Racecourses need to keep the ground updated ....

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The racecourses need to stop watering

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

"Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven."

Tryon Edwards.

(L-R) Indian Red, Dixon and Gee Sixty Six

The temperature has held up well this morning, it was 18 degrees at 5.30. We have not had a drop of rain though and let’s hope they are right with their forecast that it will pour tomorrow as the grass gallops and our paddocks at home are desperate for a soaking. We have been on The Watered Gallop today with some older horses and a couple of two-year-olds, and all went well. The ground was perfectly safe, although it is very early for The Watered Gallop to be open. I just hope we can get some rain and the other gallops with be useable and give the watered one time to recover as it has already had a good hammering at a very funny time of year.

(L-R) Lost The Moon and Astrostorm

I see Windsor was abandoned once again last night after a few races, and ironically it was the same day last year it was abandoned for the very same reason - the jockeys were frightened of slipping on the bend. This is a clear cut case of unnecessary watering. They had watered, had a bit of rain and it got over slippery. This never used to happen years ago and it is just crackers that people water all the time. It ruins the tracks, it makes the jockeys soft, frustrates all the professionals, especially owners and trainers, and the paying public, who I doubt got anything back for only seeing half a meeting. What with the bad publicity about the poor prize money on offer at Windsor and now this, it certainly won’t be doing them much good. It would make a good housing estate though. It is right next to the river and you could build very expensive houses, with plenty of mooring spaces for the boats. Just a thought.

(L-R) Four Fifty Three and Budgie

I see the BHA is ringing in the changes with some of their personnel. A couple of their executives are leaving their jobs but are not being replaced. It looks like their responsibilities will be taken over by people already in place, which will certainly save money. The two in question have not been there very long and I am not really sure what they did, so it is maybe for the best. A move out of London to Newmarket, or somewhere similar, would be a big jump in the right direction. It would save a lot of money too, plus you might get people who know something about horses, rather than just be box tickers.

Whoever decided to put our racing on ITV4 wants to be looking in the mirror at themselves this morning as the figures are way done for Chester and the weekend racing. A repeat of a film and the 6th round of the Rugby League Cup pulled in nearly twice as many viewers, which, when you think about it, is quite worrying. There is something that is not right and whether they can sort it out or not, is a matter for debate.


It's a week full of showers

Monday, 15 May 2017

"You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind."



It’s a little bit cooler this morning but I put that down to the good breeze we have got blowing across the heath. A few showers of rain have also hit us, but nothing substantial. it is forecast to be showery all week, but only small amounts. It is only Wednesday when it looks like we will get some steady rain fall. We have been using the eight furlongs of the Rubbing House polytrack canter as our main exercise of the morning, and although we have had one non-runner, we have got on very well and the horses are all moving and looking great. We will only be having a few runners this week as the ground is very much on the firm side, so it will be Wednesday and Thursday before we will be out on the track.

Astroshodow having a leap and buck

The Classic trials continue this week with the York Dante meeting, which is one of the best meetings of the year. After this week, the Derby and Oaks picture will become much clearer. The papers love to go over the top on certain horses and gambles, as it encourages people to jump on the bandwagon and fill the bookmaker’s coffers with plenty of horses and bets that will never win, even if they started now. York is a very fair track, but the ground will be on the firm side unless they get any rain and will stay that way as their new drainage system works very well. In fact there are several courses that have changed their going by ground work, Haydock, Ascot and York spring quickly to mind. 

The ducks and their babies on the pond at the stud

There are two articles in the Racing Post today which need commenting on. We all agree that the horses who retire from racing need finding good homes, and the vast majority of professionals try and do this. You only have to look at the ‘where are they now’ part of our website to see what our retried horses go on to do. There are always a very small minority who slip through the net and it is very hard to keep a check on those few. I think this has arisen from somebody finding horses in France that were in a bad state, but the person involved had already been banned from keeping horses in another country. It is a bit like allowing people to come in to Britain with a criminal record from another country, and we have seen plenty of examples of that lately. Our BHA does a great job in supporting the retraining of racehorses and we should be held up as an example worldwide as to what can be done.

The other smaller article is on the non-runner rule. This always comes into play around the Chester May meeting, as the draw is one of the big talking points of the week. This rule was brought in when everybody agreed to have 48 hours declarations, and it is a rule that must be kept. If they want to repeal the law, change it back to 24 hour decs. It is as simple as that. You just can’t have it both ways. As for the jockeys, they shouldn’t moan as they are paid a proportion of their fee if the horse is withdrawn after a certain time. There may be a few trainers that abuse the system, but these can be dealt with easily with a bit of initiative from the powers that be, and I agree that they should be.


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