the horses look pictures and are eating everything. I am as happy as I could be at this stage of the season.

First lot of workers walking back

Once again we have had a free for all fight on a racecourse. This time it all kicked off at Haydock where evidently a toddler was caught in the middle of it. It’s all to do with drink and drugs and not having enough proper supervision. I have told you before, police cost money and racecourses don’t like to spend much on security as it comes off their bottom line. Incidents like this will do our sport no end of harm if it is allowed to get out of control and we need to get a grip on it as soon as possible. If we are to encourage normal people to go racing and enjoy our sport they need to feel safe. Most other sports have twigged this and perpetrators are soon ejected. We need to stamp this problem out very quickly if it is not to do us any permanent harm.

Astrojewel and Roof Garden working second lot

I usually agree with a lot of what Lee Mottershead has to say in his Monday column and he is a top class writer, but I think he has got it slightly wrong when talking about the stable staff awards today. We have an enormous amount of good people in racing and it is a completely level playing field. The BHA chairman Nick Rust, Lee says, has actively tried to encourage nominations from as diverse a demographic as possible. He says it is a great shame if his effort has not been rewarded. But it is like anything, or any industry, political correctness should not stop the better ones rising to the top, which it doesn’t do in our sport. Everybody is treated equally and there is no favour in anyway.

Pulling up after cantering on Saturday


The horses are showing their well-being

Friday, 15 February 2019

"Life is an adventure in forgiveness."

Norman Cousins.

The sun is out and the horses are cantering well

Velvet Vision

It’s an identical morning to yesterday, although maybe a bit colder as we had a good frost as the light came up. Only one non-runner today and we have been getting on really well with the horses. They are absolutely mad fresh, bucking and jumping about, even when they are walking home which is a great sign of well-being. It must be the feeder!

Exercise over now back to the yard

I see the bookies are all set to trial the new £2 machines in their shops, which I am sure will be a great success for them. I don’t know how many people / punters they had who could put £100 in at a time, but not many I am sure. I would think the bookmakers would have taken plenty of advice and will have retrained their staff and that the number of shops that they thought would close would have been greatly exaggerated. I’m sure a few will go but that would be natural wastage as rent and business rates keep rising. It was gratifying to see from the horseracing industry point of view that the bookmakers certainly missed racing during this last week’s shutdown. It shows that the bookmakers need horseracing to get the punters in.

Nice and relaxed

A big report on the cost of the recent flu crisis has been estimated at over £15million. Most of this by the bookies but it was all completely needless. Although it got racing on the TV the general public now think that flu is a dangerous thing. It’s not, as everybody working at the coalface knows. It is something nobody wants but it happens at certain periods and you just have to get over it. This knee jerk reaction is hopefully the last we will hear of it.


The last piece on the stable staff investigation is in the Racing Post today and a stable staff convert to journalism has written a piece of her days in a trainer’s yard. It explains in a general way what happens during the day. I am not sure on the conclusions and we seem to have now got into this part-time culture, with people riding out and then doing a different job. It will all end in tears if this continues like it is. We need full time staff who do it because they love it, not doing it for an alternative reason. It is not an industry that can be taken lightly. The four main reasons that concluded this piece of why people work full time in the industry is frightening. The only one it should be is because they love horses and enjoy the camaraderie our sport can give them.


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