"It is important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle."
Prayer Time (Veronika)
The temperature is rising fast this morning and the forecasters tell us it will be the warmest day of the year so far. There is a slight breeze out on the heath and the horses have worn sheets for the first two lots, but I am sure by it will be very hot. Most of the horses have been out and cantered on Hamilton Hill and although we had a loose one, it was quickly caught and there was no harm done. Using different canters is like going on holiday, it does everybody good and it will be interesting to see what happens when we have a few runners from Frankland Lodge.
It’s the Craven meeting at Newmarket today, with the European Free Handicap and the Nell Gwyn, plus the Feilden stakes and some informative maidens. You can very easily get disappointed at this time of year as you can have high hopes for your horse, only for them to be dashed when they get beaten. You should not take it to heart though as usually everybody is running their best horses and the form will work out. When you look back later in the year, to finish third or fourth to a Classic or Group winner is not too bad. I commented yesterday on the TBA’s thinking on staying horses and how to keep them in this country. I re-read it yesterday and was amazed to see it said the flat season starts in two days time, ie, the Craven meeting. Are they using the same PR people that Great British racing use. I am very disappointed that there has not been a bigger outcry against this mad idea about the jockey and owners championship but I suppose we are all now very cynical about how we are run and that nothing much can be done by complaining. In a few years time it will all be forgotten. The people who have suggested it will have moved on to even higher salaries and other jobs and the racing world will just continue as it is, but maybe we will have some more lunatics in the asylum.
Excelebration ex Lady Bellatrix foal Makfi ex Seasonal Blossom foal
It is the breeze-up sales today and tomorrow. The sales start in the evening after racing and they were breezing the horses in front of the racecourse yesterday. I went up to see a few yesterday afternoon and came away with the impression that they weren’t a great bunch. I think the strength of the yearling sales last year was such that the breeze-up boys were taking away the lesser examples of what could be bought. It will be very interesting to see how the sales go. I suspect a lot won’t get sold. There is always one or two that do well and the art of sales is to pick those at the right price.
The move is progressing well
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
"The spiritual path is not strewn with roses."
Cantering up Hamilton Hill
It’s a bright morning but cool in the breeze. We have been moving horses across town first thing and it has started to get full at Frankland Lodge. We will be completing the move by the end of the week and then I can start to develop the Exeter Ride yard without any problems. Most of the horses have cantered on the Mactrac or Hamilton Hill. The heath chief executive has opened the Limekilns this morning, which I think is much too early as although the grass has started to grow, there will be no depth to it yet. He is always under a lot of pressure to open these gallops, but they have been historically galloping ground for the summer months, June, July and August and if he uses it up too soon, there will be no grass left.
The entrance from the heath to Frankland Lodge
I see the BHA has initiated a review of the National Hunt season with 20 people on the committee. It is chaired by the ex supreme of Cheltenham, Edward Gillespie and will be looking into all aspects of the National Hunt season. There has been plenty of discussion about small field sizes and not enough races in the north for the better horses. Owners have been thin on the ground and although the two recent festivals, Cheltenham and Liverpool, have been huge successes, it doesn’t take a mind reader to know something needs to be done. The last time a review was done there were several new suggestions, which didn’t stand the test of time. To my mind there is only one section that needs sorting out and that is prize money. If the prize money is increased, owners will be encouraged to buy new horses or keep them in training longer. It will be interesting to see what the conclusions are and they are going to take a year to do it.
The yard is filling up
Another thing that came to light yesterday was from the TBA who is alarmed at the lack of opportunity for staying horses on the flat. With the reduction in status of the Queen’s Vase, Group 3 down to listed level, we are losing more opportunities. We do not want to go down the route that Australia has taken, with the sprinters and quicker horses taking the majority of the prize money. The Australians have been buying our staying horses in great numbers and you can’t blame the owners for taking the inflated prices being offered. We need a proper programme for the staying section of our business and the TBA are right to bring it to everybody’s notice.