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                     Four Fifty Three wins at                      Chelmsford


We are having a foal inspection

Monday, 18 June 2018

"At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss."

Paulo Coelho.

Isaac Murphy

It’s quite overcast as we write this but the forecast is for it to get very warm and stay like it all week which will be great for Royal Ascot and all the paying customers, but it certainly doesn’t suit my possible runners who would definitely like a drop of rain. The ground at Ascot, I am sure, will be on the fast side and it will be fascinating to see what advantage the draw will give certain horses. We have a good lot of staff in this morning and we have been cantering the full length of the Rubbing House polytrack. All has gone well so far.

Saint Anthony back in the yard

We are having a foal inspection this morning on the stud. We try and do this on a regular basis where David, Angie and I all have a good look at foals walking up and down on a hard surface. You can really see how they move and we are checking their conformation at this early stage. We always take notes and records and you can often illuminate certain faults at this stage. I know that David and Angie are very pleased with this year’s crop of foals and I am sure I will be when seeing them later on.

Foals look deep in conversation

I have always held golf and golfers up as a great example of sportsmanship and how to conduct yourself at the top level, so it was very disappointing when watching the U.S. Open to see one of the top golfers commit a deliberate stroke in a fit of pique when his ball was running off the green. The U.S. authorities are so weak that they didn’t disqualify him immediately, in fact not at all and it will be interesting to see what the repercussions are in the coming weeks. All sport must be played in the correct way, always play to win, but play within the rules and if you can’t be a good loser, then don’t play at all. There can only be one winner in every competition and the examples our top sportsmen set to the younger generation must be exemplary.


A warm forecast for the weekend

Friday, 15 June 2018

"Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad."


The Guv'nor, Tim and the Franklin's watching first lot

Astrobreeze and Velvet Vision on the Peat Moss

It’s a bright, warm morning with the forecast set to be like this for most of the weekend. We have a good complement of staff in once again and have been doing some fast work with horses on the Peat Moss gallop on Racecourse Side. The ground is just beginning to dry up and we do need a good downpour to freshen everything up. I was delighted with how the horses went and although we have had very little action so far this year, we will be certainly in the thick of it very soon.

(L-R) Saint Anthony, Garrison Law and Quanah

The Guv'nor walking alongside Garrison Law for feedback

I see the BHA chairman situation is still rumbling on with an ex-board member commenting on the recent disciplinary process. It makes interesting reading on page five of the Racing Post and there may be more to come from this situation.

Four Fifty Three and Ginger Lady at second lot

Melo Pearl and Astrosparkle

Everybody is gearing up for Royal Ascot next week and the town is beginning to see plenty of visitors who are combining a trip to see their horses, as well as a few days in London. There is the Goffs Sale which is held in a big London hotel on Monday with most of the horses available to purchase holding Royal Ascot entries. Most of these will be overpriced, but if you want to buy an instant runner for the most prestigious meeting of the year and you have just won the lottery, give me a ring. I will be very willing to help.

Phil on Friday

John Scott is generally reckoned to be the first of the really great trainers. As recounted last week he sent out the winners of 42 Classics between 1827 and 1863 and at one point nearly ten per cent of all horses in training in Britain were in John Scott’s yard.

A major factor in his astonishing success was that the best jockeys of the day clamoured to ride for him. Among them were Nat Flatman, whose headstone is prominent to this day in the churchyard of All Saints in Newmarket, and Frank Buckle who matched John Scott in being among the first of racing’s true greats.

Life was incredibly hard for jockeys, and everyone else for that matter, in those days, long before the motor car had even been thought of, let alone aircraft. Frank Buckle himself  lived at Peterborough and cantered into Newmarket every day to ride work before hacking back home. He would have covered more than 80 miles in the saddle before lunch, and you think commuting these days is a bind!

His career began in 1783, when he rode at 3st. 13lbs, and lasted until 1831. In his last few years as a jockey he was closely associated with Scott who employed an outspoken, blunt, Yorkshire-born blacksmith called Jacob. By this time Buckle had developed a reputation for riding what we now call a ‘waiting race’. He was the original ‘Head Waiter’.

In one witnessed conversation he was tackled by Jacob who disapproved of narrow victories and let Buckle know of his displeasure. “If I win by the length of my arm, Jacob, won’t that do?” said the great jockey. “Nay, lad,” responded Jacob. “Thy fine finishes shorten a man’s life.”

However fine the finishes might have been Buckle won the Derby five times, the St Leger twice and the Oaks no less than nine times.


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