We will always get whip bans ...
          Topamichi wins at Windsor


The heavens have opened

Monday, 13 October 2014

"All was silent as before —
All silent save the dripping rain."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Sophie drying off Comrade Bond after exercise

It started raining last evening and has continued constantly ever since. It is still thundering down as we write this at 9.45. Everything that can go out has been out and had a canter this morning, which means only the older horses that don’t have a temperature. All the two-year-olds have got a bacterial infection with very high blood counts. To say this is frustrating is an understatement as they were just coming right, the ground was beginning to go in our favour and then they pick up this infection. The vet says it must have come from the races and we will just have to treat them with antibiotics and be very gentle with them. Any older horse we aim to run will be blood tested the night before and we will not take a chance on anything if it looks like trouble. You could jump off the cliff sometimes in this game.

Even the horses are wearing their waterproofs

It was good racing at the weekend with a great finish to the Cesarewitch and good to see Tom Queally get on board a big winner again. For some unknown reason he seems to have gone out of favour since Frankel and it just shows the ups and downs of horseracing once again.

The other thing to come out of the weekend is that Treve is to be kept in training to try and win a third Arc. Let’s hope she can do it as she is a fantastic filly and has been brilliantly trained.

Steve pumping out the flooded yard

The Champion’s weekend is nearly upon us but has been decimated by horses retiring. The ground will play a major factor in the results as it is sure to be soft at both Newmarket and Ascot. There wants to be a lot of soul searching into this date, as they were very lucky having Frankel the first year, but to my mind this sort of things is always going to happen every year as it is much too late on in the season. Our champion flat meeting really is Ascot and the whole week attracts the best horses worldwide. We have thrown a lot of money at Ascot and if they are not careful it will be for nothing. The Irish got in with their weekend in September, which would have been a much better date for us if they wanted to promote this sort of event. It will be interesting to see the repercussions although the racing will still be of a good standard, just without some of the major 2014 players.

Richard Marriott's winning trophy

I must congratulate Richard Marriott on his bid to be the leading novice entrant at the local shows in his area. He has really taken it seriously and his most recent attempt produced 15 wins from 20 classes entered. A great effort. 


Tomorrow has a good day of racing

Friday, 10 October 2014

"Even when life isn’t good on the outside, you have an option to make it good from

 the inside out."

Terri Guillemets.

Cantering up Long Hill grass

It’s a bright, cool morning once again with the forecast for intermittent showers, but not long steady rain. I think this is the forecast for the weekend as well. It is autumn temperatures though and I think that is it for the summer. We have been cantering on the grass on Long Hill this morning, which has had very little use and is in perfect condition. I often say that Newmarket horses have no idea how to go on very soft ground as they never canter on it at home. If we have heavy rain, usually the grass is shut and the horses don’t get any practice of moving on soft ground. It never used to happen, but the introduction of the all-weather tracks has completely changed the way trainers use the gallops

Toptempo (Sophie)

Unfortunately we will now not have a runner tomorrow as the horse we hoped to run had a slight temperature last night.

Lexi didn’t run too badly last night and once getting the idea, stayed on well. She is very capable of winning a minor race on the all-weather this winter, especially over a bit further. Her mother stayed really well.

Bracken Brae (Jimmy Quinn) and Sant'Elia (Ali)

It is the Cesarewitch meeting here at Newmarket tomorrow and there's also a good meeting at York. We won the Cesarewitch way back in 1987 with Private Audition, who won by 10 lengths or so at a big price. It is a race I have always liked and I have had a few runners since. I think Theola, who won the Cesarewitch trial before having a problem, would have gone very close a few years ago. It has become very hard nowadays to get into these very big handicaps, with the fields being reduced and the top weights usually being rated over 100. Surprisingly enough the draw has a big effect and you really want a middle to low number to be sure of a good run. Quick Jack looks like my idea of being favourite and must have a good chance. My other one against the field is Nearly Caught.

Blue Bounty (Reece)

I see the headlines in the Racing Post today reveal Arc’s broken commitments to racing. The racecourse group had promised to put another £1m into prize money, but it came up £800,000 short and it is typical of this group to do so. In a week where we have had the sales going completely barmy out of all normal comprehension, here we have a group trying to minimise their input. If we are to have a racing business, we need the grass roots and the middle tier to thrive and prize money is the only thing that keeps it going. If these racecourse groups don’t come up to the mark, they must be penalised by not being given any extra fixtures or allowed to expand. The groups and the private courses which try hard and put on the prize money should be rewarded and encouraged. All we seem to get from Arc is the closure of racecourses, the minimum they can put into prize money and there is no sign of any new initiatives that will help the sport. I hope this exposé will help concentrate their minds

Astrodiamond (Yaz) and Astrowolf (Jessica)

I see the starting rules for jump racing has been amended once again and it will be interesting to see if it works. It states everybody has been consulted and the jockey association’s chief executive says he is pleased the agreed changes have been approved. If it stops the spectacle of horses trotting around at the start in a tight circle, it will delight me, as I couldn’t stand that practice. It is not rocket science, starting a race, it just needs a strong starter, sensible jockeys and it should go off without a hitch. I will be watching to see what happens.


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