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A warm week is forecast

Monday, 21 May 2018

"My socks may not match but my feet are always warm."

Maureen McCullough.

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Garrison Law leaving the yard and cantering

It’s a dry, sunny morning and apart from the odd shower, it is going to stay like it all week. The horses look great in the sunshine and we are just having a normal Monday morning exercise. A good canter followed by a long walk home. All the staff that are in are working really well. It doesn’t look like I will have many runners this week but we will suddenly be having a burst soon.

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Melo Pearl

There are big articles today in the Racing Post at the start of horse welfare week. The sport is having a real push to let the public know how well they look after their own horses after they have finished racing and there is so much charitable work that goes on to find these horses a good home. You will know from our own website on our ‘Where are they now’ section that so many of our old horses have found good homes for life. There is still a lot of work to be done though and this week should put this section of our industry in the headlines.

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Saint Anthony having a pick of grass after a washdown

I see that Ffos Las has been bought by Arc. They have been running it for a few years now but have purchased it off the owner. Fixtures were the main reason given for the sale in that the original owners were finding it hard to expand the fixture list. It is a long way to Ffos Las and I would think it would be more used a as festival place in the future. It is one of those places that you would never go to if you didn’t have to. It is in the middle of nowhere and would be ideal for what the racecourses want to do, fill them full of music fans who want to drink and camp all day. Good luck to them I say.

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The Franklins with Garrison Law and Melo Pearl and plenty of polos

 

Thank you Tim

Friday, 18 May 2018

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were big things."

Robert Brault.

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Setting off

It’s a bright, dry morning once again. All the staff are in and everything is ticking over smoothly. Tim has been doing an unbelievable good job whilst I have been off ill. I have been trying to come in every morning for a while and hopefully will soon be back in the swing of it. I must just thank everybody once again for their good wishes. I am still not 100% but we should get to the bottom of it soon.

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Tim watching two-year-old fillies warm up, led by Farne Odyssey

The fallout from the FOBTs decision continues apace with the bookmaker’s obviously crying wolf, but they have had a long time to get their act together and have not done so. They have changed from being a shop that was part of the community, to being a shop that just couldn’t fail to make money as the machines are programmed not to lose. It is about time that bookmaker’s got back to being bookmakers, get more involved in the racing and greyhound industry, have their own opinion, own a few more horses and be prepared to take a bet. Times change and everybody must move with it, but you are either a bookmaker or an arcade. There is a big difference.

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Cantering on Hamilton Hill

As usual the York Dante meeting has been very popular with the public, trainers and jockeys. A few bubbles will have been burst and one or two reputations enhanced. It is the Yorkshire Cup today, which is always a Melbourne Cup pointer, along with the Ebor in August, but to me the best race on the card today is the first race, the Listed two-year-old fillies’ race which should throw up some Ascot horses. There doesn’t seem to have been any trouble, or at least we haven’t heard of any at York, and there wasn’t any at Chester. Maybe it is that the Northern racegoers are more dedicated to the sport than the Ascot and Goodwood ones. I shouldn’t be saying this really as there will now be an enormous punch up there today.

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Walking back after exercise


Phil On Friday

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With the cricket season in full swing we’re again having to get used to those over-simplified nicknames. Just add a Y to a cricketer’s real name and in many cases you’ve got it – Straussy, Rooty, Cooky, Broady and so on. I feel for Bess of Somerset and more especially for Bell of Warwickshire. Raine of Leicestershire might be appropriate in most English summers.

‘Whispering Death’ was Michael Holding’s more meaningful label and of course there are hundreds of other examples, including Ricky Ponting’s ‘Punter’ which says a lot about the former Aussie captain.

Racing has more than its fair share of nicknames. The Guvnor himself was known as ‘Terror Tompkins’ in his fast bowling days for the Newmarket Trainers Cricket XI. It was coined by the late Julian Wilson, himself known as ‘Whizz’.

Among the most famous racing nicknames are, or have been, ‘The Choir Boy’ for Walter Swinburn, ‘The Long Fellow’ Lester Piggott, ‘The Head Waiter’ Harry Wragg -  well known for driving his mounts into the action very late and usually getting up on the line - ‘The Kid’ Steve Cauthen, ‘The Duke’ David Nicholson, and many, many more.  ‘Boots’ Madden was a top Irish jockey; his first son is known as ‘Slippers’ and his youngest ‘Socks’. What next?

Not so well known perhaps are ‘Hellfire Jack’ Trigg who rode 843 winners, another jockey ’Slinky’ Webb who was obsessed with his elegant feet and footwear, Miriam McTague who lost 84 pounds to get down to seven stone for her first ride in public and was thereafter known as ‘Mini’, and top Chinese jockey Marshall who had extraordinarily large ears which, it was said, he made good use of to signal to paddock watchers whether his mount was ‘off’.  He was known as ‘Peanut’, possibly a comment on his head size which made his ears look so disproportionate.

On a family note, my grandfather was always known as ‘The Old Gent’, and my unfortunate Uncle Arthur was ‘Pizzey’, based quite innocently on his compulsion to buy so-called inside information from racecourse tipster Mark Pizzey.

As for me it was ‘Birse’. That originated when I was in the third form at school. Father and I decided one evening that a horse called Birso Boy was a good thing at Haydock next day and I was rash enough to tip it widely. Plenty of kids went hungry as a result – all their dinner money was on Birso Boy! It won at 5-1 and I was Birse ever after. I’m rather proud of that.

 
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