Baileys Blog

28th March 2020

It was plus 2 and dry this morning.

Jockeys..David Bass, Ciaran Gething and Chester Williams were in this morning and we worked many

Second lot we hosted 10 people here for ''A morning on the gallops followed by breakfast'' as booked through either my web site or CD Tours..

Dream on..

The truth is that we worked a few of the youngsters while David, Ciaran and Chester remained at home.. No non in situ staff or jockeys were allowed in..including the hostel cleaners!

Saturday without racing.. not a good one, but one we will have to get used to it.

At least the programme book has been updated with races in May and beyond...

Yestersday I updated, with Maddies help, a few horses in training photos..

When I got home last night, I was based as usual for 45 minutes on my static bike..

Biking while watching TV..I did not watch the news as frankly that is so depressing.. Dads Army was my viewing last night when John Stanley rang to ask how we all were.

Then with five minutes to go and just under 2 miles from my destination, Cherry Jones rang to ask how her horses Inca Rose and Rose To Fame were..

We chatted, although I might have been slightly short of breath..I just hope Cherry did not get the wrong impression as to what I was doing??

The ever brilliant Mat, who surely will have to shave off his rough bit of stubble now that they say facial hair might spread the virus .. or hold onto it..

Anyway Mat has set a load of football questions for the weekend..

Of course I would not know one answer, but apparently he knows them all..

Please guess, and the person who emails me the correct answer will win 'a morning on the gallops and breakfast for two'.. Maddie will be cooking.. she might like that..The prize is for when we start doing them email address is

Here are Mats questions...Can you name all the footballers?

Something for squad isolation !

1) πŸš€πŸŽ…πŸš’
2) 🐀🚍per🚣
3) Sh🍷sπŸ…
4) 🚭urdπŸ‘¦
5) πŸš—πŸ…°οΈπŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ
6) β˜β™πŸ…°οΈ©οΈπŸ…°οΈLπŸ“§LπŸ“§
7) β“‚πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘­πŸ†—πŸ…ΎοΈ
8) 😎 πŸ…ΏοΈ@ 🍚
9) πŸš½πŸš—modπŸ’°πŸ’°πŸ’°πŸ’°πŸ’°
10) πŸ‹πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ†”πŸŽ€πŸ—½
11) ☁EOπŸ•πŸš£
12) πŸ’πŸ…ΎοΈ βš½πŸ…ΎοΈπŸ“Ί
13) βœ…πŸ“žπŸš¬πŸœ
14) πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺβœ’πŸœ
15) UπŸ‘€βœ…πŸ“ž_____🐜
16) πŸš£πŸ’… πŸ› πŸŽ…
17) πŸ₯πŸ”‘ πŸ”«πŸΊπŸ…°οΈN
18) β›½1000kg πŸπŸ‘‚πŸ’€
19) AπŸƒπŸπŸŒŠ
20) πŸŒ…πŸ“ΌπŸš½πŸ’€
21) πŸ“ΉπŸ”›πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺΩ
23) πŸ‘©πŸ‘¨πŸ‘©πŸŽ’er πŸ‘Ά
24) πŸ‘ΌDπŸ’πŸ‘©
26) πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ΄πŸ’ͺπŸπŸ“πŸ…°οΈ

To finish..A very happy birthday to a very special lady in Katie Hanks..Katie was Archie's nanny for a while and she has remained a huge friend.. Not a good time to have birthday, especially while isolated on your own.. Try Katie to have a good day..

Rosie Vestey sent me this weekends nasty no virus video.. amusing, and when you have laughed and watched it, you need to watch this one as well..

Try and have a good weekend.. no pubs or parties.. and no Mr Frisk Grand National 30th reunion  ..See you on Monday..

27th March 2020

Minus 1 and dry this morning.

Another day with no visitors.. Boring..

I always enjoy showing people around the yard; I love this place and at the moment it is looking so beautiful… mind you it always does..

It does though feel strange not seeing my KBRP manager Peter Kerr’s head poking round the door.

Those of you who have been to Thorndale with know that we are part of the Vestey Farming operation and the barns below my yard are full of just over a 1100 ewes who are currently lambing…

It is a very busy time of the year at Thorndale and there seems to be lambs everywhere; and the noise is one of bleating and baaa baaring!

The Thorndale Farm shepherd Gordon Fairbairn and his right hand man Pat Barrett have added a few extra hands to help.It is a 24 hour job lambing and his team are hugely efficient.

I have nothing but admiration for what they do, and I and my staff try as much as possible to keep out of their way.

Ewes and their lambs are penned for few days after arriving in this frightening world before they then head out into the fields, and what a stunning sight they are..

It is a wonderful times of year… New life and hard to believe that we are in this ghastly epidemic..Life goes on until it is stopped .. which I sincerely hope it is not.

Moving on..I cannot thank you for the messages of support and the jokes.. well they are overwhelming..

This was sent to me by two Fetherston’s.. Dilke and Godley..


Due to the current financial situation caused by the Corona Virus and slowdown in the economy, the Government has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early, mandatory retirement, thus creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to the Government to be considered for the SHAFT program (Special Help After Forced Termination).

Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (System Covering Retired-Early Workers).

A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as the Government deems appropriate.

Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependents & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by the Government.

Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible. The Government has always prided themselves on the amount of SHIT they give our citizens.

Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your TD, who has been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.


The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L.)

PS - Due to Corona Virus, recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil, as well as current market conditions, The Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.

Happy birthday to Mikey Hamill..We miss you Mikey!!!

Todays non virus subject nasty video was sent over by Christopher Marriott... I might ask Leo for a genuine interpretation before he goes home on Sunday..

26th March 2020

Minus 2 and dry this morning.

Thursday is our easy day..So much so that I almost feel that I have retired.. Mat, stop smiling!!

We have roughed a fair few of the horses off. All the winter horses are now down to no rugs during the day and one on at night while we are having these cold nights.

Explain roughed off please I hear you ask..

Well.. All my horses live with 3 rugs and a duvet on their backs during the winter to keep them warm and snug, but when we turn horses out for their summer grass you just cannot just take all their rugs off and say 'right mate off you go you will soon get used to it'….

It is a bit like asking you to strip naked right now and you too will get used to the cold nights.. so we break you/them in gently..

There is no rush.. we love our horses and cherish them; frankly I don’t enjoy seeing horses huddled in the corner of a field in the pouring rain unless they have become hardened to it..

One of the things that really is important when roughing horses off is to stop brushing the life out of them .. they need the dust and natural body oil to build up in their coats..

Again the human similarity is  a bit like you not washing or shampooing your hair..

We have about 25 horses still on the go i.e. in full training in the hope that they can run in May, if and when they decide that racing will start again…. Hopefully the BHA will make an early call on this..

Social distancing in the yard. My staff who live on site are now the only ones working in the yard.

Rider outers and jockeys are now not allowed in.. So poor David Bass is waiting for some help from the government.. Today he should know more..

Sadly you forget that jockeys are mostly self employed and now without rides they have no livelihood.. bloody tough. Many go back to their parents to help out in their businesses. 

Jockeys Chester Williams has gone home to help his parents, while Ciaran Gething has gone back to Ireland to help his father..

The Racing Post paper edition will cease to appear after today..

This was sent over by several people but the last person to send it over was Michael Blake..

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent virus threat and have therefore raised their threat level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, level may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”

The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

The virus has been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A damned Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Damned Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let's Get the swine.” They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its alert level from “No worries” to “She'll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

The Russians have said “Its not us”

Pleased to say that both of my mates have had their ops and both are doing well... Fingers crossed for a very speedy recovery.

To finish.. Happy birthday to Kate Paddock.. Kate adores her horses and currently looks after Charbel, Prince Llywelyn and Hollymount Holly

I thought I would end today with a non virus joke.. Todays video nasty..

25th March 2020

Minus 1 and dry first thing this morning.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year, so far.. Heat apparently kills the virus? I think not, judging by the countries worst affected.

I am going to try and do my blog today without a mentioned of the word Virus again… Trainers hate that word anyway….

This country is now on lock down due to COVID-19 (didn’t take long) and although Mat walks to the yard, I still drive..The fact that Mat (my assistant) lives far closer to Thorndale than I do, is my excuse.

Mat is still waiting for his newly ordered mountain bike to arrive which will apparently help his exercise routine..

My exercise remains on my static bike at home..normally I do 45 minutes a day (about 10 miles) but now I have doubled it by doing two sessions..I think that is called pent up frustration?

I don’t trust the roads, and especially the pot holes as they become magnetic.. But the good news is that I pedal with a TV in full view in our spare least I can find something suitable to amuse me for the duration…. while sweating of course.

Yesterday afternoon I rather guiltily broke the Governments new laws by driving to the far side of Banbury to meet up with Sandie, ( my accounts secretary) who was working from home..There was a perfectly good reason, and that was.. cash..

Before you misjudge me, let me explain..My longest serving member of staff is still paid in cash...

Working on the theory that we are going to be in a lockdown situation for quiet a while longer, and knowing that neither Sandie or will I would be able to, or want to go into a town to go to a bank. I felt it prudent that the cash Sandie withdrew last week needed collecting before too late.. 10 weeks of wages.. It had to be done..

What surprised me most on my journey to and fro was the beauty of our countryside.. so normal..

Farmers sowing their crops and all the things that normally happen in the countryside.. Sadly I normally fail to notice as my right foot is usually hard down on the pedal, as I am always late to the races.

The journey yesterday passed by relaxed and peacefully..and under the speed limit..

I even thought about calling in on my largest owner (numerically) as I passed the sign for the village of Sidford Ferriss..

Sadly I felt that neither John Perriss or I were really ready to sit outside throwing bottles of wine at each other while keeping the 2 meter rules of self distancing..

Instead I called in on Maddie (my PA), who was also working from home in Naunton, to pick up a large package of sanitiser hand wash for my staff.

Yes that was yesterday..

Today is a new day and as yet I have no idea what is in store for me…

Normally David Bass would be in this morning, being Wednesday, and we would be working horses with Peter Kerr videoing..

2 weeks ago today none of us felt that well, bar David Bass who apparently does not drink.. Imperial Aura’s celebrations were held in The Royal Oak the night before.. Feels like 2 years ago, not 2 weeks..

Time moves on..

I would like to wish two of my closest mates well after their cancer ops .. One yesterday and one today..One in Oxford and one in London... Be positive and stay well my friends..

Important to look to the future in these uncertain times..Vinndication..

To finish.. Flat racing in Ireland has predictably finished.. And at the moment Racing TV are offering to help on you prescription.. Not sure that makes sense but this will

24th March 2020

It was plus 1 and dry this morning.

Terribly hard to imagine that the world is falling apart when the sun is shining. But it is..falling apart and shining!

Boris is now in charge of our lives.. We are in total lock down..

IMPORTANT.. Have you lost your sense of smell and taste.. If so please click here..

Yesterday my MCC Members little red book arrived in the post.. Most years it is a joy to open the brown envelope as it heralds the start of summer. 

Bat on ball or leather on willow. What better way to spend a summers day than watching cricket at Lord’s. Sadly my little red book is now in my bottom draw and that is probably where it will stay for a while..And I am not putting it on Ebay!

So many things on hold and so many lives too..Who knows when we will start moving again and we have not even hit the peak of this dreaded virus or anywhere near it yet. That is if we take Italy as our example.

More sad news is that the world renowned Animal Health Trust is about to implode and pack up.

The Animal Health Trust was undoubtedly one of the finest veterinary institutions in the world.. It is where we sent all our difficult cases and usually they found an answer.

Sadly they have been losing money for some time and probably last years Equine Flu probably kept them afloat for longer than expected.

Now with Coronavirus (COVID-19) the hammer has hit the nail that holds down the coffin. 75 years of work and it is all over..

I fear this is a barometer of many business in racing.. How many trainers were struggling before this virus hit?

Sadly I fear many will not be here when racing resumes, although we might find that some trainers join forces with another and run under a racing banner like they do in Australia and other countries.

The Irish Flat racing season started at Naas yesterday.. without a bang. Frankly I am amazed that they even started.

Anyway I could not watch as my sky at home would not work.. too little broadband probably.. was it because Archie was working from home.. worth watching what school work means.

Tuesday, but no vet visit, although the weekly BHA handicap charts remind us that racing did actually take place over jumps in England last week.. This weeks mover and shaker was Pond Road who came down 1 to 94.. my last mover of the 2029/2020 season...

My Whatsapp messages have been pinging away.. No shortage of jokes and videos…Anyway thank you for them .. I will use when I feel appropriate..

Roger Hart must be bored as he has sent me this joke for todays publication..

The Pope, Donald Trump, Nicola Sturgeon, Boris Johnson and Greta Thunberg are the only passengers aboard a light plane taking them from a climate conference to the main airport when the pilot has a heart attack and dies.

None of them can fly the plane but Greta finds 4 parachutes in the rear of the plane.

The Pope immediately announces that his death would have catastrophic consequences for the Catholic Church, he grabs a parachute and jumps, Trump says his death could affect world peace and he has unfinished business with the Chinese ,he grabs a parachute and jumps.

Nicola Sturgeon announces she is the cleverest woman in Scotland and must be saved to lead the Scottish people in the fight for independence, she grabs a parachute & jumps.

Boris turns to Greta and says there is only one parachute and she should have it, she has many years ahead of her to fight climate change whilst he is much older and is tired of changing nappies.

Don’t worry says Greta there is a parachute each, the cleverest woman in Scotland took my school bag.

Lets keep smiling and please keep safe..

If you were paying for my racing insights please now stop.. Just think how much better off you will be!!

Yesterday I managed to wish one of my staff happy birthday a few days too soon.. I will try again.. Happy birthday to Lauren Hawkins..

Guy Rooker sent over this  suggestion for my how my staff should act in their Hostel

23rd March 2020

It was minus 1 first thing this morning.

Mothers Day has passed for another year. Clare was unable to see her Mum even though Cilla lives only 4 miles away, but at least Facetime helped.

It also helped when talking to son Harry in Sydney early yesterday morning. He too is worried.

No pub lunch and like all the effects were felt

Racing has carried on in Ireland behind closed doors and ITV4 were good; difficult to watch as frankly I was jealous that they were able to race when we cannot.. it was still a good programme to watch. Good viewing figures suggested that there were a great many bored folk like me wanting their racing fix.

Nick Luck carried the racing world again yesterday with his programme Luck On Sunday and with the help of Cornelius Lysaght it was an excellent 90 minute view.

My day was spent with Archie and Clare.. Yes the backgammon set was out and Archie thankfully still has not beaten me.. I do worry that if we keep playing for hours on end it will not be long before he does..Don’t for one second think I am competitive!

Monday morning and some bloody fresh horses to exercise..

Racing is a funny old game and I never quite know why people go into it.. Thankfully they do and as much as I love my sport it is an interesting world; it encompasses so many different people from so many different backgrounds..

So on that note I am showing you this letter which was sent by Wayne Butcher.. It is a very good read...

'To the team at Thorndale,

What a difference a week makes, from the glory of Cheltenham Festival success with Imperial Aura to a different world where joy must be sourced in simpler modes.

Given the changing picture, I have written this letter to hopefully bring some light to the team at Thornedale in what I recognise must be very difficult times.

Last week, you made a dream come true, not only for me, but for all involved with Aura and it was great to enjoy this with friends and family. For me this was the pinnacle to an interest in racing which I have had since childhood. I have been into racing since I could walk and talk, much to the confusion of many at school, for whom racing was a fascinating mystery.

After much begging, my Dad Steve took me to my first Cheltenham Festival in 1997 and witnessed Make A Stand make every post a winning one for the dominant duo of the time – Pipe and McCoy. And if you are thinking “what about school?”, I did have a dentist appointment that I didn’t quite make it to that day…

Secondary school continued and it felt like I had hit the jackpot when finally finding another person who was into racing – me and Scott have been best friends ever since for well over 20 years now and it was great to have him there for Aura’s success a few weeks back.

Following exams and University, owning a racehorse was my next big ambition. After some minor successes on the flat, I replied to an advert on Twitter for Imperial Racing in 2015.

30 minutes with Ian on the phone and I was sold... a small share in an even smaller horse Iora Glas. Iora Glas was a solid, loveable horse who you could set your watch by. 3m, good in the ground description and a mark in the low 120s, and he was incredibly reliable. This reliability yielded a success at the Cheltenham April meeting in 2017, though unfortunately due to work commitments I was not in attendance so whilst watching on my phone, I missed out on the Cheltenham walk back in which was a bit disappointing.

As Iora was just starting to reach his full potential (he came third at Aintree and won at Bangor after Cheltenham), he sadly injured himself at Perth. Paddy Brennan did a brilliant job in saving him that day and he now resides in Dorset with Fergal O’Brien’s sister.

From Iora to Aura, Imperial Aura.

I purchased my share in January 2017 and after a charm offensive, also convinced my neighbour Brian to take the splash too. Brian had never owned any racehorse and I remember the evening when I went around to sort the paperwork and money out, his wife Bernie clearly thinking “what’s this he’s getting involved in?!”.

The fact Imperial Aura didn’t run for a year probably meant poor Brian had to keep responding to the question “when’s this horse running?” but the time did eventually come in February 2018 at a bright but chilly Kempton. This was the first time I met Kim and I was particularly impressed at how Kim took time to come and speak to each one of us individually. A small thing but I really valued this. Aura ran a race full of promise finishing third, sandwiched between subsequent good horses such as Commanche Red, Beakstown and Getaway Trump.

We moved onto Ludlow and a win in a bumper, before going novice hurdling in 2018/19. We were all present for a debut hurdle win at Carlisle and a really enjoyable day. Unfortunately, sore shins meant we didn’t see Aura again until February 2019 at Newcastle but he once again delivered. Patience had been key to this horse and all involved realised this would deliver greater results in the longer term.

During this time, we met Matt, who happens to be a Forest fan (that’s 3 and counting in this letter with me and Dad also reds). Matt’s banter with Scott (who is a Derby fan) is particularly entertaining and I remember seeing Matt one day at Newbury with Lauren and Rocky’s Treasure.  Matt shouted to Scott “watch that step” as we walked from the parade ring to the stands and Scott chuckled, acknowledging the humour with a raised eyebrow.

Lauren, one of the loveliest and most humble people I think I have ever met, has been a constant in Aura’s journey. It’s heartwarming to see someone with a genuine love of horses being in the business and I particularly appreciate the time Lauren invests in Aura’s owners which we all take for granted given how busy everyone is at the yard. I can only imagine how rewarding Aura’s success has been this season.

Onto this season…Chepstow, Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle and by this time, the Aura bandwagon on twitter was moving through the gears and the horse’s following saw him made favourite. A great run to be third in a slightly odd race but we were all over the moon. A trip to Fakenham saw Aura get off the mark over fences and subsequently it has all been about Cheltenham.

A great run at the December meeting told us that given Aura’s aggressive style, 3m plus was not quite right at this stage and following the trials meeting, we learnt that we need to ensure that the final stages didn’t become a sprint (though who knew at the time the one to outsprint us would be the plate winner, Simply The Betts). In this time, I also had the pleasure to meet Kim’s wife and mother in law, again both delightful to be around and plain to see how much enjoyment they were getting out of our enjoyment!

Then onto the festival…I won’t lie I did have a bet at 25/1 to win any race, 33/1 when the racing post tipped us for the novice handicap and told a few people between January and March that we had a horse with a real chance if he brought his ‘A’ game to the table. However, anything can happen on the day and just to be there was a great achievement.

After meeting the rest of the syndicate before the previous race, we all went down to the pre-parade and parade ring. Aura looked fantastic, a testament to the hard work of all the stable and staff, a fine specimen trained to peak on the day. David then came out to see us, and as we shouted good luck to him as he jumped on board, this all became very real. I really did feel quite sick…

However after settling into a rhythm, I had no need to feel sick and rounding the final bend, David kicked for home and we all knew that it would take a very special horse to give Imperial Aura a 3 length head start with just two fences and the Cheltenham hill to climb. No horse was present in that race, and as Aura crossed the line, it’s fair to say we went nuts!

I haven’t mentioned Mr Bass much but again, a gentleman who is down to earth and gets on with the job in hand. For me, him and Aura have learnt things about each other in every race and that has contributed to the rapid progression throughout the season, culminating in Festival victory.

After the race, I ran up to him asking for a photograph and he obliged, very much the professional and seeing this as “just another day at the office”. From me David, you delivered and should be very proud.

So, as the end of this chapter of the story nears, we now have a new chapter which with the current circumstances, is unsettling and brings fear for many. However, the hope and joy that racing brings is something to hold onto and I can only wish that the team at Thorndale is able to see this as I wish them the best for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

A truly grateful owner..'

Talking owners.. This was sent over..and not for the young to look at. But imagine Sandra with the help of Phillip washing their hands...

To finish.. Happy 65th Birthday to my Lambourn mate Oliver Sherwood..Ollie and I are both Essex boys..

21st March 2020

Plus 2 and dry when driving in.

The birds were singing merrily when I opened my door.. They don’t hear or read our news!

We had the pleasure of jockeys David Bass and Ciaran Gething in this morning to helps do some more jumping or schooling.

David Bass, Chester Williams, Ciaran Gething and Lauren Hawkins did all the schooling

Chester headed home after the schooling session to his native Devon..West Country lad..

We will miss Chester's banter.. until next season...

It is a case of carrying on as normal, although most of those we schooled will be going out to grass.. when it grows, and when it is warmer.

It is hard to believe that just a week ago were savouring the end of a fabulous weeks racing at Cheltenham.

Many of us here were feeling knackered after a long week, whether it be from celebrating Imperial Aura’s great win or just exhausted from the tension and pressure the week brings with it.

I have replayed Imperial Aura's race so many times this week to remind me that it did happen and under normal circumstances we would be pushing the boat out looking for new horses and new owners to match them.. Not so now..

Amazing to think Dame Vera Lynn was 103 yesterday. Ask anybody here and they probably would not know who she is and what she did for this country.. But we need her type of fighting spirit again in these dark times..Well Meet Again

Talking dark times .. we had to laugh when the postman delivered Mat a brown package containing 4 loo rolls.. of course he might have the last laugh when we run out!

I would like to thank all of you who have written such lovely emails wishing us well and thanking us for what we have done with your horses. Lets hope we see you all soon.

I am sure many of us will be glued to the ITV4 this afternoon and probably Racing TV tomorrow to watch racing from Ireland

Thurles today and Downpatrick tomorrow.

This weekends Irish point to points which were going to go ahead are now not..

I know I promised a video of an owner hand washing, but it will have to wait until next week..

I am sure you have all seen this video clip before but with Mat ordering loo rolls on the internet he just might find this useful.. if only he had a dog!

Mothers day tomorow.. I hope Archie reads this!

I normally finish my Saturday blog by saying have a great weekend and see you on Monday.

Whatever, I will be here on Monday..

20th March 2020

Plus 4 and dry when driving in. Rather grey and bleak?

There are definitely less cars on the road when doing my short journey to work (3.5 miles) and the local garage, where I stop every day to buy the papers, seems to have one or two less things on its shelves.

Yesterday afternoon Clare and I drove to Malvern to pick up all Archie’s cloths and school work ..He has already been home a week with his leg injury.. Archie is rushing around on crutches..

The school was empty and it felt rather eerie walking round the classrooms picking up his work books.. Archie is now going to spend the last week of term having direct video link lessons, via my home computer..

What really hit me was passing the cricket ground .. It looked immaculate and ready for a game..

Sadly there will be no cricket to watch this summer.. something I just love .. watching my son play is one of the highlights of my summer..

No Lord’s either.. Spelt correctly for the benefit of Claude Duval.. are you still reading this Claude?

We exercised all the horses yesterday and today.

One horse went for a wind test.. an overland scope..We are trying to carry on as normal, that is until The BHA decide that racing is in a more permanent shut down or not.

It has not been a good 10 days for me in many respects..

Firstly ex jockey Charlie Poste who was commentating for the BBC last week announced I was a veteran trainer and over 70....

I rang him after to express my horror of suddenly being aged so quickly and reminded him that rude comments like that meant I would not be buying any more of his point to pointers!

Secondly Oliver Sherwood when quoted in in the Racing Post...

He stressed that horses still need to be fed and exercised, and there was no social distancing from his great pal and ‘former Lambourn pin-up boy Kim Bailey’, who sent workers from his HQ near Cheltenham to use the village's acclaimed facilities…

Sorry Oliver I thought you were a mate???

Thirdly was when Graham Clark rang yesterday afternoon to talk about my Cheltenham week.. I told him I was at my sons school.. he thought I was picking up my grandchildren..

Sandie Wilkinson my Account secretary who is now working from home spent a fair amount of time yesterday talking to my accountant  Ian Hewitt trying to sort through the new Government business help structures…

I did think after that, that the only people who will do well out of the blood virus are going to be accountants and divorce lawyers..

Dont get too excited as I will only be using one of these professionals..

Mobile phones.. what would we do without them..But..Weatherbys keep pinging text messages..

I am sure you are no different that when your phone pings to remind you that you have a text message you invariably turn you phone on and look to see who it is from..

Why do I need to receive 6 messages, all at different times telling me about race meetings being cancelled.. don’t we already know..

Yesterday I had one saying Wetherby on Friday was Abandoned! This was shortly followed by individual ones telling me that Uttoxeter, Chepstow, Bangor On Dee and Newbury had been abandoned and then after a while another one pinged through to inform me that Sundays meetings at Exeter had also been abandoned.. Come on Weatherbys you can do better than that..

Todays laugh.  mind you tomorrow I could possibly have a rather 'good video' of two of my owners demonstrating how to wash their hands.. Not sure as yet whether I am allowed to name..there is certainly no shame...

"Last night my Wife texted me to say she was in casualty, I went home and watched the entire programme but did not see her once. She is still not home and I am getting hungry"

19th March 2020

Plus 5 and raining when driving in.

Getting up at roughly 5.15 every morning is from now on going to take a very different meaning.

Driving to work to oversee horses that need to be kept safe, but more importantly to oversee how my staff are coping.

Many of my team live in my hostel which sleep 12 and like all student accommodation it is hard to keep clean.

We have industrial cleaners coming in twice a week to try and keep on top of the cleanliness of the hostel, but my staff really do have to try and help themselves by keeping it clean too. Washing hands and general cleanliness now becomes of paramount importance.

Yesterday I started trying to plan what we are going to do and with racing officially shut down until May, but one has to wonder.

Racing in Ireland has been allowed to carry on behind closed doors which gave way to the thought that we would have loads of runners at Punchestown, but you only had to read the second paragraph to see that runners from abroad were not going to be allowed.

As we all know the reason for racing to close was because medical staff did not feel that their attendance on a racecourse could be justified while this pandemic raged..

Thank you for all the kind messages of support and the general wish is that I should keep the blog going which of course I will..

It might be hard to think of topics to write about but providing I am healthy I will do my best.

Maddie is now working from home and thankfully we have a computer system that Maddie and Sandie and I can all work together without being in the same room, let alone in the same country..which by the way we are..

Sad to read that Reg Lomas has died.. a remarkable man and a brilliant groundsman. Alos a top bloke..

Yes today is Thursday and as you all know it is our easy day..All the horses are being ridden out as normal.

We have no runners today so need for my thoughts.. that should save a few pennies.

Archie ends school so Clare and I will be picking up his things. I don’t see him going back until September.. I am sure he like many kids of his age will be delighted with the thought, but he just might find life at home very different to what he is used to..No mates allowed and who knows, he might become a professional gardener!!

If I am going to keep the blog going please help with some useful and amusing jokes.. send them over..

Steve Winter sent these little know facts..

Apparently Greece is running out of hummus and taramasolata due to stock piling.
Economists are predicting a double dip recession.

Germany is now advising people to stock up on cheese and sausages. This is the Wurst Käse scenario

18th March 2020

Plus 11 and dry when driving in.

Well we finished the 2019/2020 season with a winner and a third from our runners yesterday at Wetherby.

Commodore Barry seems to like either winning, or losing, by the shortest of margins.

CB started the season by being chinned on the line at Ayr and then the same thing happened at Exeter, and in between his short head win yesterday he ran out or rather took the wrong course at Leicester and finished 4th at Newbury.. CB was our last winner of the season.

Pond Road looked like he was going to run well but again failed to finish his race while Party Fuzz ran a blinder in the bumper to finish 3rd and looks a fine 3 miles chaser in the making.

It really has been a very difficult season but obviously the highlight was last weeks winner at the Cheltenham Festival.

Imperial Aura was majestic when winning as was Vinndication for finishing 4th under top weight.. they are two very good horses and now deserve to be trading in the top races next season.. after their extended summer break.

The 2019/2020 season started with Mergeela winning possible the worst bumper ever run, at Wincanton.. But she won, many don’t.

Thibault then won at Huntingdon, Shantou Express won a bumper at Stratford in fine style, Yeavering Belle won two hurdle races and then Happygolucky, Wandrin Star won while I was in Sydney. God that seems an age ago..

I returned the day before Vinndication won at Ascot and then Those Tiger Feet started a purple patch with Espoir De Romay, Newtide, Shanacoole Prince, Imperial Aura, Hes No Trouble and Chazza all winning in November..

The weather become dire in December but that did not stop Two For Gold, who went on to win twice more, and First Flow, who went on to win another three times, loving the awful ground..

Perhaps the worst ground of all was when Hollymount Holly won at Hereford.

January was a quiet month with only Two For Gold and Espoir De Romay upholding the stable fortunes.

February saw Newtide, Lots Of Luck, Blazon, First Flow all win their races.

Then this month Lots Of Luck started us well at Taunton and then last week Imperial Aura, Rhosneigr and First Flow ..

This week The Edgar Wallace and Commodore Barry..32 winners later and coronavirus..

Huge thank you to all the team here.. I am blessed with good staff and their hard work has been well appreciated by all.

David Bass might be a vegan, but when riding our horses he showed such bravery.. Yes he along with Chester Williams and the sadly missed Ned Curtis have all done their part on the racecourse.

I cannot thank all my owners and supporters for all their help. Who knows where we will be when racing starts again, but I just hope you all be back here with me for when it does..

Last night Clare, Archie and I went to The Frogmill (busy) to celebrate Clare being partially allowed out of her neck brace.. not full functioning yet, but at least we can at last see her neck now..First time for 6 months!

Clare is allowed to take her brace off for a few hours a day..A start and further x-rays in 2 weeks..A huge thank you to John and Laura Garrett who kindly left a voucher for us to enjoy this moment..

We have very troubled times ahead and as Mat said I have been gloomy enough this week on my blog so on a positive note..

David Bass and Ciaran Gething were in this morning to jump some of the youngsters..

How many mothers will be feeling like this over then next few months..