27th May 2016
Plus 10 and dry when driving in.
That was a busy day at Tattersall’s Cheltenham sales. Aiden Murphy and I came home with 5 new horses
Prices were very strong and the top price was £200,000.00 for a winner point to point mare who now heads off to Mr Mullins..
Rocky’s Treasure is for John Perriss and Milan Express for Penny Perriss. The others will find owners.
At Bangor Kilty Caul was not on a going day. Disappointing.. Fast ground I feel.
Busy day at the sales was followed by a relaxing supper last night with Martyn and Sandra Steer Fowler (Such A Legend) at No 131. A fun night.
Robert and Tom Bellamy and Ed Bailey were in to ride out this morning.
No runners today at Worcester.. One to miss after last week?
You think you have lived to be 80 plus and know who you are, then along comes someone and blows it all to hell!
An old Marine Pilot sat down at the Starbucks, still wearing his old USMC flight jacket and ordered a cup of coffee
As he sat sipping his coffee, a young woman sat down next to him. She turned to the pilot and asked, Are you a real pilot?
He replied, 'Well, I've spent my whole life flying planes, first Stearmans, then the early Grummans... flew a Wildcat and Corsair in WWII, and later in the Korean conflict, Banshees and Cougars. I've taught more than 260 people to fly and given rides to hundreds, so I guess I am a pilot, and you, what are you?
She said, 'I'm a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about naked women. As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about naked women. When I shower, I think about naked women. When I watch TV, I think about naked women. It seems everything makes me think of naked women.'
The two sat sipping in silence.
A little while later, a young man sat down on the other side of the old pilot and asked:
"Are you a real pilot?"
He replied, 'I always thought I was, but I just found out I'm a lesbian.'
To finish.. Happy birthdays to Giles Wilson and Mary Anne St Clair-Ford.
26th May 2016
Plus 9, overcast and dry when driving in.
Seconds are not my favourite placings.. Yesterday we had two.
The day started badly with a bit of root canal from the dentist and then a journey to Market Rasen.
Good ground needed and about half an hour away I drove into rain and there it stayed all day while at Market Rasen.. Rain ..
Great for gardeners but not for a trainer who wanted fast ground.. we seemed to have had many days when the ground has changed against us..that’s life..
Monkhouse was always going to find the soft ground a struggle.. we have missed the winter to avoid.
David Johnson made the journey to represent his wife Virginia who was unable to come..It was David’s first visit to Market Rasen and Chairman Bud Booth and Tommy Cooper made him most welcome.
Bud also proudly showed me all their renovations.. restaurant and boxes.. A racecourse going places.
Newton Abbot we were second again. Aunty Ann was well beaten after a slowly run race turned the race into a sprint.. The ground was good.
Mat Nicholls and Peter Kerr down there to look after Gillian Morgan. Aunty Ann her first horse with us and a winner and second so far..
Last night the journey home from Market Rasen was rather rushed to arrive in time for supper with Mikey and Ginny Elliot and Oli and Panda Christie in Stow On The Wold at The Old Butchers.. Bloody good food and rightly packed..Nocks on the table next door..
Birthdays are not the best of days although you hope they come around for a few more years.. Plenty of cards; most amusing and some downright rude.. it was though very good to receive a card from my staff which they all had signed.
Mikey Elliot gave me a 'blow up pillow' for the next time I spend the night in a car..At least I think it is a pillow.. will have to blow it up to see?
Cheltenham Sales today and it looks a good one.. I am there all day.
Hence I am not going to Bangor where we have one runner. Mat, Kilty Caul and David Bass all meet up and for my thoughts on their chances please click here.. Another second?
Overheard last night..
" I’m Jane" she said.
"I'm Christopher," he replied "but everyone calls me Dick for short"
"How do you get Dick from Christopher?" she asked.
"You just have to ask me nicely" he replied.
25th May 2016
Plus 7 and dry although overcast when driving in.
May 25th? A day that I hope comes around for many years to come!!
I enjoyed my visit to Martin Jones yesterday and on the right are the horses he is breaking for me..
Southwell’s ground last night was as described; it was good ground. Funny place, but they do a good job in all areas.
Grand March was 3rd and as predicted he didn't like the tight track but we went there because it was safe ground; GM will now probably have a summer beak as the alternatives are not easy to find.
The highlight of the evening for the car park attendants was Grand March’s owner/breeder Julia Baldanza turning up in one of her cars.. a McLaren .. not something Southwell see very often.. It looked very smart in the car park..
David Bass was in this morning..
Graham Potts our vet was in for his weekly visit and one Blazon might not have enjoyed! He be a colt no more..
We have two runners today. Monkhouse goes to Market Rasen and Richie McLernon rides and Aunty Ann goes to Newton Abbot and David Bass rides.. For my thoughts on their respective chances please click here.
Today concludes the Racing Posts excellent 3 day article on stable staff.
I hope everybody in racing, whether they be owners, trainers or staff have read it.. We really do need to sort this problem before it gets even worse..
The BHA throw more races and more horses at us, or rather that is their dream… More staff coming into the sport should be the number one priority..
Proper prize money would make a huge difference to start with..
I cannot see the BHA cutting the number of races and doubling prize money at the medium to lower level which would sort the problem pretty quickly…Sorry forgot the bookmakers need more racing runners and a race every 12 minutes..who runs racing?
We are very lucky here as we have great staff; we try to make sure they have good working conditions and accommodation.. As one of my team said yesterday. ''Nobody leaves Thorndale to go to another yard as they know it is a great job and they love it. But they do leave to go out of racing as there is a lack of career opportunities...''
CONFUCIUS did not say, but could have...
Man who wants pretty nurse, must be patient.
Passionate kiss, like spider web, leads to undoing of fly.
Better to be pissed off than pissed on.
Lady who goes camping must beware of evil in intent.
Squirrel who runs up woman's' leg will not find nuts.
Man who leaps off cliff jumps to conclusion.
Man who eats many prunes get good run for money.
War does not determine who is right, it determines who is left.
Man who fight with wife all day, get no piece at night.
It takes many nails to build a crib, but only one screw to fill it.
Man who drives like hell is bound to get there.
Man who stands on toilet is high on pot.
Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement..
24th May 2016
Plus 7 and sunny when driving in. What a lovely month May is when it was like it was this morning.. This green and pleasant land we live in.
Tom Bellamy was in to ride work on Policy Breach with Mikey Hamill on our intended Royal Ascot runner Sunblazer.
This weeks movers and shakers in the handicap charts are. Trojan Star down 1 to 108, Such A Legend down 1 to 123, Boy In A Bentley down 6 to 120, Patsys Castle down 6 to 117, Jimmy The Jetplane enters at 132 while Net Work Rouge goes up 5 to 125 for finishing second!!
I headed over mid morning to see my youngsters at Martin Jones. Martin breaks all my horses in and he has 3 gelding and 2 fillies that he is currently working on.
We have one runner tonight at Southwell and for my thoughts on Grand March's chances please click here.
Mike Dewar and I walked up our all weather gallop yesterday to look at what we are going to do with repairs and topping up during the summer months (when it is not being used so often)..Bigger turning circles, more surface in places etc which led me to this..Mainland Aggregates recently published an infographic entitled, "Equestrian Arena Costs: New vs Recycled".Click to read.
Cheltenham is a great town to be near and many of my owners enjoy visiting the yard while staying in Cheltenham to enjoy its delights..or visa versa..
Norman Carter who owns Sunblazer and Rhianna is not only moving closer he also spent Saturday in the town and this is his report..
Beaumont House Hotel, excellent, couldn't fault it... friendly, clean, comfortable and a good breakfast ... just 20 mins walk to the Promenade
No 131 ... what great food and good service.
With that in mind I thought this to be suitable...
An Engineer dies and goes to Hell. Dissatisfied with the level of comfort, he starts designing and building improvements.
After a while, Hell has air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators. The engineer is a pretty popular guy.
One day God calls and asks Satan, "So, how's it going down there?" Satan says, "Hey things are going great.
We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."
God is horrified. "What? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake - he should never have gone down there!
You know all engineers go to Heaven. Send him up here! "
Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff. I'm keeping him."
God says, "Send him back up here or I'll sue."
"Yeah, right," Satan laughs, "and where are you going to get a lawyer?"
23rd May 2016
Plus 5 and sunny when driving in.. 6 mm of rain overnight.
Well done Nam Hai. A winner on the flat at Nottingham yesterday with Willie Twiston Davies on board.
I was not at Nottingham as I had Harry, Pandora and Archie at home. A rare time when all three of my children were around. I also had a visit from potential new owners in the afternoon.
Cathy Twiston Davies was with us for lunch (Harrys Godmother) so we were able to scream at the TV when firstly Nam Hai and Willie were not looking too happy at the start and then when he arrived to take up the race too soon and then again when idling in front. In jest of course.. My last winner at Nottingham was over hurdles.. in fact the last hurdle race ever run at Nottingham.
David Cromton and Ken Gray are the two of ten part owners in This Horse Is Sale Partnership who own Nam Hai .. the other eight are owned by me.. 8 shares for sale by the way.. Ring Peter Kerr for details...07901763643
At Newmarket on Saturday Forgotten Hero ran well to finish 4th. It was a slowly run race which did not help. A good run from both flat horses.
Newmarket is not a place I go racing very often let alone have runners there.. Even the lady on the gate, when Harry asked for a ticket, thought Kim Bailey was his mother not his father..so much so that Harry had to ring me to verify and when passing over the phone with 'Dad' on the calling number she still did not believe..My gruff deep voice sorted..
Monday morning and more horses heading out to grass.
Ed Bailey was here to ride out. Ed who has been winning point to points this season and spent time over the winter with Paul Nicholls is also my Godson.. Lucky chap?
This week the Racing Post is highlighting the problem of staff shortages in the sport… Something I flagged up last year.
We are probably more than 500 staff members short which is bad news as most look after at least 4 horses.. 2000 horses
We have a permanent advert running looking for staff and I always try and carry one team member more that I should so that we are always fully staffed.
We also have a brand new hostel which is like a hotel which also helps..accommodation is a big issue....We are also close to Cheltenham for those big night outs..
It really is a big worry as I really don't know where the new staff are going to come from.
I take on work experience youngsters during the summer in the hope one or two might be tempted to join us in years to come.
Whatever this problem will not go away.. we are no different from farmers, hoteliers, restaurants.. you name them they are all looking for staff..
Have you noticed that every time you do something like visit a new garage to have your car serviced they send a questionnaire to see how satisfied you were with what they did for you..
An Airline introduced a special package for business men.
Buy your ticket and get your wifes ticket free.
After great success the Airline sent out letters to all the wives asking how was the trip.
All of them replied the same way… What trip?
21st May 2016
Plus 12 and raining when driving in.
Supper last night with Martin and Sarah Lowe near Ross On Wye.. Part owners in the Turf Club leased Pulling Power last season.
Jockeys David Bass, Richie McLernon, Robert Bellamy and Alfie Martindale all in this morning.
We worked Jimmy The Jetplane, Sunblazer, Sonneofpresenting, Aunty Ann, Monkhouse, Policy Breach, Watcombe Heights, The Tamure gelding and the rest cantered
We jumped Milord and Sonneofpresenting over fences.
More horses out to grass.
More staff off on their holidays..
We have two runners over the weekend.
I am heading to Newmarket today with Forgotten Hero while Peter Kerr is heading To Nottingham tomorrow with Nam Hai.. Two flat runners both ridden by ex jump jockeys.. Dougie Costello today and Willie Twiston Davies tomorrow. For my thoughts on their respective chances please click here.
Very soft ground at Auteuil today where their big hurdle race the Prix la Barka has 13 runners of which 8 are from the UK or Ireland..
Now here is something novel for those who feel they would like to take a new role in life.
I have been email by Robbie Hamilton
I work for Hat Trick Television Productions (we’re best known for making Have I Got News For You) and we are currently casting for a new family based documentary series. I would hugely appreciate it if you could forward our casting information (attached below) on to your horse owners (or anyone else that comes to mind) in case it might spark anyone’s interest. If you’d like any more information don’t hesitate to ask.
Hat Trick Productions are currently looking for families to take part in a new documentary series for Channel 5 that will explore the growing wealth divide in Britain. Each episode will see two families with very different incomes swap homes and budgets for one week.
This is a prime time slot and we are looking for families who want to experience the way the other half live and to show their children the different values of life.
It’s very topical subject matter but should also be a fun and informative experience with a really warm hearted tone – something which both families can take something valuable away from. The age old question of whether money buys you happiness will be a constant theme, we’re looking to gain a real insight into how incomes inform family lives.
We’re currently on the search for adventurous families at the upper end of the income spectrum, with at least one child still living at home. If you’re interested in finding out more and potentially taking part, then please email email@example.com or call 0207 184 5775. You can also find us on Twitter at @FamilySwapDoc or on facebook.com/FamilySwapDoc
There must be somebody reading this who would like to give this a go?
The fact that there is a 'Highway to Hell' and only a 'Stairway to Heaven' says a great deal about the anticipated traffic numbers..
See you Monday..
20th May 2016
Plus 11 and dry when driving in.
Well that was an interesting 24 hours..
Yesterday did not start the way I expected.. Sleeping in my car was not the way to start the day.. I am not in my early 20s and gone are the days when I used to park up and sleep, usually for reasons that cannot be repeated.. Anyway I have forgotten what it was like and after many years of missing the experience I was not in a hurry to repeat.. I was fairly stiff most of yesterday..
The Goffs/Docaster Sales continued with trainers selling their horses .. Not a day for the Irish Pointers.. We only sold King Simba and would have Mor Brook but his partnership had decided to retire him.
I bought King Simba back for £2600.00.. I am sorry but that was an injustice and a affront/insult to his ability.. He should have won last time and did so the time before at Huntingdon.. Sore shins have been a problem but he is still growing.. Anyway he is here and now has a new owner..
I also bought Lot 469 Blazon for Peter Kerr to set up an new partnership.. This unraced ex Juddmonte colt is well bred and will shortly have an operation to become a gelding; after a summer out he will be aimed at 3 year old bumpers..
David Bass was keen to ride Grand March yesterday at Worcester.. He had an outstanding chance but after walking the course he rang to say it was so firm and he suggested that he should be a non runner..
Worcester as you well know is not top of my pops but the ground was described as good and good to firm in places.. I was there 10 days ago and it was lovely ground but yesterday the vibes were not good and we did not run; nor did 33 other horses. Not a good start for the summer racecourse.
I was very glad I did not have to drive from Doncaster after a sleepless night to take my runner out..I am not sure I would have been very patient with the management,….. If only the ground had been changed early yesterday then we would have been warned.
Friday and a new day.. Tom Bellamy was in to ride out a couple of lots.By The Boardwalk went home.
No runners today.
A guy goes to the supermarket and notices a very attractive woman waving at him.
She says, 'Hello.' He's rather taken aback becasue he cant place wher he knows her from.
So he asks, 'Do you know me?'
To which she replies,'I think you're the father of one of my kids.'
Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife.So he asks,
'Are you the stripper from the bachelor partythat I made love to on the pool table, with all my buddies watching, while your partner whipped my butt with wet celery?'
She looks into his eyes and says calmly, 'No, I'm your son's teacher'!!
Norman Carter sent over an email last night and it ended with..
Thought of you, just watched the film 'Lady in a Van'....Sleep tight tonight!
Careful Norman.. Mrs B ...not impressed?!
19th May 2016
Plus 12 while sitting in my car in Doncaster.
Doncaster Goffs Sales yesterday was certainly interesting, the Million in Mind horses made an awful lot of money as did others but the bottom half of the market was quite quiet. Jill Lamb bought lot 355 which is called Minella Warrior for David and Julie Martin to replace Darna. This lovely looking horse by King's Theatre has now gone home to Derbyshire for the summer.
Last night's racing at Southwell was a pretty good disaster as heavy rain had changed the ground and none of the horses were suited by it. The only one that ran respectably was Patsys Castle who jumped and ran well for 3/4 of the journey until the ground finally caught him out. Such a Legend, Rhianna and Boy in a Bentley all struggled.
With all the owners there last night we were quite late to leave the racecourse so I decided not to go home but to drive back to Doncaster as I am selling King Simba there today. The journey didn't go that well as the A1 was closed and then all the hotels in 30 mile radius of Doncaster were fully booked including the Campanile hotels but there is obviously something very important happening in Doncaster apart from the sales!! The trainer's supper was a McDonalds at midnight before reclining in my front seat in the car in some obscure car park where I slept uncomfortably hoping that no one would rattle my cage trying to open the door. It has been some while since l slept in my car overnight and had forgotten how uncomfortable it is. It might be amusing for you to read it but it certainly wasn't amusing for me!! Hence the blog is late this morning!
Todays runner is Grand March at Worcester for my thoughts please click here.
I am home later today and very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed!!
18th May 2016
Plus 7 and drizzling when waking in The Crown in Bawtry..Doncaster
My two runners at Huntingdon yesterday failed to add to our season tally..Ground was very fast..excuses?
Trade was very strong..
Back there today looking to buy a made or raced horse or two.
Jimmy the Jetplane and Sunblazer worked this morning.
Phil Moorby and Kathy Wadsworth called in to see Patsys Castle before he runs at Southwell this evening.
We have 4 runners at Southwell tonight and for my thoughts please click here.
No jokes today.. sorry about that….
17th May 2016
Plus 3 and dry when driving in.
We worked Sonneofpresenting and Same Ole Trix this morning while all the rest cantered.
The top barn is now just about cleaned out and painted.. The steam cleaner is flat out..
I was away early heading to Doncaster/Goffs sales..
This weeks movers and shakers are Ballyknock Lad up 3 to 121, Gaelic Myth up 8 to 117, Kilty Caul down 3 to 108, Magic Money down 1 to 110, Viaduct Jack down 5 to 105 and Patsys Castle has been given a chase mark of 123.
No Vet today as he is in tomorrow
We have two runners tonight at Huntingdon which I hope to get to.. Nam Hai was due to run at Nottingham but now doesn't due to the Good to firm ground.
Trojan Star and Vital Evidence both to be ridden by David Bass..
For my thoughts on their chances please click here.