Clearance runs at Lingfield followed by Velvet Vision at Newcastle ....

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A cold morning with a hard frost

Monday, 12 February 2018

"Faith is not without worry or care, but faith is fear that has said a prayer."


Walking to the start of the canter

It’s a very cold morning with a good hard frost. Thank goodness there is no wind though or it would be cutting you in half out on the heath. The forecast is for a couple of days of cold weather and then getting slightly warmer towards the end of the week. All the riders who should be in are in this morning, but we are still down on the yard staff and illness has been the main cause of this. Two good canters on the polytrack have been the exercise of the morning and all has gone well so far. It looks like we will be having a few runners right the way through the week.

On Hamilton Hill

I was delighted with both the fillies that ran at Chelmsford on Friday. Astrojewel wants quite a bit further but travelled well for a long way and didn’t finish far behind the principals. True Calling ran green in the early part of the race, as I expected she would, and then stayed on well to finish third. A very encouraging debut and both fillies have taken the race well and we can now look forward to the future.

Indian Red

I thought it was April 1st again this morning with the headlines on the front of the Post. I know I have been calling for a radical rethink on how our industry is run, but it certainly is not the team event which is being bandied about. The Shergar Cup wouldn’t be anything if it wasn’t for the enormous amount of free tickets given away and the bands on afterwards. In fact the prize money has gone down for the Shergar Cup year on year. This new concept is purely for the super-rich once again and does absolutely nothing for the industry, especially the middle to bottom tier who would have no say in it whatsoever. This is the second ridiculous idea after town centre racecourses. Why can’t these people come up with a sensible idea, one that benefits everybody not just a few?


We have two runners today at Chelmsford

Friday, 09 February 2018

"When the soil disappears, the soul disappears."

Terri Guillemets.

Passing strings

It’s a very wet start to the day with bands of heavy rain sweeping across at frequent intervals. This is all after a wet and windy night as well. It is surprising mild, but forecast to get much colder over the weekend, so all in all a very miserable morning. Everybody is in rider wise, but still a couple of non-runners in the mucking out department, plus a couple of late arrivers. What a morning and we have a lorry load of hay arriving which will please everybody no end!

Topapinion warming up

And cantering 

Our runner yesterday didn’t sparkle although she travelled well for a long way and looked as if she was going to get thick into the action. The words ‘down tools’ spring to mind and I think eight flights of hurdles will be her next objective.

We have two runners today both in the same race at Chelmsford, the novice stakes at 1.30. Astrojewel has her third run and although she has not troubled the judge yet, she will be handicapped after this run. This very good looking filly will surely be alright in time. True Calling makes her debut today. She is half-sister to several winners who all needed a bit further. She is by a July Cup winner so hopefully it has put a bit of speed on the mare. She will benefit enormously for this outing. We have no runners over the weekend.

Pageant Master

On Hamilton Hill

There was an article yesterday on the media rights and how it will affect trainers and staff if the minimum on the machines was reduced to £2. All the trainers understand that if prize money is affected and goes down again, it will hit their businesses hard, but as I stated in the article, if we are relying on the machines to keep the industry afloat, we have got the wrong model. I think the whole industry needs a shake up and modernising. The way people bet, the way they want entertaining, the way they access everything nowadays has completely changed and we need somebody with vision and determination, plus power, to sort the whole mess out. It is not completely broken as the Festivals are the best in the world. It is just the other ‘everyday’ which has got completely out of control.

Rum Ration

I didn’t watch Channel 4’s My Millionaire Migrant Boss the other night, but racehorse owner Marwan Koukash was the man giving the chance to four unemployed people for a two week placement in his businesses. He has obviously made it from nothing and the conclusion was there is no substitute for hard work. Thank goodness there is someone with common sense.


The mystery of our food hamper at Christmas has been resolved and thank you Derek and Rosie. It looked a fantastic hamper, but Angie wouldn’t let me eat any of it, even though I tried. Derek and Rosie are great friends of ours who have a farm and stud, plus racing yard in Somerset. They stand both Franklins Garden and Babodana who are both very well worth supporting if you have any mares in that vicinity. Two top class horses, they were both 100% genuine and sound and their offspring are now starting to show ability.

Nathaniel ex Diverting foal up and walking about

Phil on Friday is temporarily out of service this week as Phil has had to have his hip operated on which has kept him off the keyboard. We wish him a speedy recovery.


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