An exciting Arc in store ...


Two top class horses retire to stud

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

" Pretty is the queen that rules our land, o'er
hard-working peasants known by Substance."
Carrie Latet.

The sun breaking through at first lot this morning 

It’s a very similar morning to yesterday with no wind once again and no rain, although there is a good dew. We took the first lot of horses across town and worked on the ‘between the banks’ gallops. It is a peat moss strip between Boadicea Bank and the one built to stop the town seeing the end of the gallops. It was fantastic ground and Jimmy Quinn was singing its praises and asking why people don’t use it. My reply was that most of the new trainers don’t know where it is, as all they know is polytrack. It is a great shame but good for us. Second lot did three canters, culminating in a canter on the Limekilns grass canter, which although was alright, was nothing like as good a surface as the peat moss between the banks.

Bracken Brae (Abbie) and Smile That Smile (Jimmy Quinn)

I read that Kingman has been retired and will be joining the roster at Juddmonte Farms. He will retire to Banstead Manor Stud here in Cheveley, which makes the line up of stallions one of the best in the country, along with Frankel, Dansili, Oasis Dream, Champs Elysees etc. What a breeding system Khalid Abdullah has evolved. I know money is no object, but he has still done it in a quiet and very professional way. Also Toronado has retired to stand at the National Stud here in Newmarket. This is another very kind act by the Qatari sheikhs, as the National Stud has lacked investment and new stallions in the last few years, and needs to be supported and get lucky with a top class horse. I am sure there will be plenty more horses retired to stud in the next few months.

Astrodiamond (Joe Akehurst) and Toptempo (Yazmine)

I am not too sure about the new award for the world’s best rider, announced in the Racing Post today. It is all based on where the jockeys finish in the 100 highest rated races in the world. It looks to me like another idea by the marketing men to try and promote racing. Now I am not decrying any effort to promote our sport, but we seem to keep coming up with ideas and they soon fizzle out very quickly like a firework . The name Lester Piggot springs to mind when thinking of top jockeys and he didn’t need any promoting. He was just the best and everybody knew it and flocked to see him and back the horses he rode. Win, lose or draw, they never got upset. We have got to move on and promote the ones of today. A more organised jockey’s championship, with a top sponsor and publicity every day in the paper would help, as well as one for apprentices, both on the flat and over jumps. It is not rocket science and they can surely find a sponsor who would love to do it.


Get well soon Carol

Monday, 22 September 2014

"For every person who atones, a hundred others find regret sufficient."

Robert Brault.

Walking through the woods

It’s a dry, still morning, with a very pleasant temperature, so perfect for everybody. We have been out cantering on Bury Side and all has gone well and everybody is in good humour. The forecast looks to be pretty set fair all week, with very little rain and most of the courses are still on the good to firm side. I have declared a couple for Redcar on Wednesday but it is in the hope that they do get a bit of rain overnight on Tuesday.

Swilken (Ali) and Humphry Repton (Farhan)

The big talking point over the weekend was the pictures that the Daily Mirror had put on their front page, of Wigmore Hall being put down after breaking his leg very badly at Doncaster. Two things spring to mind for me and after reading everybody’s opinion in the Racing Post on Sunday and listening to Channel 4, we are all in agreement that the vet acted very quickly in the interest of the horse and that our welfare is the best in any animal world. I have  two points I wish to make. One, why didn’t Doncaster have screens that go completely round the horse? which I would have thought was pure commonsense and should be a rule. I know time is of the essence in these cases, but why didn’t they have enough screens to do this? And two, it is beyond my comprehension why the vet had to shoot the horse with a gun, when nowadays, and it has happened to me on several occasions, with broken legs as well, when an injection is given. This, to the general public or anybody that has to do with animals, is not as upsetting as the way it was done. The BHA should look into these points, which I am sure they will do, but it is another avoidable incident which should never have hit the headlines.


There was a great piece in Richard Hughes’ column in the Racing Post, about the length of grass at Yarmouth and how he was delighted to see it. Well, how long have I been going on about this and how good the grounds men are at Yarmouth? It didn’t matter to Richard Hughes, the bumps and ridges, he just loved the length of grass and ground, so why they are digging it up is a mystery and it might never get back to what it is now. But returning to the length of grass, clerk of the courses seem to be obsessed with having tracks like a bowling green, which doesn’t do anybody, either the course, horse or the professionals any good at all. Will they now listen to Richard Hughes and let grass grow long? I doubt it, as most of them don’t know what they are doing and don’t seem to care. The course at Ayr at the weekend had an unbelievable draw bias on it, with the high numbers holding sway by a big margin. How well and how unlucky those horses were to be drawn low that did manage to run with some credit. The clerks have got to take some notice, and some responsibility for the problem. It must be a level playing field, especially on a straight course, as  it’s so expensive for the horses and connections to get there.

Even the horses smile for the camera

Carol, our housekeeper and great friend for many years, has just had an operation. Everybody sends her their very best wishes for a quick and speedy recovery. She has been with us for years and is part of the family. She is one of those very dependable and kind people, that is always in the background and does so much unseen work, which helps the smooth running of the business. We thank her for all that and hope she is up and recovering in the very near future.


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