It's a pleasant day today ....


It's quite chilly in the shade

Monday, 14 April 2014

"Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something."


Whilst the horses go one way, the tractor goes the other!

Although it is a bright sunny morning, it’s quite cold in the shade and the wind certainly doesn’t help the temperature. The forecast for the week is quite similar, but I think getting colder for the Easter weekend. We have been doing two canters with everything this morning on Bury Side and it’s been pretty quiet, with not many of the big strings about. It may be that we just missed them, or they pulled out early enough, which some of the strings tend to do.

Prayer Time and Hold Firm

We have one runner today, our first runner on the turf this season. Topamichi runs at Pontefract in the 2.40, 1m handicap. A bad draw right on the outside, will mean we have to drop him in and ride him to get lucky. It’s just pot luck with the draws, sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t, but it does make a tremendous amount of difference as to how you ride the horses. Today is a perfect example of this. He seems in good form and looks very well. It will be a pointer as to how fit we have got the horses at this stage in the season.

Astrocat and Peeps

As I said on Friday, there was some good racing at the weekend, and a few races, especially at Newbury, were very informative. It looked a good Greenham on paper and the winner won very impressively. He has always been held in high regard and the Guineas will be the next step. I was delighted to see a Footstepsinthesand filly win the Fred Darling, as we have a nice foal by him at home, and our Galtres winner, Brushing, is in foal to him this year. The Scottish National turned out a good race, and both that and the Grand National were won by smaller trainers, which is always great to see. 

Nancy and Topaling

I see the Professional Jockeys Association is disappointed, like me, that the apprentice race has been scraped from British Champions Day. They talk about developing the day into a show piece of British racing, but this decision has done nothing but harm. The apprentices had a chance on this day to shine before a big audience and if we are not going to give them that, how are we going to encourage them? Another big mile handicap in its place, will only mean another chance for a big yard to win a handicap with a group horse. It meant so much to the boys and it was beginning to get well supported. We must give the young jockeys of the future, a chance to shine and improve. This was their highlight of the year, which has now gone.


A good weekend of racing ahead of us

Friday, 11 April 2014

"Painful though parting be, I bow to you as I see you off to distant clouds."

Emperor Saga.

Cantering on the Bury Side of town

It’s a slightly overcast morning but warm and I think the forecast is pretty similar for the weekend. We have had a good morning, cantering and doing some education work on the Bury Side of town and all has gone well. We had a few visitors in, watching their horses being put through their paces and I am sure they went away quite happy.

Astrovirtue leading My Guardian Angel and Swilken

It is a good weekend ahead for racing. There are the first classic trials at Newbury, with the Greenham and the Fred Darling Stakes. These races start to sort out the wheat from the chaff but there will be plenty of bubbles punctured as well. There is a bit of aggro at Newbury about the lack of stabling capacity. The track is going through a transition period with part of the estate being built upon for housing and I think with the stable block being moved, they have not had sufficient time to get it up to the full number. All this could have been avoided with a bit of early thinking, but hopefully, once the development is done, it will be a big improvement. I was disappointed to see though, that they are relying on music nights to bring the crowds and cash in. They state the crowd figures were down for the year, but for the Hennessey meeting, with their three days, it was 12% up. There was no music then, just good racing and it attracted people. Doesn’t that say it all? We are obsessed with attracting the young to go racing and think music is the answer. I think the above figures speak for themselves.

Blue Bounty leading Toptempo and Astrodiamond

We also have the Scottish National at Ayr, which will be a tremendous day out at the Scottish track. It’s one of their biggest days of the year, along with the Ayr Gold Cup. If the prize money is there, the horses will go. It is as simple as that and good horses attract crowds. It is certainly not rocket science running racecourses.


It is a sad day today, as it is Eric Campbell’s funeral in Newmarket. Eric was head lad at Ryan Jarvis’ when I was assistant trainer, and we got on like a house on fire. He was a brilliant horseman and feeder and had so many stories, you could listen to him all day long. He could ride anything and was the best breaker of yearlings I will ever know. I learnt plenty from Eric and will always be very grateful to have known him.


Page 4 of 19