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The weather can't decide what to do

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"You start making progress in life when you realize you don’t always have to resume where you left off."

Robert Brault.

15_Walking
Walking on the Hamilton Hill

09_Clipping
In the clipping box

It’s a mixed morning. It is certainly a bit warmer and we have already had rain and sunshine before 9 o’clock. It was lashing it down when I got here at half past five, but it had stopped before the horses pulled out at first lot. Although the sky looks black at times, we have not had any more. As you know, we are having an easy week exercise wise after the flu jabs at the weekend, and we had a good long walk and trot, followed by a very steady canter and a quiet walk back home. That has been the exercise for the vast majority of the horses, and will continue to be so for the rest of the week. My theory is that if you don’t stress them, they should absorb the injections, rather than it manifest into an outbreak. That’s my theory anyway.

Everybody is in this morning, so the flag is flying high and despite the weather, there is lots of cheerful banter.

28_Hay
Taking the hay to the steamer

It is hard to justify what happened yesterday at Kempton where the prize money was very good, but only three turned up for the Novice Hurdle and two turned up for the Novice Chase, as well as only two for the Graduation Chase. Both these chases had great prize money but nobody wanted to run and take on top horses, finish close to them and get killed in the handicap. The whole sport, whether it be flat or jumping, is becoming so top heavy that if something is not done to it, and quickly, I don’t know what will happen.

The jump boys are the only ones who want to keep Kempton as a racecourse and there is only one meeting that ever makes any money there, which could easily be moved to Sandown or Newbury. The sooner the planning permission is given and we get an all-weather track here at Newmarket, plus upgrades to Sandown and other Jockey Club holdings jumping courses, the better.

03_Stud
On the stud

You can see what the BHA seems to concentrate on, and they always get it wrong, in that there is more publicity about a set of silks that look like a dartboard than anything else. The estimate for it was £5,000 and it made £8,500. The other two lots failed to make the estimate and in fact one was knocked down to £1,000, so all in all it was another waste of time, although a small amount found its way to Racing Welfare.

The thing the BHA should have been doing yesterday, and failed once again, is holding the racecourses to account. They constantly tell us miss-information about ground conditions and although we have a new supposedly high powered website, the updates and communications on it are very slow. Ayr racecourse was completely caught out with their big Western Ayr Gold Cup meeting, but they have only got a warning from the BHA, rather than a massive fine or withdrawal of fixtures. It costs owners and trainers a fortune to get up there, in flights, hotel bills, transport for horses etc., but they got no recompense whatsoever. I don’t know what the three groups, The Owners Association, our National Trainers Association and the Jockeys Association are doing in this instance, but they should be going absolutely flat out to gain compensation from the racecourse. If these courses continue to get away with it, fiascos such as this one will continue.

 

It's a quiet week for the horses

Monday, 13 November 2017

"Never ruin an apology with an excuse."

Kimberly Johnson.

Astrobreeze

Astrobreeze

astrofire

Astrofire

It’s a cold, bright morning with no rain forecast until at least the middle of the week. We are now starting to get into real winter weather and it will be a mixture of cold, wind and frost for the next few months. I gave the majority of the horses their flu vacs at the weekend, so the exercise for the next few days will be good healthy walking and trotting, without any pressure being put on them. The vets always say carry on straight after flu vacs, but there is a mandatory non-runner rule so why not give them an easy week. In my experience over the years the horses tend to get an infection if you stress them straight after their injections, so easy exercise until they tell you otherwise. 

brac

Bracken Brae

        walking_in        babies_walking_in

          Some of the older horses walking home and (left) the yearlings coming back

I don’t know what the directors theme is on ITV racing, but we are now being bombarded with jumping stories from every angle. There was a good card at Doncaster on Saturday and this used to be the conclusion of the flat turf season where the presentations were made for winning jockey, trainer and owner. This has all gone by the board now and nobody has any idea of when it starts and ends and who the champion jockey is. If you went and asked any of the general public in any high street today you would no doubt be told Frankie Dettori, and they may have heard of Sir Michael Stoute, both of which are way out. The mess they have made of these awards will continue as long as we have people in charge who have very little idea of racing and what the professionals think.

the_casa1

The Casamento colt is now being ridden

Angie is now beginning to sort out the horses at the stud, starting with the yearlings that will come into me within the next 10 days. They will then move the weanlings over from one part of the stud to another for the winter, pregnant mares will move closer to the foaling boxes and the barren and maiden mares will be put together on another area of the land. We are also being inundated with stallions, new and old, for next seasons covering and there will be plenty of thought going into that in the next few months. You have got to decide whether you are breeding to race, or breeding to sell. Most of our owners breed to race, with just a few of their colts going off to pay a few bills. Breeding to race is a very different thought process because you can go to relatively anything, but the boys who have to sell their foals and yearlings to survive, have got to have an astrologer’s mind as it will be at least two or three years before they get a return on their investment. They have to foresee what is going to be popular in the sales ring at that time. A great slice of luck is what they need, both with the stallions and their offspring. 

 
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