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The Programme Book problem

Monday, 08 December 2014

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

Marcel Proust.

17_Topaling
Topaling (Sophie)

It's a pretty cold morning but thank goodness there is no wind. We have been out cantering on Bury Side with all the horses that are going to run this winter, whether over hurdles or on the all-weather. Although saying that, it's unbelievable that the BHA have not produced the Programme Book so that we can all plan our campaigns for the horses. I think the first ten days of 2015 are published and although we know the racecourses there is no race programme or anything else. How you are expected to plan is anybody's guess, and from a trainer's point of view this inefficiencyand drives you barmy.


14_Star_Commander
Star Commander (Reece)

I see Channel 4 Racing are losing Clare Balding as their lead presenter apart from the days at Cheltenham and Royal Ascot. This will be a major loss and the people who chose to go with Channel 4 will have plenty more thinking to do when the contract comes up for renewel. There has not been an appearance of a good substitute since the shake up and it will be very interesting to see which direction this aspect of the industry goes.


02_Indoor_ride
Warming up in the indoor ride

Today Angie and I, along with some of our owners, are having a morning visiting stallions in the Newmarket area and I shall report back on my findings later in the week. We shall be looking at around twenty stallions all of different sizes, ability, distance and prices. It is always well worth each year making a trip round and checking out their well-being. There are plenty of new additions to the ranks this year and it will be a fascinating day.



 

I will reserve judgement

Friday, 05 December 2014

"The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials."

Confucius.

10_Morning_sky
The morning sky

It was a bright morning, once the sun came up and we are getting nearer the shortest day. It doesn’t really get light enough to canter until at least 7.30. I know I have said it before, but it amazes me how when we are going out to canter, strings are coming back in, having already done so. They can’t possibly see much when cantering and if you get a loose one, you will never find it. We have been cantering on Long and Bury Hills first two lots and all has gone well, apart from one filly that keeps being very stubborn going past The Severals. We will just have to persuade her that there are no dinosaurs lurking behind every tree.

09_C_Bond
Comrade Bond leaving the yard

From the headlines on the front of the Racing Post today it doesn’t look to me as if the bookmakers are going to the poor house any time soon, and the valuation put on Skybet goes to show that. Also Betfair announced record first half results and their share price soared. Even with the point of consumption tax and the ‘racing right’ hanging over them, it doesn’t seem to give anybody a worry. With Betfair there was a £200 million return to the share holders, I know that hasn’t all come from racing, but it just goes to show how much money these bookmakers actually make, unlike the majority of professionals who are supplying the products.

14_trotting_ring
Walking to exercise

When you read Bill Barbers piece today in the Racing Post it will once again make you think what influence any of our so-called leaders have on the industry. His piece is about the new BHA board and chief executive and to what actually their roles will be. I said I will give them a year to settle in before giving my opinion, but I can only see more of what we have been having for the last 10 years. The great saying of Toby Balding’s was that “we have got too many suits and not enough wellies” holds very true.

18_Amajor__Topaling
Astromajor (Heather) and Topaling (Sophie)

Every year I go to a Tattersalls liaison meeting at the end of the sales season and they discuss all matters which have happened during the year, from transport and veterinary, to the canteen, lighting and everything to do with the sales complex and what can be done to make it better. For years the transporters have wanted to have head collars left on the horses when they were sold, so that it would make it much easier to catch and load up. This is now a rule and all horses should be left with a head collar on. Needless to say we took a mare down yesterday with its own head collar and rug. It didn’t sell and we go to pick it up again this morning and what do I find? no head collar. Somebody has obviously nicked it overnight. So if anybody offers you a head collar for sale, tell them its mine and where to return it. I can’t wait for the next meeting.

 
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