Anybody could still win the tipping competition ...


It's the King George at the weekend

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

"By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower."

Rabindranath Tagore.

Walking onto the gallop before jumping off to canter

It started off a bright morning but there are a few clouds blowing up now, and I think we are expecting a bit of rain from the afternoon onwards. After yesterday’s busy morning we have had a normal cantering day and apart from one non-runner staff wise, everything has ticked over well. I just wish we could get some proper rain and we can get back onto the grass.

Two groups cantering on the Rubbing House poly

It’s the build up to the King George at the weekend,  but once again Ascot is competing with York, Newmarket, Newcastle, Salisbury and Lingfield, which is far too much racing for anybody to comprehend. The King George looks to be a marvellous race this year with a wide assortment of horses taking on this year’s Derby winner. This race should sort out the men from the boys and if Golden Horn is as good as the handicapper thinks he is he should win once again. However, Ascot is a course that you need a good draw and things to go right as it is a very short straight and any hold up can be dangerous. It will certainly be a race worth watching. I also see Ascot is changing their enclosure layout, which will limit the admission to the fourth floor. It is such a big grandstand that you can soon get lost and I personally never know how it all works.

The heathmen are always busy

I see horse racing in Spain has started once again, which can only be good for their industry. I think the argument was between the two main authorities over image rights. I don’t think much has changed, but it must be a big relief for everybody with horses in training there. They put up some good prize money at Saint Sabastian Racecourse and if anybody wants a break in August and September, it would be a good trip to undertake.


There is a real shortage of stable staff

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

"Make your optimism come true."


Comrade Bond and Blue Bounty

It’s a bright day with no wind, but the air is much cleaner without the mugginess, which is absolutely lovely. A few jockeys turned up this morning, which always helps, and we did some good work on the watered gallop without too much pressure being put on. All went well. Although we have had one or two staff leave us lately, for one reason or the other, the atmosphere in the yard is good with plenty of craic.

Sant'Elia and Band Of Thunder

Talking about stable staff, it is a headline on the front of the Racing Post in what they are calling a massive shortage in the industry country wide. I have been going on and on about this for as long as I can remember, and with the new immigration rules stopping the Indian and Pakistani lads coming over, it has got progressively worse. There doesn’t seem to be anybody who understands anything about recruitment and how it should be done. We have the world class British Racing School and the Northern College who do as good a job as they can, but they can’t turn out the perfect article all the time. I personally think that recruiting needs to step up and we need to sing the praises of what a good job it is for a young person. It is the best paid job working with horses, far more than for people who work with show jumpers, eventers etc. and a lot more fun, but we just don’t seem to get this across into the schools and places where young people are thinking of their careers. I suppose it is all down to money and how much it costs to get around the country and give talks to career officers, but it must be done, both here and into Europe. We don’t seem to attract the Europeans in any sort of numbers. A few Italians will find their way to the couple of Italian trainers in the town, but there are very few compared with the Asian lads who would have arrived. This situation is going to get worse not better, and we need to do something about it now, especially if the BHA expects to get another 1000 horses into training by 2020. I am also having a campaign on the accommodation, which is so expensive in Newmarket and is certainly an off putter for many staff. I would like the Jockey Club to build at least 100 one bedroom flats, which would be available to rent for the staff. This would go a long way to keeping them in situ. 

     05_Peeps__Smile     13_P_Time__Careless
               Peeps and Smile That Smile                           Prayer Time and Careless Rapture

There’s a great article in today’s Post by Colin Russell, who has always got a good angle on things. It is a must read for anybody who is at all interested in our industry and it just shows where the money goes. It is the racecourses with the power and his last paragraph where he comments on the formal tripartite agreement, which the BHA and the Horseman’s Group are trying to sign with the racecourses, spells it out perfectly and why the racecourses are dragging their feet about signing it. He says ‘it is like trying to get David Cameron to share government with Labour and the Scottish Nationalist, when he has no need to.’ He at least has a mandate he says, the racecourses and the RCA do not.


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