Don't forget the clocks go back this weekend ...


We are off to Windsor today

Monday, 20 October 2014

"Say you are well, or all is well with you,

And God shall hear your words and make them true."

Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Brushing, in foal to Footstepsinthesand

A bright blue sky and a mild temperature is what greeted us this morning, but I am sure it is the lull before the storm as the end of a hurricane is coming across the Atlantic and will hit us early tomorrow, or so the forecasters are telling us. We have had quite an easy day cantering on Bury Side with the older horses and some of the two-year-olds have started to have a short trot in the indoor ride.

Astromagick, in foal to Lawman

Toptempo blatantly failed  to act on the track at Catterick and ran no sort of race at all, which was very disappointing. She needs a much more galloping track but there have been very few opportunities for her in her handicap range at a suitable track, and there doesn’t look like being much more from now onwards. It is quite frustrating as there are plenty for the very low grade animals, but the mid range horses are the ones that suffer. It is purely because it is cheaper for the racecourses to run low grade races. They get paid the same media rights money whatever they run, so to their accountants it is a no brainer.

Lady Bellatrix, in foal to Excelebration

We have one runner today at Windsor, Topamichi, who runs in the 4.20. He was slightly disappointing last week when he failed to fire, and to my eyes he is in the same form as he was then. We will hope today is the day.

The fencing is coming on well

Despite the ground it was very good racing at Ascot and the people I spoke to who went thoroughly enjoyed it. There were some good finishes and some very good training performances, but two big points spring out to me. One, the draw makes such a big difference and you could see horses getting hampered, with the runners trying to come over to the stand side on the straight course in the earlier races. Then later on in the last when they had to split, it proved that the far side was much quicker. It all boils back to my opinion about watering tracks. When tracks are watered, like they are constantly now , and then it rains, you get very soft, mushy ground. If the tracks weren’t watered you would get a much more even surface across the board, but I am sure that nobody will take any notice and we will continue to get a draw bias everywhere. Two, the whip rule is blatantly not working and it is win at all costs in these big races when they are worth so much to all connections. Why we didn’t bring in ten hits and you’re out is beyond me, as it would have sorted out all this at a stroke. We will continue to get whip bans regardless of what they do until they start to disqualify the horse if the jockey goes over the official number. You can hear the uproar now. But it constantly happens in France, when a little bump takes place everybody knows their fate and the horse is relegated to a lower position. You would soon get used to it and without a doubt with a ten stroke rule if you broke it the horse losing the race would be the best and easiest solution.


It's the start of two days of good racing

Friday, 17 October 2014

"We should pray to the angels, for they are given to us as guardians."

St Ambrose.

It's just beginning to get light

It’s amazingly mild this morning. One or two of the horses have got two rugs on, keeping them warm in their boxes. It is better that way than being cold though, especially when they have had temperatures. I think the forecast is for it to stay dry today, with showers coming in again at the weekend. We have had a good general exercise with the older horses, cantering on the grass on Long Hill. 

Crystal Pearl (Ali)

Our runner yesterday, Comrade Bond, ran a belting race.  He was given a good ride by Robert Winston and it was only well inside the final furlong that the weight told. The second and third may have set it up for the winner but they were well clear of the pack. At least he seems to be free of the dreaded virus.

We have one runner this weekend, tomorrow at Catterick. Toptempo runs in the 1m 4f handicap at 3.40. She ran a nice race last time at Newmarket, is very lightly raced this year and I can definitely see her getting involved if handling this tight track. There are very few races suitable for her at the moment, hence the run here.

Astrodiamond (Yaz)

It’s the Future Champions Day today here at Newmarket. It will be intriguing to see how big the crowd is, but some very good horses are on show and there will be one or two pointers no doubt for next season. Saturdays Champions Day at Ascot has not quite got the star quality everybody hoped for, but it is great money to be won and good luck to the connections that are having a go for it. My nap of the day must be Cirrus des Aigles who will love the ground and is such a fantastic horse. We are taking him to our hearts just like the French, who absolutely love him. I am sure he will get a great reception tomorrow, win, lose or draw.

The two-year-olds out second lot

They open parts of the new Cheltenham today, which is still in the process of undergoing its redevelopment. It will be fascinating to see how it all fits into place as the building continues. There will be no Tony McCoy though as he is still sidelined after his bad fall the other day. The ground is good to soft, good in places which is amazing after all the rain. I always think jumping ground is different to flat ground, in that good to soft national hunt ground is like soft to heavy flat ground.

Ian, the new work rider!!

I see the debate on Champions Day is starting to get into full swing. There will be a lot of soul searching over the next few months to see if they dare break the pattern and move the whole meeting forward. It is a bit like closing the gate after the cows have got out. This was always going to happen and if they were going to break the mould with this great day, it should have been done at the beginning. Newmarket gave up the Champions Stakes and rearranged their fixtures to help this day. The ones in the know will tell you this is a long term project, but in my opinion it should be a short term project to get it sorted out. We need people who know what they are doing, not marketing gurus who have very little ideas of how our industry really works.


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