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11th February 2023

Plus 6 when driving in this morning...

We have four runners over the weekend. Today Does He Know runs in the Denman Chase at Newbury and Sayadam runs at Uttoxeter.  Tomorrow El Rio and Espoir De Romay run at Exeter. To read our thoughts about please click here.

Leigh Pollard's blog today...

There has been a lot of discussion about rehoming racehorses recently as quite a few horses have been retired this season, and it is interesting to think how things have changed in recent years. With the cost of everything being so much higher now and it becoming increasingly hard to find stabling anywhere, the days of being able to take home your favourite racehorse and being able to keep it as a pet are disappearing. There have been several people that would have happily given their most loved horses an excellent retirement but in all cases it has proved impractical and financially impossible. 

At Kim Bailey Racing most horses are rehomed for free, with a non racing agreement and a contract that states that if the new owner has any problems they can return the horse but it cannot be sold on. This is good as it means Mrs Bailey and the owners can keep tabs on the horse, follow it’s new journey and ensure it is being well cared for. However, I feel this is now putting people off in some cases as it is difficult for them to commit to a horse for the long term. The new trend is to buy a racehorse for relatively cheap, put 6 months to a year of hard work into it and then resell for a profit. There is nothing wrong with this and in some cases it is an excellent way to make money, as young horses who have been retired after only one or 2 runs are easy to retrain and can excel in any sphere. However it becomes more difficult to find homes for the older horses who are more set in their ways and know nothing except the racing life. These horses need much more time and patience and they may not be able to progress that much. I have that experience myself as I have owned The Drinkymeister, (who is 14) for 2 1/2 years. He was my favourite horse in training and I had low expectations for him but there have been times when I have wondered if I was getting anywhere! He has an inexperienced brain in an old body and it is hard work sometimes but he tries hard and can be very rewarding. I am lucky enough that I can keep him and enjoy him without any pressure but that is not always the case. 

Retraining racehorses can be very rewarding and it is nice to see that more people are realising this. They are very intelligent and enjoy doing different activities to keep their brain’s busy. My sister has had her ex-racehorse Snowmane for 8 years and he has gone from a nervous 4 year old to a confident eventer who is working his way up the levels. 

Back to racehorses still in training; I am looking forward to a good day out at Newbury today with Does He Know, hoping he can redeem himself after his last visit there! With a little help from the stewards we have found a pre-race routine that suits him and allows him to be at his best in a race so hoping for a good result!