24th July 2014
Plus 15 and dry when driving in; yes another scorcher ahead.
We gave Midnight Oscar, Bonne Fee, West End, Viking Ridge, Sunblazer and Amazing D'Azy a jump over the plastic hurdles on the all-weather.
I was in Derbyshire lunch time to see Julie Martin and her horses at home.
David and Julie Martin currently have Darna and Bonne Fee here.
Fate is a funny old thing..
Mid morning on Tuesday a white van drew into the yard and this tall blond haired chap jumped out and asked for the boss.. I was planning on throwing him out as we have had more than enough white vans pull in over the last few weeks..
Perhaps it was the word 'boss' that made the difference; anyway I listened to him trying to sell the idea of a new power or pressure washer.. Little did he know that ours had just broken down and I was in the mood for a new one.
Yesterday afternoon Oliver Edkins of Pressure Washer Sales and Service PWSAS. appeared here with 3 different types of pressure/power washer to see what we needed.
We power wash the yard passageways on a weekly basis, likewise the horse walker and all the drains. Always time consuming but something we feel that is very important, especially with the added disinfectant.
A new machine has to be tough, easy to use and bomb proof?
After an hour of demonstrations Oliver and I arrived at a point where I agreed to part with a cheque and in return Oliver was offered a chance of a photo with my main powerhose driver Higgs.... history proves that I have done both... good product? I bloody well hope so.. it certainly looks like it will do the job.
The Racing Posts special report on racings problems did not shed any new light on the problem.
Yes small fields are a problem but until they realise that there is far too much racing this will always be the case. There are just not enough horses to go round.
Racing as a sport needs to encourage people to invest into the idea of owning racehorses and prize money would be a great place to start from.
One area that would help is a greater proportion of prize money for finishing second.
We all hate being second as your horse normally has a harder race than the winner, you received very little prize money as compensation and usually goes up in the handicap for the privilege of coming second..
We try to avoid races where this is likely to happen..
Able Deputy went up 5 lbs for finishing 2nd at Stratford last week and now has to rest as he is above any band of races over 2 miles..
His race was a rare one for the summer as it was £20,000.00 added..The winner collected £12,500.00 and the second £3,500.00.. We might not feel so bad taking the 5lb hit if we had received £7000.00 for finishing second..
Owners currently see a split of prize money pool as 1st.53.6%..2nd. 17.6% and 3rd 8.8%
It was Giffords Circus earlier in the week and last night Golf with Archie at Shipton Golf Course.. I was surprised not to see Jim Wilson still trying to get into his car.. A month away in Australia has not done him any good when it comes to car keys?
The Commonwealth Games started last night with a light hearted and enjoyable opening cermony..
The Queen was given a hugely warm reception on arrival and when she sat next Alex Salmond her conversation (as according to Andrew Bengough) went like this..
HM: How nice to see you Mr Salmond.
AS: Nice to see you Ma’am. Now, what are we going to call Scotland when we win Independence? How about calling it a Kingdom, and then I’ll be a King?
HM: No, we don’t like that.
AS: Alright, so how about calling it a Principality, and then I’ll be a Prince?
HM: .... (thinks).... No Mr Salmond, I think we should call it a Country.
23rd July 2014
Plus 14 and dry when driving; another scorcher ahead.
Racing has more disappointing headlines and this time it hits all the front pages. ''Queens Ascot winner fails drug test..''
We all know it is feed stuffs that are the cause of the problem but that does not really help as anybody, outside racing, reading the headlines will automatically assume the horse has been running on drugs... not a good reading of the situation.
5 horses fail or prove positive to morphine and what were the chances of one being owned by Her Majesty The Queen?
Sadly this is something we all dread as it is totally out of our control..
Paul Bittar, the BHA chief executive bleats that 'Quite simply British racing has to address the issue of small fields..'
Is he on a different planet to us at ground level? We shall find out tomorrow when he fields a special report in the Racing Post.
From where I am training it seems obvious enough that we have far too much racing and far too many all weather courses appearing. What is far more of a concern is that we just dont have enough horses in training to fill all these meetings. It is unlikely to get any better unless prize money improves.
Midnight Oscar went to Lambourn this morning for a gallop and change of scenery.
Paul and Elizabeth Kellar called in second lot to see Handsome Harry while third lot Vince Burmingham called in to see his horses Knockanrawley, Milord, Savant Bleu and Silver Eagle.
The Queen will be in Glasgow today attending the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Today starts the biggest event held in Scotland for a while. It will be a great event and one I am sure Alex Salmond will thrive on as a build up to the Scottish Referendum in September.
So excited that Peter Wheatley sent over this email...
Alex Salmond walks into a Royal Bank to cash a cheque. As he approaches the cashier he says, "Good morning, Ma'am, could you please cash this cheque for me?"
Cashier:" It would be my pleasure sir. Could you please show me your ID?"
Salmond :"Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland !!!!"
Cashier:" Yes sir, I know who you are, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of impostors and forgers and requirements of the legislation, etc., I must insist on seeing ID."
Salmond: "Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."
Cashier: "I am sorry, Mr. Salmond, but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."
Salmond:"C'mon lassie. I am urging you, please, to cash this cheque."
Cashier: "Look Mr. Salmond, here is an example of what we can do. One day, Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putter and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a cup. With that shot we knew him to be Tiger Woods and cashed his cheque. "Another time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racket and made a fabulous shot whereas the tennis ball landed in my cup. With that shot we cashed his cheque. "So, Mr. Salmond, what can you do to prove that it is you, and only you?"
Salmond stands there thinking, and thinking, and finally says, "Honestly, my mind is a total blank...there is nothing that comes to my mind. I can't think of a single thing. I have absolutely no idea what to do and I don't have a clue."
Cashier: "How would you like that cash, Mr. Salmond?
22nd July 2014
Plus 12 and dry when driving in.
We all make mistakes and yesterday Tom Scudamore made one at Cartmel when taking the wrong course.
Sadly for Tom the front page of the Racing Post did what 'The Sun' does best and that is make a meal out of the situation and string a couple of words together to make it sensational... ''Forest Chump.''.
There is no better behaved jockey or ambassador for the sport than Tom and he was quick to apologise.. yes we all make mistakes and for Tom this must have been a first.
12 day holiday for him now.. family outings?
Tom Bellamy was in for a couple of lots this morning.
It is that time of year when I start taking photographs of the horses to go on the 'horses in training page' on this web site. Always interesting to see how much some of the horses have changed in a year, or has my photography just improved.... perhaps not.
I started taking a few last night at evening stables and it is not something my staff enjoy as the horses don't like standing still, especially when there are so many flies around to annoy.
The pictures will go on 'horses' page next week when Kerry returns from sunning herself in Salcombe. You can't beat a UK holiday when the weather is right?
The handicapper reassess horses ratings every Tuesday or rather it is published every Tuesday.
Able Deputy and Supreme Present are two that have high enough ratings, although one is coming down.
The main problem is that their ratings are based on summer racing form which bears no comparison to winter form.
Yes it is tough for the handicappers, but they should not assess horses on what they think they are capable of, but on the form as they see it.. sadly that means the slide rule effect still applies i.e if you beat a horse by 10 lengths and the second is rated 120 then you are likely to be rated 130.
No sense in that I am afraid as we are finding out with Supreme Present who beat a horse rated 118 by an easy 15 lengths so why not believe she is that good and put her up 25 lbs to 145?
I know I am banging on about this but it does mean that both AD and SP have no races to run in now and both need fast ground... is their season already over?
Any enough said.. this weeks movers and shakers in the handicap charts are.. Amazing D'Azy down 2 to 111, Able Deputy up 5 to 145, Bonne Fee up 3 to 110 while Supreme Present goes down 4 to 135... SP has come down 10lbs in two weeks and now almost back to the 15 lenghts she won by at Stratford.
Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end.
He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out.
When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna's heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.
When she went to tell Edna the news she said, 'Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love....
I have concluded that your act displays a sound mind. The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's dead.
Edna replied, 'He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?'
21st July 2014
Plus 14 and dry when driving in.
What a weekend of sport and weather.
We had the best part of another inch of rain on Saturday. Thunderstorms and deluges with hailstones the size of sugar cubes; yes we had it all, and sun.
Sport.. Rory McIlroy’s win in The Open was stunning stuff. I am not a golfer but it was captivating TV. The man is a genius, especially when you put in the context that he, along with Tiger Woods and Jack Nichlaus are the only players who have won 3 majors by the age of 25.
Last night I was watching the Test match from Lords on Sky on the TV and the Golf on the computer.. both were riveting although there was only one outright winner.. not sure we will have the same result in the cricket today.
AP McCoy has now passed Martin Pipe's record when riding more winners on Saturday at Market Rasen: Martin is apparently far from happy about the situation and will now take out a license again!
Monday morning and fresh horses. We started cantering the first batch today; those who came back in early July.
Young pony rider Gus Levinson was in and rode out 2 lots..
I bumped into Dr John Disney over the weekend.
John reminded me why men make better friends than women..
A woman didn't come home one night.
The next morning she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend's house.
The man called his wife's ten best friends. None of them knew anything about it.
Friendship among Men:
A man didn't come home one night.
The next morning he told his wife that he had slept over at a friend's house.
The woman called her husband's ten best friends.
Eight confirmed that he had slept over, and two said he was still there.
19th July 2014
Plus 16, muggy and raining when driving in.
Another night of rain and thunderstorms and more to come judging by the weather forecast. it was like winter when getting up this morning.. dark outside.
I popped along to the CLA Game Fair yesterday afternoon where it was bloody hot and busy.
A great country event and one where you meet people you normally see on racecourses? Trainers and owners were very much in evidence which I suppose is expected as we are all out of town people?
Local trainer CL and FO'B were either pushing children or shooting clays. James and Jane Way were spotted talking to son Richard on the Bettws Hall stand... I failed to find either The Perriss's or the Murphy's in the huge crowd.
Back to today..Iain and Angela Bell, who are share holders in the KBRP's, called in third lot to see Silver Eagle and Knockanrawley. SE is sadly missing this winter while KAR was out at exercise.
Midnight Oscar, Viking Ridge, West End and Bonne Fee all did a bit more on the gallops this morning.
The scare on 5 horses showing positive for morphine; I said yesterday was likely to be feed related..
Woeful stuff from England's top order cricketers and again the Captain failed. When you are out of form it is so hard to turn it around and poor Alastair Cook cannot be enjoying his summer..
Gary Ballance saved the day with a century, while Joe Root was unlucky..
Talking cricket I am meant to be playing in a cricket match and participation is looking unlikely due to weather. A years planning into Peter Sidgwick's 60th birthday party which starts this afternoon with his cricket match..
I was told my blog had become very boring by somebody yesterday..
The Marriage Counsellor
After 35 years of marriage, a husband and wife came for counselling. When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a tirade listing every problem they ever had in the years they had been married. On and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured.
Finally, after allowing this for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking the wife to stand, he embraced and kissed her long and passionately as her husband watched with a raised eyebrow. The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze.
The therapist turned to the husband and said, "This is what your wife needs at least 3 times a week. Can you do this?"
"Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I play golf."
The mention of golf leads me to wish Rory Mcllroy a steady consistent swing over the next couple of days..
Have a good weekend and stay dry..
18th July 2014
Plus 16 and dry when driving in.
Dry it certainly was not at 2.15 this morning when we had the mother of all thunderstorms and about an inch of rain fell in half an hour. Thunder claps make quiet a racket especially when they were just above my house?
I was in London last night; not an ideal night to be dressed up as it was so muggy and hot. I would have preferred other nights but I was asked by the Directors of the Country Life Fair to a reception in the State Apartments in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent at St James's Palace.
A Royal summons?
I am the only Racehorse Trainer to have a position at this fair which is all about bringing country events into town. It is the first time that this event has been held and it will be interesting to see how it works. Log on here to find out more about it.
About 350 people attended last night drinks and we were all keen to be near a window.. Late home on a slow moving train.. buckled tracks?
5 horses in positive test for morphine.. not a good headline.. These are usually a result of feed contamination.
Golf and The Open.. an interesting leader board..
Moving away from racing and our little world. The news of yesterdays Malaysian Airways plane crash over Ukraine has sent shock waves around the world. A horrifying tragedy.
17th July 2014
16th July 2014
Plus 14 and dry when driving in.
Another bright sunny day ahead and what better way to start the day than by seeing the promising Such A Legend return to the yard.
Sandra Steer-Fowler delivered her progressive dual hurdle winner, who goes novice chasing this season, looking in the pink of condition having spent the summer eating Devon's finest grass.
We have a strange routine at this time of year as first lot go out early and head off around the roads through the village of Withington and then back through the woods to Thorndale Farm. Those cantering go out second lot.
The reason is that the traffic on the roads early is almost non existent while if we went along them second lot people are on their way to work.
Midnight Oscar did his first piece of work of the summer and Viking Ridge went with him.
I have my godson staying for a couple of days. Toby Ruck Keene, who heads to university in September, is here to see what his godfather does for a living. A late night last night was possibly not the ideal way to start him off; a 5.30 start was certainly not what he expected or is used to...
We have one runner today at Uttoxeter and AP McCoy does not ride Amazing D'Azy.
AP, who is still trying to beat Martin Pipe's record, thinks he will on his mount in AD's race..
AP is favourite and we are second favourite and he has won on both horses.. He told me, via his agent, not to bother taking him on..
Ed Cookson, who gets on well with AD, rides her and they have a great chance of finishing second to AP? 5lbs just could make a difference.
If Amazing D'Azy wasn't running I would have been in Newmarket this afternoon to say goodbye to Rory MacDonald.
Rory has run the British Racing School for some years now and today they are holding a retirement lunch and a presentation to the great man.
Having been involved with the BRS for a few years I know how much of his life he has put into the School and what a job he has done. Rory and his team have achieved miracles and the BRS is universally recognised as about the best of its kind in the world.
The BRS will miss him enormously, although he passes on his duties to the very able Grant Harris
Rory received and OBE for his services to the racing industry and disadvantaged young people.
The blonde flight attendant and the lawyer
A lawyer boarded an aeroplane in New Orleans with a box of frozen crabs and asked a blonde flight attendant to take care of them for him.
She took the box and promised to put it in the crew's refrigerator.
He advised her that he was holding her personally responsible for them staying frozen, mentioning in a very haughty manner that he was a lawyer, and proceeded to rant at her about what would happen if she let them thaw out. Needless to say, she was annoyed by his behaviour.
Shortly before landing in New York , she used the intercom to announce to the entire cabin, "Would the lawyer who gave me the crabs in New Orleans please raise your hand?"
Not one hand went up, so she took them home and ate them..
Thanks Anne for that one.. have a good day..
Supreme Present went home late morning to Robert Chugg's for a months break.
15th July 2014
Plus 13 and dry when driving in. A sprinkling of rain over night.
My day did not start well..No breakfast tea for the journey in and then no papers at our local garage; Mat and I were standing at the counter at 5.35 saying... bad start to the day!
Yesterday did not go as planned.
Supreme Present found giving 3 penalties to geldings impossible.
She ran well to finish 3rd, beaten just over 3 lenghts, but it was the first time against the boys and there is a big difference.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and perhaps we should have gone to Stratford on Sunday where Paul Nicholls's horse, who was rated 125 ran badly; we would have been giving him weight..
A longer trip might have helped, but whatever she would still have had the 3 penalties and perhaps now the handicapper will realise that rating her 145 was far from sensible. It will be interesting to see how much he drops her when he reassess her next week.
SP, who is importantly fine this morning, will now have a well earned break; she has had a busy time of it since the spring when she returns we will try and win a mares hurdle with some black type in it. Not easy but if the ground is suitable she will.
SP has run 6 times since February and winning 5 of them.. It would be lovely if all horses could do that as I am sure all owners would agree.
Driving down to Newton Abbot with part owner and breeder Robert Chugg was certainly interesting; we talked horses the whole way and then stopped off to pick up Robert's old mate John Wood who fancied a days racing.
John and Mary live almost next door to Martin Pipe, who record AP McCoy was hoping to break on SP.
Jon Hughes was here first lot.
Jon is a member of one of the strategy pillar teams set up by Steve Harman at the BHA, and is working on one of the potential opportunities to "improve the owner-trainer experience" as a way of maximising enjoyment for owners.
Jon is working on this in conjunction with Stephen Wallis at the Jockey Club. Stephen is interviewing Flat trainers, and I am doing NH.
We talked a lot!
Tom Bellamy was here to ride out two lots.
Mat and Seran went over to John and Penny Perriss's to bring their horses By The Boardwalk, Azure Aware, Mollys A Diva, Thedrinkymeister, Premier Portrait, The Scarlett Woman and Knocklayde Express back to Thorndale for the season ahead.
There will be a huge turn out at Michael and Mary Scudamore's funeral this afternoon at Much Dewchurch. Michael was one of the all time great jockeys.
This weeks movers and shakers in the handicap charts are..Supreme Present down 6 to 139 and that was before yesterdays run..
Sign In Chinese Pet Store: "Buy one dog, get one flea..."
14th July 2014
Plus 8 and dry when driving in.
Yes I am back home..
My plane was delayed so I missed making the trip to Stratford yesterday to watch Able Deputy run another blinder.
It all looked perfectly suitable; a 150 rated £20,000.00 2 mile handicap chase and landing at Birmingham at 1.30.. Instead it was a case of listening on Racing FM while waiting for the luggage to appear.
Sam Twiston Davies, who was asked to ride AD 24 hours earlier became available when his intended mount was declared a non runner, so we decided to revert to him as he had ridden him before over fences when finishing 2nd at Kempton earlier in the year.
Sad for Ed Cookson and who knows his 5 lbs might have made a difference but AD went down fighting by half a length. It was certainly no disgrace although we missed the winning combination of AP McCoy!
AP has his chance to redeem himself when riding Supreme Present in the first at Newton Abbot this afternoon. 3 penalties minus a mares allowance of 7lbs means that she is carrying 2 penalties, if that makes sense.
If the handicapper is right and she is really a 145 rated mare she should win.. I believe the handicapper is way wrong so it just might not be quite so easy.. It all boils down to how good John Ferguson's My Direction is?
AP should break another record today. He is one short of beating Martin Pipe's all time race winning record...Another remarkable milestone for this extroadinary sportsman.
Being away for a week you see differences in the horses. They look well and are doing their road work.
New staff faces and Seran is back from her travels to start travelling the horses again. Nearly back to normal and more horses coming back this week.
A great World Cup Final. The best team won.
With 11 of us travelling yesterday I was the odd one out on our cramped flight home and as a result I sat next to a strange woman.
The woman sneezed, took out a tissue, gently wiped her nose, then visibly shuddered for ten to fifteen seconds.
I went back to reading my Kindle. A few minutes later, the woman sneezed again, took a tissue, wiped her nose, then shuddered violently once more.
Assuming that the woman might have a cold, I was still curious about the shuddering. A few more minutes passed when the woman sneezed yet again.
As before, she took a tissue, wiped her nose, her body shaking ever more than before.
Unable to restrain my curiosity, I turned to the woman and said, "I couldn't help but notice that you've sneezed three times, wiped your nose and then shuddered violently. Are you OK?"
"I am sorry if I disturbed you, I have a very rare medical condition; whenever I sneeze I have an orgasm."
I was certainly more than a bit embarrassed, was still curious. "I have never heard of that condition before".... "Are you taking anything for it?"
The woman nodded, "Pepper."