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The Breeders' Cup will soon be upon us

Thursday, 23 October 2014

"I complain that the years fly past, but then I look in a mirror and see that very few

of them actually got past."

Robert Brault.

27_Legal_Art
Legal Art (Reece)

It’s still cold this morning and I think that is the last of the mild weather and we are really into the winter months now. We had a normal cantering morning with the older horses on Bury Side and there was a surprising amount of people about. With the sales having been on everywhere, everybody has been very busy and I think it was a day when they were all catching up with the horses. Our two-year-olds continue to improve and although they are still in the indoor ride, all the temperatures have settled and we will be resuming cantering, albeit very gently, next week. There are several of them that will be finished for the season but a few will be having some runs on the all-weather, which can only do them good, especially for the experience.

34_Awolf
Astrowolf

The build up is starting once again for the Breeders’ Cup, which is next weekend, with two days of racing at Santa Anita. It is a glorious track in California, with a great back drop and well worth a visit if you get the chance. There looks to be plenty of European involvement, with quite a few hopeful connections. It is a long way to travel the horses, especially when it’s on the west coast of America, and it greatly depends on how the horses take the travelling, how they acclimatise and how they take to the track and surfaces. There is no incentive given to anybody to go there, which I have mentioned before, and although they look after you, it is only the good prize money which lures the horsemen to go. With the Australian carnival getting into swing as well, if you have got the money and the horses, you can have a fantastic time travelling the world. But it takes the right horse, with the right temperament to be competitive in these international races. If you have got one there is plenty of fun to be had.

36_Bob
Bob, sitting on the hay bales

There’s a very interesting article today by Steve Dennis in the Racing Post, about the fixture list and how he sees it evolve in the next few years. It looks like the all-weather tracks will be increasing if we don’t keep a close eye on it, which will make our sport more akin to greyhound racing. I have always maintained, and you will have read it many times on this site, that we must be very diligent not to let the tracks go this way and lose our great heritage and the whole history of the sport here in England. I know a few tracks like Ascot, York and Newmarket will survive perfectly well, but there are 20 or so others which will be under pressure. They make up the character of the sport in this country, which is what people come here to race for. You can go round and round on an artificial surface anywhere in the world, but those tracks are soulless apart from the odd day, and we don’t want to go down that route here in England.

 

Two winners in two days

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

"In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend."

Solon.

sunrise
The sunrise over Newmarket this morning

It is much colder this morning with the temperature taking a big drop. I will be searching for my warmer winter clothing for tomorrow. I love wearing my over trousers in the winter and they will be the first thing on from now on. We have been using the grass on Long Hill this morning. The two-year-olds continue their recovery in the indoor ride and I am beginning to up their work. If progress carrys on we will be cantering next week.

09_SantElia
Sant'Elia (Yaz)

We had another good day yesterday, with Topaling making it two out of two for the mare in consecutive days when she got up to win at Lingfield under a fine ride from Tim Clark, who was having his first ride for us. I was delighted for owner Mike Bowring, who has been one of our staunchest supporters right from the start of my career and this family have been very good to us. Crystal Pearl ran a very sound race and would have been quite a bit closer if not being boxed in at the crucial stage. I think her time is near and John and Bridget will understand this coded message when I say their idea worked. But it’s a long story. Astrodiamond looks like she wants a lot further and we will be re-assessing her options. It is great to have these homebred winners and Dullingham Park is really starting to produce them now. I must thank all the mare owners for their involvement. I would also wish to thank everybody for their messages and texts, which are very much appreciated.

05_B_Brae
Bracken Brae (Jessica)

We had a very sad day earlier in the week when we put down our matriarch mare, Tiempo. She had been Angie’s father’s last horse in training and it was through the filly that I met Angie. She was 28 though, and in horse terms she was well over 100, which is a great age. She had had a marvellous life, especially this last summer when it was warm and she was very happy out with her friends. She has left a great legacy in her offspring. Her daughter, Tenpence, continues to produce winners for us.

06_Flowers
The winter flower displays

The BHA has come up with the solution on how they are going to shake up the small field problem, but there is nothing new or innovative in their ideas. In fact it is pretty poor and their idea of cancelling races if they don’t fill will cause plenty of problems. It is ok doing this when all the horses are trained on the track and you can just cancel one and fill another straight away, as they do in America or like greyhound racing, but when you have a widespread industry like ours, with the travel costs to take into consideration, plus you must have planned to run certain horses in certain races, to be just told that the race has gone, will be very disappointing. In my opinion there has been very little thought go into this problem, if there is a problem at all. If you don’t want races, just don’t put them on. I would have thought cancelling 100-150 fixtures would have sorted the small field problem out, especially the dross in the lower echelons that nobody wants to bet on and have very little interest in watching.

 
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