9th December 2016
Plus 12 and dry when driving in
Racing weekends at Cheltenham mean owners who go racing often call in to see their horses if passing. Always good to see them
Nikki Heath and Les Garside-Beattie called in second lot to see their horse Billy Elliott while Rolf Johnson called in for a first visit to Thorndale. All three stayed for breakfast.
Third lot lot Mark and Melinda Laws called in to see their horses Battle Dust and Ben Arthur and then saw their KBRP horse Knockanrwawley. Peter Woodhall also called in to see his two KBRP horses Chateau Robin and Knockanrawley.
Kathy and Phil Moorby called in to see Phil's horse Patsys Castle.. PC runs at Cheltenham.
We have four runners today at two meetings. Un Ace and Patsys Castle run at Cheltenham while Desaray and Aliandy run at Doncaster. For my thoughts on their chances please click here.
Yes I know I am a bit late on this one.. We have a new Owner of the month. Bill Foylan..
Agent Murphy and I will be trying to buy..Thinking of Aiden.. he has had a busy week at the Goffs sales in Ireland buying foals..
Yes its been a long week for him...
Murphy arrived home late from the pub, well oiled and ready for trouble.
"Is that you Murphy?" called his wife.
"Bejaysis! It damned well better be!"
8th December 2016
Plus 12 and dry when driving in.
It was dry at Hexham and blowing a gale. 30 to 40mph winds all afternoon.. not a good day for hats. Sadly our hats never came off to celebrate a winner as Champagne To Go finished 3rd and The Drinkymeister pulled up. Luckily Hexham’s season has now closed until April. Stunning racecourse with fabulous views.
Our last two days of driving have been better than expected, both yesterday and the day to Uttoxeter were hassle free and easy. We seemed to miss the traffic and it helped being in John Perriss’s new RR. Even David Bass was impressed with the back seat.
Talking David Bass.. he was in this morning as we jumped many. A video can be seen here.
First lot we jumped Abbrevaite, Aliandy, Aunty Ann, Ascotdeux Nellerie, Desaray, Glenforde, Laval Noir, Monkhouse, Nicely Indeed, Rocky's Treasure and Shaluna over hurdles and Boy In A Bentley, Un Ace , Grand March and Coco Des Champ over fences. It was very dark and photos were not good..
Second lot we jumped. Mr Brinkley, Queer Times and Chateau Robin over hurdles and Sainte Ladylime, Texas Forever, Gallery Exhibition and Red Spinner over fences.
We have no runners today although Warwick has a cracking card.
There was a huge turn out for Sarah Stafford's memorial servce yesterday. Sarah was hugely popular but tragically died far too young.
Great to wake up to hear Blowers commentating on the Cricket from India for the first time this winter.
''Firstly I would like to say thank you for all he kind and positive feedback, I'm glad people are finding this interesting.
There was a comment on the fact that my diet doesn't seem very healthy...this is probably true, but I try my best.
The hours don't allow for thee set meals a day and the fact that we have been so busy recently means I am usually eating on the go.
All racecourses are flexible and I can usually get something hot to take away for the journey home.
It is important for anyone in a physically demanding job to keep the energy levels up so sometimes it becomes about quantity not quality.. Having said that I make a special effort to make my snacks healthy. I snack on high protein flapjacks, dried fruit and nuts when I am driving rather than chocolate and crisps which I think helps.
Although that went out of the window at Hexham as I cannot choose between the canteen's homemade cakes!!
Hexham is a lovely homely track, canteen like a tea room and stable yard a bit like a farmyard!
It does though have very good high pressure hoses and spacious to walk off area (unlike Huntingdon). There is even a patch of grass to give the horses a snack before they start their long journey home.
No runners today, a chance to catch up with all the tack cleaning and prepare for a busy weekend...''
Thanks Leigh. I would like to add that the owners and trainers were offered a cup of home made soup but if you wanted anything else, well you were taking a risk..
This probably sums up my mood this morning..
A little five year old girl was usually driven to school in the mornings by her Grandad, but one day he was ill so her Granny took her instead.
That night the little girl told her parents that the drive to school with Granny was very different. What made it different? Asked her parents.
Well, she replied, Granny and I didn’t see a single tosser, blind bastard, foreign prick or wanker on the whole journey!
7th December 2016
Plus 10 and dry when driving in.
It was certainly foggy yesterday and although racing went ahead at Uttoxeter we did not see much of it.. a good day for non triers!!
All of our runners ran well.. Milan Express finished 4th and My Cousin Rachel 6th in the mares novice hurdle. Dueling Banjos was predictably second in his three runner novice chase but a clear round was good news, and finally Milord ran a blinder and again second…
No jockeys in this morning although Peter Kerr was here and videoed some of the horses working which can be seen here.
Third lot Michael Worcester was here to see his two horses Shaluna and Coco Des Champ work away.
Darren Smith and Mick McLaren were here for a first visit.. Hope they enjoyed..
John Perriss, David Bass and I left early for Hexham..We have two runners there today. Champagne To Go and The Drinkymeister. For my thoughts on their chances please click here.
There will be a huge turn out later for Sarah Stafford's Memorial service in St Michael and All Angels, Guiting Power at 2pm.
Uttoxeter yesterday, no winners but a couple of seconds and another best turned out. That makes 43 awards since the beginning of the season.
These best turned out prizes are a good incentive for the staff who want to turn their horses out well.
All the team put extra effort in to win the prize and the owners appreciate their effort.
I know it doesn't make much difference to the performance of the horse but I think it's important that the owners think their horses look smart and well.
I find Uttoxeter is good for youngsters as the stable yard is far enough away from the racecourse that it is quiet, but not too far that you can saddle in the stables.. it is not too much of a rush.
The food in the stable staff canteen is second to none!!
The range and quality is up to pub food standard. A special "Uttoxeter" burger, (burger, bacon, cheese onion rings and BBQ sauce) fish and chips, (proper size!) or sometimes a special of spicy chicken burger or pork loin. You don't find that anywhere else!
Off to Hexham today, a 5:30 start...
Thinking school runs.. Archie has broken his collarbone in France..off games for the Christmas holidays...Poor Archie...poor Mummy and yes poor Daddy too.
6th December 2016
Plus 4 and thick fog when driving in. An old fashioned pea souper.
That was a pain Ludlow being off yesterday. Hardly surprising as it was not great here.
We did wait until late yesterday morning to jump a few.
Tom Bellamy was in this morning.
We worked Minella Warrior and Blazon while Knockanrawley and Happy Topper continued working together this morning.
We are trying to get the last pair to The Welsh Grand National but we need rain and a racecourse gallop to jet propel them to the next stage. Rain forecasted this weekend and summer like temperatures of plus 15..
Graham Potts our vet was in this morning and this weeks movers and shakers in the weekly BHA handicap charts are..Aliandy up 2 to 115, Pulling Power down 1 to 114, Champagne To Go enters at 110 and Thumb Stone Blues enters at 125 while poor little The Last Samuri goes up 2 to 161..
We have four runners in three races at Uttoxeter this afternoon. Racing goes ahead after an early morning inspection..Now we just hope the fog lifts.. Anyway for my thoughts on their chances please click here..
Voting for Politicians.
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. ~John Quinton~
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.~Oscar Ameringer~
I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952~
A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.~ Tex Guinan~
I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.~Charles de Gaulle~
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city,it might be better to change the locks.~Doug Larson~
There ought to be one day -- just one -- when there is open season on Congressmen.~Will Rogers~
If you want a real friend that you can trust in Washington, get a dog-.Harry Truman -
We are receiving great reviews for ''Leigh's blog''.. No Ludlow yesterday but Leigh will be back tomorrow with her ''views from the stable yard''.. Uttoxeter today..report tomorrow.
Happy birthday to Paul Vogt..
5th December 2016
Minus 2 and dry when driving in.
The Last Samuri and Charbel did the yard and their owners proud on Saturday.
The Last Samuri jumped those Grand National fences like no other. He never touched a fence or even made a semblance of a mistake. Not many horses jump those fences better than ordinary chase fences, but I do believe TLS does.
Brian Hughes gave him a lovely ride or was it visa versa.. Brian felt that crossing the Melling Road he would win but the heavy burden of 11.12 was what stopped him in the end. Weight will stop a train?
We were immensely proud of our little hero and now he will have probably one run before the Grand National in April.. Back to Doncaster for the Grimthorpe Cup.
Charbel took on the best horse in training and just for a moment we thought.. But then Altior sailed past us. It was though a fantastic run and again we were hugely proud of our horse. There will other days for him and easier races but Charbel shows he is some very special horse…The rest in the race were nowhere.
Jimmy The Jetplane struggled off his weight and in a race when he faced more than 5 horses for the first time over fences.. A drop in grade and he will be winning again.
Sunblazer's race was run at a dawdle and turned in to a 2 furlong sprint. He finished down the field beaten 7 lenghts.
Yesterday at Huntingdon. Trojan Star ran well but was outpaced and finished 3rd
Champion Chase, Fifty Bob and Cascaye all finished down the field.. there will be better days for all three.
David Bass was in this morning..
Today is the annual Horsewriters Awards Lunch in London..Always a long one. Most trainers head there.
We have 3 runners at Ludlow today and for my thoughts on their chances please click here. Racing at Ludlow is OFF. Frozen off..
Here is my travelling head girl Leigh Pollard's weekend blog..
I enjoy going to Aintree. It has an atmosphere you don't find in many places. The stable yard is nice with big roomy stables and lots of space for the horses to be walked off.
There is a large canteen with homemade food. A chunk of lasagne and chips for less than £4. Can't go wrong.
On to Wolverhampton for evening racing, I didn't eat but I had a cup of tea and homemade cake. I don't mind Wolverhampton, everything is really close and easy.
Yesterday..A busy day at Huntingdon so didn't make it into the canteen, But the McDonald's on the way home was great!!
Huntingdon desperately need to improve the stable yard, the low stables and small saddling boxes are not ideal for young horses that are likely to play up, and then the tiny wash down boxes are a joke.
The wash down stalls are ridiculously small and when more than one horse is in it, the water pressure is non existent.
Yesterday there were 16 runners in the novice hurdle, of which we had 2. People were still washing their horses off as they were going out for the next race and I ended up washing ours with a bucket and sponge.
I believe and hope the wheels are in motion to improve the stable yard but it needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Ludlow today, looking forward to a hot pork roll!!
Voting for Politicians....
If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates . ~Jay Leno~
The problem with political jokes is they get elected.~Henry Cate, VI
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop~
If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven. ~Will Rogers~
Politicians are the same all over.They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.~Nikita Khrushchev~
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow~
Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.~Author unknown~
3rd December 2016
Plus 3 and dry when driving in.
I am not sure who was more relieved that Thumb Stone Blues won at Sedgefield yesterday; David Bass or the trainer?
It was two weeks ago that David Bass had his face trod on after a fall at the first at Ascot and during that period he has gone from looking hideous to nearly normal.. well?
It was two weeks ago that the trainer had his last winner (Trojan Star) and since then we have been mugged on the line and have had other seconds.. never a place to be.. In fact I was wondering what was going wrong..
I did say to David 'now that you are back they will all start to win and then they will say it was that fact that you are back in the saddle''…. I don't mind if that is correct.
David’s first winner back yesterday was ride three since he fall.. Important ones today to add. Today is one big day and if we were to have a winner we would be thrilled.
Paul Rooney was on hand to see his horse win yesterday at Sedgefield and my pupil assistant Jack Jones( no relation to either the singer or trade union leader) was there to do the interview and the saddling.
Thumb Stone Blues who had decent form in Ireland won well and looks a promising horse. David’s only remark after was the ground was tacky and would probably not suit Royal Supremo.. he was right.
RS struggled when left on his own and finished a tired horse. There will be other days for him.
Both horses are fine this morning.
No jockeys in this morning and todays CD Tours team were Kenneth Browne and Gary Yafai , Jill and Richard Phizacklea, Linda and her husband Barter.
Martyn and Sandra Steer Fowler called in second lot to see their horses Pulling Power and her sister by Midnight Legend.. they had an early breakfast.. carrots.. the horses.
We have four runners today. The Last Samuri at Aintree, Sunblazer at Wolverhampton and Charbel and Jimmy The Jetplane at Sandown.
Tomorrow we run four at Huntingdon. Champion Chase, Fifty Bob, Trojan Star and Cascaye. For my thoughts on all our weekend runners please click here.
Here are my travelling head girl Leigh Pollard's comments on how Sedgefield look after stable staff....
''A long way to go up to Sedgefield, but worth it for a winner!
Also worth it for the warm canteen and home cooked food. Sofas with the racing on the television; not every racecourse has the racing on in the canteen.... Worcester does NOT..
Sedgefield offered a good choice of hot food. It is slightly more expensive than some other courses but it is worth it for the quality.
The stable yard is nice too, spacious and close to the course, with large warm water wash down boxes. Again it should be standard but not all places have this.
On to Aintree, one of my favourites!
But then it is onto Huntingdon on Sunday.. Not one of my favourites''
Buying a Christmas tree over the weekend.. Ed Cookson is your man.. on the right is his flyer and his mobile number is 07909517108... dont ring too early...His facebook page..
My thought of the weekend..
Its not my fault I have a double chin. When God was giving out chins I thought he said Gin, so I said... I will have a double…
Have you have a great weekend.. I hope we do too!!
2nd December 2016
Plus 3 and dry when driving in.
Staying in Lincoln we were up early yesterday morning. A healthy breakfast before leaving to Leicester Racecourse.. we were not expecting to be eating there…Judging by past visits.
Before we left Clare and I visited Lincoln Cathedral.. Quite stunning.
After watching Braw Angus finish down the field and Ben Arthur finish 5th . BA’s owners Mark and Melinda Laws and Martyn and Sandra Steer Fowler abd Tim and Anita Dymond, who own Pulling Power, decided to try out this new lunch offer..
Clare and I joined in and to all our surprise we had a good chicken lunch and served with a smile.
Melinda was 'difficult' and asked for something different due to an allergy and to all our amazement a fish course was produced out of the blue and also with a smile..
Blood hell Leicester what a transformation, it even made up for Pulling Power being brought down or rather jockey knocked off at the last when in with a place chance bearable. (all yesterdays runners are fine this morning)
After so many years of groaning at the thought of having to go racing at Leicester, and with owners asking me not to run horses there because of the way their were treated, the penny has finally dropped.. look after your owners and they will be happy and return.. Yesterday was a first and we were delighted, as were other trainers and owners.. we will return… please keep it up..
While on the subject
Leigh Pollard, who is my travelling Head Girl, is going to be adding a few comments on my blog about how racecourses look after staff when it comes to a days racing.
Here is a run down of Leigh's general thoughts.
''It must be hard for Racecourses to cater for so many and you get the impression that most places are doing the best they can with what they have.
Raceourses like Uttoxeter and Ludlow excel themselves with the facilities they have and both provide large filling meals that are reasonably priced. I actually look forward to going to these Racecourses because of the food.
Obviously those Racecourses that provide free food for the stable staff should be applauded and set the standard for other courses. Racecourses like Ascot and Cheltenham are good and the accomodation at Ascot is top class too; but it is nice to go to courses like Bangor, Chepstow and Market Rasen and be fed for free.
Newbury give you a £2 voucher which is a nice start, but for a racecourse like that you would think they would be able to provide free meals, especially considering the money they have spent on the refurb; a £2 vouchure does not buy you much either?
At the other end of the scale there are places that you make sure you eat on the way to!!
Huntingdon is not great, just microwave meals that are not worth the £5 they charge. Frankly Huntingdon is the worst place for stable staff and horses. The yard and facilities are all poor so it makes sense that the food would be too!!
Towcester is very disappointing now; since they added the greyhound track it seems that horse racing and stable staff are an afterthought. They cook everything at 10 in the morning and it sits in trays under lights all day. The staff are not great either, mostly kids brought in for the day that have no idea what they are doing.
For example the last time I was there I had not had time to eat so I went after our last runner to get takeaway. The staff could not find or be bothered to fetch a container to put the chips in, so I had to settle for a sausage bap; the sausages were dry from being under the heat lamps all day. Not ideal when I was starving after a busy day.
Stable Staff don't need gourmet food, just quick hot filling food at a cheap price. We don't have time to wait for ages and we just want somewhere comfortable to sit.
At some places we are spoilt...all the Scottish Racecourses go out of their way to look after you if you are staying over.
We have a hard and a busy job which we love, but we just need it to be made as easy as possible and appreciated by racecourses.''
Wincanton was abandonned yesterday so no comments on what they would have produced.. Sedgefield today.. read Leigh's thoughts tomorrow..
Tom Bellamy was in for a couple of lots.. We jumped Sainte Ladylime, Dueling Banjos and Texas Forever over fences.
Douglas and Sylvia Wilkes called in to see their KBRP horses Silver Kayf and Ascotdeux Nellerie.. I forgot so they only saw Nellie out!
We have 3 runners today. 2 at Sedgefield and one at Exeter. For my thoughts please click here.
''‘I don't need a personal trainer so much as I need someone to follow me around and slap unhealthy foods out of my hand.’
1st December 2016
Plus 4 in Lincoln when waking.
Queer Times ran OK yesterday to finish mid div at Ffos Las.. Lovely sunny afternoon there and Queer Times, who is huge, was going as fast at the start as he was at the finish..when over fences and when he has had more experience he should be wining races.
A late night celebrating Bud Booth's retirement .. A sad day as he will be sorely missed as Chairman of Market Rasen.. Luckily Tommy Cooper, who takes over from Bud will maintain a steady ship.
Racing was well represented and was the BHA and Jockey Club.. Speeches from Michael Henriques and me.. Oh no!
There were dancing girls, bands, singers and singing waiters to entertain those who came to pay homage to the great man.. It was a fun night.. Bud and fun go well together.. A life to be lived?
David Bass was in again this morning in the hope of jumping a few. We did jump Pulling Power, The Last Samuri, Charbel, Vital Evidence and Royal Supremo yesterday afternoon.
We now only have 3 runners today at Leicester with Wincanton being abandoned. For my thoughts on their chances please click here.
Murphy dropped dead the moment he arrived home from a holiday in the tropics.
He was laid out in the coffin for friends and neighbours to pay their last respects.
"He's got a great tan," Mrs Doolan from next door mused. "The holiday did him the world of good."
"And he looks so calm and serene," said Mrs McGuiness.
"That's because he died in his sleep." explained Mrs Murphy, "and he doesn't know he's dead yet, but when he wakes up, the shock's going to kill him!"
Leigh Pollard my traveling head girl from tomorrow will be giving me her thoughts on how racecourses look after racing staff.. A month of.. woes ..I hope not.. Leighs blog starts tomorrow..
30th November 2016
Minus 8 and dry when driving in.
This was the coldest start to any morning for the last 2 years.
Late inspections due to frost but racing took place yesterday at Southwell and Lingfield. Both all-weather courses, but both racing on grass.
Southwell was a disaster as Mr Brinkley dragged his hind legs on the first all weather hurdle and that hurt.. he was never going after.
At Lingfield Champagne To Go would have won in another 5 yards. But that does not help. It was not the greatest race and we felt she would win but she didn’t. Second again. At least after her last two efforts there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Tom Scudamore was annoyed he did not win.. Both horses seem ok this morning although Mr B is very stiff behind.
With the temperatures that cold first thing we shifted the lots around. I don't like working horses when it is well below 0 degress, and any chance of jumping a few went out of the window early. We did jump Queer Times, Fifty Bob and Royal Supremo during evening stables last night.
David Bass was in for three lots this morning..
Ffos Las today and yet again I am not going. There always seems to be a reason why I fail to attend FL.?!. Mat heads there to see and saddle Queer Times and for my thoughts please click here. Tom Bellamy rides.
I am heading north to Market Rasen not to a race meeting but to attend their Chairman Bud Booth's retirement dinner. Clare and I have to be in Lincoln by 6 this evening so Ffos Las and Lincoln really don't match time wise.
Sam Twiston Davies returns from injury to the racecourse today at Ffos Las.. the land of his fathers fathers.. while David Bass is back race riding tomorrow at Wincanton (probably) or Leicester.
David heads to Sandown at the weekend to ride Charbel and Jimmy The Jetplane. Brian Hughes has been booked to ride The Last Samuri at Aintree.
Yes a big weekend for both horses..they spend most of their day together out in the field. Both horses in fine form and we are much looking forward to their different challenges.
John Cootes follows up yesterdays thoughts with
A therapist has a theory that couples who make love once a day are the happiest.
So he tests it at a seminar by asking those assembled,
“How many people here make love once a day?''
Half the people raise their hands, each of them grinning widely.
“Once a week?”
A third of the audience members raise their hands, their grins a bit less vibrant.
“Once a month?” A few hands tepidly go up.
Then he asks, “OK, how about once a year?”
One man in the back jumps up and down, jubilantly waving his hands.
The therapist is shocked—this disproves his theory.
“If you make love only once a year,” he asks, “why are you so happy?”
The man yells, “Today’s the day!”
To finish Happy Birthday to Mat Lambert the owner of Trojan Star and Cascaye.
29th November 2016
Minus 4 coming up the drive and then it dipped to minus 5 when arriving at my office.
Frost covers down.. where? Racing could struggle today if they have had the frost we have had.
David Bass was in to ride out this morning.
David who is currently working out a four day ban is able to start race riding again on Thursday. The doctors have passed him fit so once he has sat out his 4 day ban he will be back race riding..It will be good to see him back on the racecourse.
Graham Potts our vet was in as normal and this weeks movers and shakers in the weekly BHA handicap charts are...Ascotdeux Nellerie down 2 to 121, Battle Dust enters at 120, Grand March down 3 to 92, Monkhouse down 4 to 106, Texas Forever down 5 to 95, Red Spinner goes up 1 to 143 and Derrintogher Bliss goes up 2 to 127.
There is a big page in todays Racing Post about stable staff and the problems they have recruiting and keeping them in Ireland. We are no better off here this side of the water.
The shortage of stable staff is a big problem and although we are lucky that we have a great team here we have been looking for somebody to drive my second box to the races, when our first box is at another meeting.
This was a job that five years ago would have had loads of people applying, but now that has dried up. The hours and working weekends are the problem.
Anyway if you are looking to join our team as a second travelling person please get in touch.
Irish racing as a whole is in an interesting place.. It has become incredibly top heavy on the jumping side.
I am a huge fan of Gordon Elliott and what he has achieved is nothing short of a miracle. He started with nothing and has now run over 230 individual horses this season.
Compare that to England’s biggest trainer Dan Skelton who has run 133 individual horses.
Irish racing has about 4 big trainers which include Willie Mullins, Henry De Bromhead and Noel Meade and the rest are finding life hard.
On the owner front JP McManus has had the most runners followed by Gigginstown and without their patronage you as a trainer would be struggling.
We have two runners today. Mr Brinkley heads to Southwell while Champagne To Go heads to Lingfield. For my thoughts on their chances please click here.
Here are some common facts from John Cootes..
It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.
One human hair can support 3 kg.
The average man’s penis is three times the length of his thumb.
Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.
A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s.
There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
Women blink twice as often as men.
The average person’s skin weighs twice as much as the brain.
Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.
If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.
Women reading this will have finished by now.
Men are still busy checking their thumbs!
To finish.. Hapy birthday to Martin Fetherston-Godley. 60 today..