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Thursday, 21 August 2014

"Life is more fun if you play games."

Roald Dahl.

24_Adiamond
Astrodiamond (Reece)

It’s another bright and breezy morning but very much on the fresh side. It is a delight to be out on the heath. There was plenty of banter about with the occasional work watchers after yesterday’s article in the paper. I think it has all been a mountain out of a molehill. It seems one word out of place, was mistaken by the Racing Post journalist who has made an article out of nothing. It will now be tomorrow’s chip paper. The horses have done two canters on Warren Hill and all has gone smoothly this morning. We have got plenty of good staff now, with another couple due to join us this week and I am delighted with how things are progressing.

32_Awolf
Astrowolf (Ali)

We saw a top class racehorse yesterday in Australia, who cantered away from a very high class field and what an addition to Coolmore stud he will be. All the talk afterwards was that his best trip was 1m to 1m 2f, and its looks as if that is the direction he will be going in. Won't it be great to see him take on Kingman on Champions day. It would certainly give that day the profile it so wants.

42_C_Bond_leading
Comrade Bond leading the way

All the weanlings so far have settled down well and it won’t be long before group two is started. The first group have taken to playing about with each other and there are one or two bumps and bruises, all from playful kicks and bites. They are just like school children playing in the playground. It always amazes me that one minute they are babies, then they are school children and then they are racehorses. It comes round quicker every year.

 

A very happy birthday to Wendy Marriott

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

"May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live."
Irish Blessing.

40_B_Bounty__C_PEarl
Blue Bounty (Jessica) and Crystal Pearl (Emelie)

It’s a bright morning with plenty of sunshine and just the occasional big cloud. It looks like it is going to be a nice day today and with the breeze, will be drying up the ground. We have been out cantering on the Town Sand and Bury Hills and the Limekilns grass canter, which was in perfect condition. Everything has moved well and I am very pleased so far.

43_Smile_Lexi__B_Brae
Smile That Smile (Sophie), Lexi Grady Alice (Abbie) and Bracken Brae (Reece)

The horse we withdrew yesterday had a high blood count, and a course of antibiotics has been issued by the vet. It is very frustrating, because how they pick these things up is anybody’s guess, but these things happen and it is a good job we picked this up before putting him under any more stress. A few days easy will see him back into light work. We will be having a few runners towards the end of the week, with a new two-year-old declared for Newmarket on Friday.

25_The_string
Walking in the sunshine

It is the big Juddmonte International today at York, with the Derby winner taking on the Eclipse winner and the Hardwicke winner, plus the Dante and French Derby winner, along with the very nice horse of Peter Chapple-Hyam. It could be a great race to watch. The ground has started to dry up at York, which might mean a few withdrawals over the next couple of days.

27_Limekilns_canter
The entrance to the Limekilns canter

An interesting piece caught my eye today in the Racing Post, in that the Jockey Club is going to stop the 400 year old tradition of work watching on the heath. I think it is just a money making idea, with so many trips now organised to come and see the great spectacle Newmarket trainers give to the public everyday. If you read the old books about work watchers and know the history, it is a fascinating story. There were so many watchers in those days, they used to hide behind bushes and trees and ask the lads in the pubs at night what the horse was with a white star and two white feet. They would start finding out what horses were called from very early on in their yearling careers, and would be relaying all this information back to gamblers and anybody who would pay them for their knowledge. The reason the second bank was built on racecourse side, was to stop the work watchers seeing the end of gallops. Would that happen nowadays? I don’t think so. In this age of racing for change and openness in everything, whether it is open days, websites etc, it is amazing to me that this has occurred and we are hiding behind insurance claims. It has not got any busier on the heath for the last 30 years, occasionally a racing club with a horse has had a bus load or two, Highclere and Elite spring to mind, but they are paying for the horse in training and are fully entitled to see their horse use the heath. It would be interesting to find out what the real reason behind this is.

31_Heathman
A heath man moving the discs

I don’t usually mentions birthdays, although I did about my racing hero, Peter Easterby, but today I am going to make an exception as it is a very special lady’s birthday. Wendy Marriott has a special birthday today and I hope she has a fantastic time, as she thoroughly deserves it. Everybody at Exeter Ride and Dullingham Park wishes her a very happy day.

 
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