The sales are still in full swing ...


Work continues today

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." Elmer Davis.

MHT and Darren seem to be having far too much fun

It is dry, sunny and cool this morning once again but I am told it is the lull before the storm as winter is fast approaching, with plenty of rain and wind on the way. It usually happens for December sales. We have done two good canters, the second one sharper than the first this morning, with all the older horses on Warren Hill and then Side Hill. I will be schooling one or two this week with an aim to having runners over hurdles shortly, and it looks like we will be having a couple of runners on the all-weather on Friday.

Ben and Aslam waiting for the dumper to be emptied

We got plenty of work done yesterday in the indoor ride, with the Bobcat and dumper in constant use from around 11 0’clock until gone four. We are having a very similar day today and putting on at least six to nine inches of new material, which makes the track much lighter and fresh to ride on. All the lads worked fantastically well with three lads from the stud, Ryan, Aslam and Ben, helping Darren, Ali and Reece to spread it all about. We have got the same boys coming today and I can see it is going to cost me money at the pub this Christmas, but thanks for all the hard work lads.

Ryan working the Bobcat

The objection to the chase winner at the weekend continues. The horse won very easily but was not qualified and obviously will be disqualified. The main issue is who is responsible and what will happen afterwards. I would think the horse will lose the race and the prize money, the trainer will be fined, as it is his responsibility only and cannot rely on saying Weatherbys didn’t pick it up, and the poor horse will get handicapped on his phantom win rather than being called a non-runner. It is a no win situation all round, the only winners are the people who backed him. This sort of situation has happened before but is very rare. The conditions of all the races are there for everybody to see and read and it is the trainers’ responsibility that they get it right. I have had a couple of not qualified in the past after entry and these things do happen. The one thing I hope doesn’t happen is that conditions of races don’t get so bland there is no fun in trying to place horses. The more the conditions are wrong, the more fun it is trying to find the right race for the right horse. If the conditions were all the same it would be very boring and unfair to a lot of horses.


The indoor ride is getting a makeover

Monday, 10 November 2014

"Action is the last resource of those who know not how to dream."

Oscar Wilde.

Astrowolf (Reece) and Toptempo (Yaz)

It’s a bright morning with plenty of sunshine but the temperatures are still low. There is no wind though, which is always a good thing when you are out on the great expansions of the heath. We had a good long canter up Long Hill this morning with the older horses and the rest have just had a day around the school, but I will be starting to canter some tomorrow.

Walking home through the woods

The big news today is Godolphins’ new jockeys. James Doyle and William Buick have moved from their very good jobs to be equal partners in the Godolphin set up. It looks like they mean business this year, with a massive investment at the yearling sales and now this swoop for the jockeys. It all makes for exciting times ahead. This sport of ours is a great leveller and with this and the new Qatari interest, plus Coolmoore still being the number one outfit, it all makes for good watching.

The dumper ....

We are having a new surface put down in the indoor ride today, so I have hired a Bobcat and a dumper for the job. The boys from the stud are on their way and by 11 o’clock hopefully all systems will be go. I know I sing the praises of the indoor ride, but it is a great asset. There is plenty of air in it, it doesn’t get claustrophobic and the horses are very settled.

... and the Bobcat

We are starting to look at stallions for next season, but I can’t believe the prices that the stallion masters are asking for some of these unproven sires and ones that have just started to have produce on the track. Without people willing to invest in the breeding side of the game we have nothing, and if the small to medium sized breeder is put off by stallion fees, they will soon disappear. There is nothing better than seeing your offspring on the track, and if they are successful it is even better, but things do happen, as they do in training, and if the costs are so high, they will think of moving on. My plead to our leaders is this. One, get the prize money right on the training side, which will keep more owners in the business, and two, keep stallion fees at a sensible price so that people have a chance of getting a return on their offspring. Without owners in both disciplines we have nothing. They must be encouraged.


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