20th January 2017
Minus 3 and dry when driving in.
Just when I thought things could not get any worse..
I left here yesterday to go to Ludlow full of hope and excitement.
Both of our runners were healthy and looked well. Both moved around the paddock with purpose and were as they say, ready.
Then doom and gloom as both horses departed at the same fence. Vital Evidence lay down at the second fence while Gallery Exhibition unseated Henry Morshead after completing a whole circuit when looking to be going well. Toys out of the pram. Cat kicked, you name it.. I was not happy and a phone call to Mat on the way home did not make me feel any better!
Both horses and jockeys were fine after.
There was a bright spot when I called in to see Mr Macho who is pre training with Martin Jones. Martin is good at his job and looks after his horses well. Not only that but he managed to read the situation well by slipping a large Jameson into my coffee..
Clare’s parents staying for a few days. They drove down from the Borders in time for supper.
Friday and no runners. The world changes as America has a new President .. President Trump. I wonder what he will be like? I am sure it will be an interesting ride and one that I hope does not end in disaster.
Jockey Conor Shoemark was in to ride out a couple of lots.
Norman Carter was here second lot to see his KBRP horse Milord and his own Sunblazer. Sunny is currently having a break and is out in a barn/field with his mate Patsys Castle.
Leigh Pollard my Travelling head girl has not been racing that often recently..Leigh was delighted to write her blog again.
''It has been very quiet recently, only three days racing in two weeks!! Makes a change from being out on the road every day.
Huntingdon last Friday.. I was pleased to see there was warm water in the hoses and the pressure was good, something that has been a problem in the past. I do feel the stables are too small, not ideal for a large or bargy horse. One of ours put his head up and nearly hit it on the ceiling!! Also the surface in the stable yard is not great, when it is wet it sticks to the horses legs which is not ideal when you have spent ages cleaning them.
The canteen has improved hugely, they now have the same menu as Warwick which includes scampi and 4oz rump steak, (Sadly it is not free). This is a great change and I look forward to eating there in the future.
Warwick on Saturday and the trek from the stables to the parade ring hasn't got any shorter!! The water pressure was poor and there are only 4 washdown boxes, not ideal for a large runner race in muddy conditions.
Warwick offer free food for stable staff which is always welcome.
Ludlow yesterday, another place that has improved, having resurfaced their walkways and parade ring it is a much nicer experience knowing you are not going to get filthy just leading your horse up. They just need to sort out the lighting now! It is very poor in both the stables and the saddling boxes.
I always make sure I have time to eat at Ludlow as their pork roast dinner is one of the best meals at a racecourse.
Although we are going through a quiet period and our horses are not running as well as we would like it is important to remember that they come back safe and sound and most importantly in one piece, ready to go again.
I think myself very lucky every time I bring the horses home, regardless of how they have run, as being at the racecourses all the time you realise how easily this could not be the case.''
I am sure you are (as I am ) pleased to know that Leigh's comments reach back to the racecourses....
Sad to read the news that Rachael Heyhoe Flint had died.. Rachael was one of the pioneers of womans sport in the UK. Dual capped at Hockey and played for the England women's Cricket team for 18 years, captaining it for 12 of them.
Rachael helped organise the 1st women's Cricket World Cup, two years before the men's version.
She was Vice President of Wolves for years, tireless charity worker and very funny speaker.
Someone asked her in an interview if women cricketers wore a " box ", she replied " Yes, we call them man-hole covers "....
Talking Cricket.. That was one hell of a ODI in India yesterday. India win the series.
19th January 2017
Minus 1 and dry when driving in.
Todays Racing Post headlines.. ‘Riders suffer wishes of death and broken legs in web abuse.’.
Tom Scudamore describes them as 'faceless keyboard warriors'.. I would describe them as 'cowardly spineless little shits'..
Jockeys and especially the younger ones take all these 'faceless warriors' to heart and it is not difficult to understand why as they have been brought up with a mobile in their hands and all that it brings.. Twitter, Facebook etc.
We all get these calls and messages .. The problem is that money talks and it is now all too easy to get hold of everybody’s mobile number.. Mine is on this site and most jockeys are in the 'horses in training' book.. yes sometimes we too need a jockeys mobile number.. for different reasons of course.
How often have you read on here how somebody has emailed abuse after a horse has been beaten.
I get them, as do most trainers. It is usually only sados who have lost money and want to take their frustration out on you.
Last season when Abbbreviate was narrowly beaten at odds on at Leicester I received at least 16 calls from an irate punter.. always on a withheld number.. I shared my phone around the owners and trainers bar for other trainers, including Alan King, to listen to the abuse..
Finally I lost my cool (you should never) and the next time the phone rang (on a withheld number) I told them firmly what they could do with themselves.. This time I had to take a sharp intake of breath and apologise as it was one of my owners ringing from his office….and no he was not the original caller!
There is no way of stopping these sad people, but I always try and talk to them, and believe it or not if they actually listen they usually apologise.. I can list many emails here and give you their email address’s .. I have replied to all, but usually I never receive the courteously of a reply…
Yes this is modern life at its worse.. Having said that when I worked for Fred Rimell all those years ago he used to receive letters saying the same .. so nothing has changed bar the form of delivery.
To take this one stage further I have even had abuse over my blog jokes; one has even merited a visit from two policemen from Derby..they arrived here in my office at 10 on a Sunday morning to caution me and insist the joke, or as they said, no joke, was removed..
Lets hope I dont have to fend off more tricky calls or emails after todays runners.. Yes we have two at Ludlow and for my thoughts on their respective chances please click here.
Please before you take offence.. this joke was sent over by Tom Lacey..He has broad shoulders..
Paddy says to Mick,''I found this pen.. is it yours?''
Mick Replies.. ''Don't know, give it here.
He then tries it and says ''Yes it is''
Paddy asks..''How do you know?''
Mick replies,''Thats my handwriting''
You have to love the Irish..and the Welsh and the Scots.. They all have great sense of humours..Important in life..
18th January 2017
Plus 2 and dry when driving in.
David Bass was in this morning for a couple of lots
Good news from our weekly vet visit.. all the recent trachea washes have been clean so horses feeling better.
We worked a few more this morning.....Red Spinner, Minella Warrior, Aunty Ann, Champagne To Go, Diva Reconce, Billy Elliott, Boy In A Bentley, Harry Topper, Cascaye, Mon Palois, The Drinkymeister, Texas Forever, Call Claude, Beyond Supremacy, The Vinnie Roe and the Midnight Legend Geldings and The Passing Glance Filly and Bandon Roc.
We jumped Aunty Ann, Cascaye, Jupiters Gift, Gallery Exhibition, Minella Warrior and Vital Evidence...A video of second lot and schooling can be seen here
John and Seve Benson were here second lot to see John KBRP horses Our Belle Amie, Chateau Robin, and Silver Kayf.
Third lot Fenella Tillier (birthday today,.. Happy Birthday) and Richard Stewart-Liberty (birthday yesterday) were here to see Fenella’s KBRP horses Desaray and Kayf Storm
Simon Sherwood who was associated, along with Colin Brown and Richard Dunwoody with the great Desert Orchid was here yesterday afternoon erecting yet another one of his field shelters. Premier Shelters are pretty good, robust and certainly do their job well.
We have no runners today..
Now we know what Brexit means here are some further thoughts for the day..
I think my neighbour is stalking me as she's been googling my name on her computer. I saw it through my telescope last night.
Strong people don't put others down. They lift them up and slam them on the ground for maximum damage.
I hate it when I am about to hug someone really sexy and my face hits the mirror.
Money talks...but all mine ever says is good-bye.
You're not fat, you're just easier to see.
If you think nobody cares whether you're alive, try missing a couple of payments
17th January 2017
Plus 3 and dry when driving in.
Dry it was not yesterday. It rained all day, even enough for our local golf course Royal Shipton to close due to flooded fairways and waterlogged greens.
Tom Bellamy was in for a couple of lots.
Mark and Melinda Laws were here third lot to see their two horses Battle Dust and Ben Arthur and their KBRP horse Knockanrawley; also here was Elisabeth Parker-Jervis who came along to see her horse Gallery Exhibition.
Graham Potts our vet was in to scope a few.
This weeks movers and shakers in the weekly BHA handicap charts are.. Knockanrawley down 3 to 133 while Braw Angus enters at a staggering 100..the handicapper has used his slide rule again...
Younevercall and Laval Noir returned to the yard after time out.
The invitations arrived yesterday for this years Grand National weights party.
We have been to some interesting venues over the years for the Grand National weights lunch and now the format has changed to an evening venue.. I am sure as always it will be a huge success..
The entries for this years running of the Randox Health Grand National close on January 31..
It is going to be a day of thoughts and yes by the end of it we should know what Brexit means
Here are a few further thoughts for you.
America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won't cross the street to vote.
A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.
Relationships are a lot like algebra. Have you ever looked at your X and wondered Y?
You know that tingly little feeling you get when you like someone? That's your common sense leaving your body.
Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?
My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We'll see about that.
16th January 2017
Plus 8 and raining when driving in.
We look like having a very wet day while a week ago they were forecasting doom and gloom on the weather front. Lock down weather of frost and snow… really where is winter.
Winter makes for grey days and on Saturday our grey Knockanrawley not only won best turned out but ran a blinder to finish 5th (beaten in photo for 4th) in the Warwick National. His first run for over a year and he and his happy team of KBRP owners thoroughly enjoyed their day out. The Eider Chase looks the obvious target now..
No racing yesterday meant a weekend at home with Clare’s brother Michael and his wife Podge staying.
Michael is not the shy retiring type and somehow he managed to crack one of my ribs late on Saturday night.. The mind boggles but it made changing Clare's puncture a difficult one yesterday morning (yes Peter you were right, pot holes don't do tyres any good!).
Lunch yesterday we added Freddie and Amelia Elwes and Richard and Georgie Barrow to the team. A fun day.
Monday morning and fresh horses.. good to see.
Sad to read that Padge Berry had died last week. I used to buy horses of Padge many years ago. A great man.. and a fine judge
We have no runners today.
Here are some thoughts for a Monday..
Just read that 4,153,237 people got married last year.....not to cause any trouble, but shouldn't that be an even number?
Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.
I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive.
I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom until they are flashing behind you.
When wearing a bikini, women reveal 90 % of their body... men are so polite they only look at the covered parts.
To finish.. Happy birthday to Norman Williamson.. 48..today..
14th January 2017
0 degrees and dry when driving in.
I have to say the pleasure of watching Lucy Verasamy waving here arms at me while in bed might be enjoyable but this weeks weather forecast has been wrong again.
At the beggining of the week we were warned that we were in for the coldest snap of weather for some years, but frankly it has been most leading.
David Bass and Tom Bellamy were in this morning as was amateur rider Will Ramsey. Will is staying here for the weekend.
We worked Gallery Exhibition, Harry Topper, Boy In A Bentley, Texas Forever, Vital Evidence, Call Claude, Cascaye, Minella Warrior, Thedrinkymeister, Our Belle Amie, Aliandy, Aunty Ann, Mon Palois, Beyond Supremacy, Diva Reconce, Bily Elliott, Bandon Roc and Champagne to Go.. all the rest cantered.
Second lot we were joined by Paul Gold and Matthew Fenton, Safron and Colin Ball, Paul and Joe Mulford and Paul and Kenneth Cox for a 'Morning On The Gallops followed by breakfast' as booked through CD Tours
Steve, Gabriela and Thomas Winter were here third lot to see to see Derrintogher Bliss and Steve's KBRP horses Younevercall and Silver Kayf
We have one runner this weekend and that is Knockanrawley at Warwick today. For my thoughts on his chances please click here.
Gerald Delamere on page 27 of todays Racing Post mentions KAR by saying that ''the dry auntumn was presumably the reason he didn't run in the Welsh National''... KAR was balloted out otherwise he would have..
Watch ITV4 today for racing and this mornings programme has the Jockey Club discussing Kempton.. should be interesting..
This weekends joke comes from Jeff Cole..
A woman answered her door to a vacuum cleaner salesman, 'Hello Madam can I interest you in our latest powerful cleaner?'
'I'm sorry she replied, I am having a hard time and have no money', persistently he carried on, 'but Madam this is an opportunity not to be missed, look, I will demonstrate',
The salesman produced a bag of horse droppings and threw them on the floor, ' Madam, watch, If my cleaner does not remove all traces of this mess I will eat it myself'.
The woman turns away, 'Madam, where are you going'? 'To the kitchen to get you a spoon, my electric was cut off yesterday'.
Have a good one and see you on Monday.
13th January 2017
0 degrees and dry when driving in. We do though we have a dusting of snow on the higher ground..
The good news is that we have not had anything like enough snow to stop us using our all weather gallop. Snow when it arrives in any depth is not good news for all weather gallops.. we can take water, frost but not inches of the white stuff.
Another good one gone.. This time it is Brian Fletcher. Brian was only 69 when he died yesterday.
I never met him although I saw all three of his Grand National wins. Red Alligator in 1968 and then of course the two famous wins on Red Rum in 1973/74. Brian was that unassuming type who let his wins do the talking. A gentleman of our sport.
Football also lost a good man yesterday. Graham Taylor passed away aged 72..
The furore of Kempton carries on and owners, trainers and jockeys are all having their say. Alan King calls for Ascot to come to the rescue for the King George.. That is the best idea so far.
These mares races have really taken off.. Todays race at Huntingdon which Shaluna runs in is only a mares maiden but it has some really decent types running in it..
An Australian man was having a coffee and croissants with butter and jam in a cafe when an American tourist, chewing gum, sat down next to him.
The Australian politely ignored the American, who, nevertheless started up a conversation.
The American snapped his gum and said, 'You Australian folk eat the whole bread?'
The Australian frowned, annoyed with being bothered during his breakfast, and replied, 'of course.'
The American blew a huge bubble. 'We don't. In the States, we only eat what's inside. The crusts we collect in a container, recycle them, transform them into croissants and sell them to Australia .'
The American had a smirk on his face. The Australian listened in silence.
The American persisted, 'D'ya eat jam with your bread?'
Sighing, the Australian replied, 'of course.'
Cracking his gum between his teeth, the American said, 'we don't. In the States, we eat fresh fruit for breakfast, then we put all the peels, seeds and the leftovers in containers, recycle them, transform them into jam and sell it to Australia ..
The Australian then asked, 'Do you have sex in the States?'
The American smiled and said 'Why of course we do.'
The Australian leaned closer to him and asked, 'And what do you do with the condoms once you've used them?'
'We throw them away, of course!'
Now it was the Australian’s turn to smile.
'We don't. In Australia, we put them in a container, recycle them, melt them down into chewing gum and sell them to the United States. Why do you think it's called Wrigley's?'?
12th January 2017
Plus 4 and dry when driving in. The weather forecast suggests it will not be later.. wet wet wet.. rain or snow?
Diva Reconce and Billy Elliott had an away day this morning. I like to take youngsters away to Lambourn when they are ready. It gets them into the horsebox and see a different gallop, different views and surroundings. All part of growing up. In Ireland you can use racecourses for schooling and working..
James Stevens, who is a freelance journalist and also a student at the University of Gloucestershire was here second lot to interview me about our Aintree hope The Last Samurai and what happens between now and Aintree..
Archie headed back to school late morning and last night we had a quiet family supper in Kibousushi to finish the Christmas holidays.. Archie’s choice of restaurant... His favourite..
Kevin and Dermot Clancy in good form yesterday.. Their new horse has passed the vet....
Another Cheltenham Gold Cup winner out of this years renewal. Don Cossack, last years winner has been retired. Conneygree was declared a non runner only two days ago so that means the last two winners have failed to make it back.. sad for the race. Thistlecrack will be odds on if this continues..
Future Gold Cup winners could be on show at the Cocklebarrow Races on Sunday January 22nd....Plan you day and come to one of the best local and probably the most popular local Point to Point meetings .. Cocklebarrow Races...Rather a disappointing web site? They are also on Twitter And Facebook
We have no runners today.
The story below has nothing to do with me....
The boss walked into the office one morning not knowing his zipper was down and his fly area wide open.
His PA walked up to him and said, 'This morning when you left your house, did you close your garage door?'
The boss told her he knew he'd closed the garage door, and walked into his office, puzzled by the question.
As he finished his paperwork, he suddenly noticed his fly was open, and zipped it up. He then understood his assistant's question about his 'garage door'.
He headed out for a cup of coffee and paused by her desk to ask, 'When my garage door was open, did you see my Jaguar parked in there?'
She smiled and said, 'No, I didn't. All I saw was an old minivan with two flat tires...
11th January 2017
Plus 10 and dry when driving in. Too warm for the time of year.. no wonder so many have colds..
Shock news to say the least...Kempton being sold off and therefore no more racing at Kempton from 2021.
This weeks racing headlines have read. ITV racing figures down…Kempton to be bulldozed..
Polarised views and most have been damning. The shock waves have bounced around the country.
Two of my owners emailed in horror..
''Bloody disgraceful and to think that people thought that Arena/ARC were a bunch of money grabbing property developers.
Believing that Sandown is somehow interchangeable with Kempton makes me wonder if Jockey Club Estates have ever watched any jumping. Kempton is right handed and there the similarity ends. It is a fast track that suits a speed horse that tends to produce good ground all winter [except in exceptional years] because it is on free draining gravels.
There are less right handed tracks than left so any loss of one is regrettable. Sandown is far more akin to a Cheltenham type of track with its stiff uphill finish, fences that find out any jumping weaknesses and because it's on clay quite often produces heavy ground.
Once they increase the number of fixtures to take some of Kempton's races the ground will worsen particularly where it shares the flat course (the new Leicester?). Access to Kempton is also better,(I concede getting out is horrendous on a Friday) whereas Sandown involves more of the M25 for most NH yards and the long route in via Esher High St.
All of this to build an all weather track at Newmarket that no one will go to any more than they go to most Newmarket meetings now. It will simply lose even more than Newmarket allegedly does already.
All of this from the people who spent millions only a few years ago to turn Kempton into an all weather venue "to make it London's race track". Now they're lucky if there are 400 people there on any night. Why should anyone trust or believe them with regard to Newmarket. The tracks don't need to be built where the horses are but where the spectators will go.
If you ask the casual racegoer to name a top all weather horse they would struggle, mention the King George and they will name Kauto Star, Desert Orchid and if of a certain age Wayward Lad.
How can this be good for racing?''
Paul Sims said..''Kempton Park to be bulldozed. Bloody disgusting. One of the 3 most iconic racetracks in this country in my opinion with aintree and Cheltenham...Can't take it in''
Lets take this weeks headlines....look at the positives.
ITV racing is good for racing and their new Opening Show headed by Oli Bell was brilliant. Please stop harking back.. Channel 4 has gone and now we have ITV.. Forget the past and lets support and get on with it and prove ITV were right to support our great sport.. The King is Dead.. Long Live the King..
Racing will benefit hugely from the sale of Kempton. Lets face it if you owned that land and could make that sort of money would you sell it... of course you would.. would you put it all back into racing? Most would not BUT the Jockey Club are going to and that has to be very positive news for racing and its future.
Yes of course it will be sad to loose such a great racecourse and its history but others have gone and others probably will.... Houses make money.. and we need to see some of it. So for once the Jockey Club are right..
The only down side of the whole deal as far as I can see is the thought of another all weather racetrack and this time at Newmarket.. You also have to be worried about the over use of Sandown...
If you train in Lambourn, Marlborough (TNDGB) or the West Country you have the options of Wolverhampton, Lingfield or Southwell… all are a long way from those bases.
Newbury should put in an all weather in beside their grass racing so that geographically you have all corners of the racing industry covered..Unfortunately for The Jockey Club they do not own Newbury or any racecourse in that part of the country…
Wincanton or Exeter are their nearest and neither would make for suitable all weather racecourses....
Do we actually need another all weather racecourse?
Click here for a brief history of Kempton
Nick Cook (January owner of the Month) was here last night to see his horse Younevercall and join Mat and Myself around evening stables. Nick then headed to watch a big game of football in Cheltenham with Mat..
David Bass in this morning.. A few worked..
The Clancy Brothers.. Kevin and Dermot are meeting me later to discuss my recent visit to Ireland….
We have no runners today. BUT Jack Jones my pupil assistant rides in the 3.10 at Taunton.. My office will be rammed to watch the ATR coverage.... Good luck Jack..
Jeff Cole sent this one over..
Two Scots, two Irish, two Welsh and two Englishmen were shipwrecked on a desert island. After a couple of weeks the Scots had set up a distillery, the Welsh guys had formed a choir, the Irish boys hadn't stopped fighting, alas the two English gentleman were still waiting to be formally introduced.
10th January 2017
Plus 6 and dry when driving in.
I have to say looking at the weather in parts of Europe only worries me…That looks bloody cold.
Knockanrawley and Un Ace worked this morning. David Bass and Tom Bellamy helped out.
Mary Dulverton and her mother Bridget Houldsworth were here third lot to see Mary's horse Call Claude. A belated birthday present for her horse?
Great sadness as Coneygree, the one horse probably capable of rustling up the front running Thistlecrack’s feathers has a problem so will not be entered in this year Cheltenham Gold Cup. Coneygree was the last novice chaser to win that celebrated trophy.
This weeks movers and shakers in the BHA Handicap charts are......Jimmy The Jetplane comes down 2 to 137, Trojan Star down 1 to 107, Grand March enters with a hurdle mark of 97, Knockanrawley enters over fences at 136 and finally Ben Arthur has been given a rather high rating of 99 over hurdles..
Graham Potts our vet was in as usual. Less for him to do today.
Plenty of comments about one of yesterday pictures including this one......You should remove your new screensaver with immediate effect, otherwise it will cause your screen to tilt severely to the left and it is worse than any virus...
Ben Hanbury.. The retired Newmarket trainer.. Not seen him for a while and enjoyed spending time with him yesterday.. An ever youthful chap..
We have no runners today.
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine theory...
A professor stood before his philosophy class with some items on his desk in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full.. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.
He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "YES."
The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.. The sand is everything else; the small stuff.
If you put the sand into the jar first", he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the good things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18 holes. Do one more run down the ski slope.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter...Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.
The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."