The turf season is just around the corner ...


It's another beautiful bright day

Thursday, 14 February 2019

"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."

Bertrand Russell.

Newmarket is waking up

It’s another spring like day with just a bit of frost as the light came up and absolutely not a breath of wind. We have two non-runners this morning on the riding front, which is annoying, but we have got quite a few in and are getting some good cantering work into the horses. Every yard is under pressure staff wise and until the government can sort out a proper immigration and visa system, I am afraid it will continue like this. The majority of the British youth of today just don’t seem to have any ambition or even want to improve themselves.

Exercising this morning

It is interesting to see that Simon Crisford’s four horses, which had initially tested positive for flu, all returned negative tests yesterday. It just goes to show once again that testing is not the be all and end all. Trainers know their horses better than the vets and certainly better than the BHA who have absolutely no idea what happens in trainers' yards. It is no good being a scientist or a book man, you have got to be on the coalface to understand how it all works. The new insistence on flu jabs being done within a certain time is all well and good but when you give a horse a flu jab it definitely requires a week of being very quiet, if not two. It gives them a mild dose and it can set some back more than others. Most of the jump trainers will give the annual flu jabs at the end of their season, exactly like the flat trainers do in December time. It is common sense. There has never been an argument about the annual flu jabs but this new addition is causing a few of the jump boys some problems. I see the journalists are split about who was right and who was wrong but I agree with Richard Forristal who suggests that the two Australians in charge at the BHA have treated it like they are still down under rather than in the UK.

Bob soaking up the early morning sun

It’s the fourth instalment of the stable staff issue today and this is all about the Northern Racing College and their chief executive. The Northern Racing College is very different to the British Racing School here in Newmarket, although they both have the same objectives and that is to turn out stable staff who can ride and want to be in the industry. The Northern Racing College is not quite as smart or so called up market as the one here, but it turns out some great staff and certainly should be helped as much as possible with funding. Their chief executive has all the right attributes, very similar to Rory McDonald who used to run the British Racing School here in town - ex-army, smart, on time and strict but with a sense of humour and an understanding of today’s young population. It would be interesting to know the retention numbers in the industry of people who have been through the Northern Racing College and the one here. I would suspect the ones from the north would be better. Both these establishments should be encouraged as much as they can and given the right funding. This is one of the most important aspects of the industry as you will all know from reading my blog for so many years.


A beautiful spring morning

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

"What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth."

Jewish Proverb.

Second lot cantering

It’s a bright, quite warm day and very spring like with no wind once again. I don’t know how long it will last though as we are still way behind on rainfall and sooner or later it has to catch up. We started off alright with riders this morning, but one had to go home after first lot and we are also one short in the yard, both due to illness. Those that are in are doing a sterling job. It happens every day in every stable. I am sure it happens in every business and is the plague of any manager / trainer’s life. The horses are in tremendous form and I am so pleased with their wellbeing and how they look. In fact, I would go so far as to say we are ahead of schedule for the time of year.

Walking back home

After six days racing is now back on, albeit under completely brand new rules thought up over night by the BHA and their so called veterinary advisors. The small fields testify to that and there is only one place to point the finger at and that is the BHA and their veterinary panel. Julian Muscatt’s very good piece in the Racing Post today says it all. We have had a couple of stables test positive for equine flu, but so have Ireland. We have had a shutdown, they have just used common sense and kept going. We are paying our executives huge salaries and expenses to live in London, far away from the coalface. Do I have to say anymore? At long last common sense has prevailed. Apart from this new lot of rules, which will not do any good whatsoever but just causes much more paperwork and time wasting, we can now all get back on the track.

Moonlight Graham

The third instalment of five on stable staff is in the Racing Post today with trainers from both England and Ireland having a say. The facts are though the wages are fine, the career enhancement is fine, if the work ethic is there, but it’s the amount of racing which is not. If there were less racing the pressure would be off everybody as it is that which causes most of the problems. Also, in my opinion, housing is another thing we ought to take a look at. Good accommodation, whether it is affordable houses or affordable rents, would be a big incentive. The powers that be have brought this staff crises on themselves by the expansion of the fixture list and prize money being so low. There is no encouragement for new owners to come into the game at present. Whatever spin people put on it.


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