7 Results Found For: September 2015

24th September 2015 (later)

And now for something completely different.

Today at Newmarket, between races, I went to buy a coffee from a stall. When she came to give me my coffee, the girl started to put a plastic lid on it and I said, ‘I don’t need a lid’, as I was taking it to a table a few feet away. ‘Sorry’, she said, ‘I have to put a lid on it. Health and safety’.

Who dreams up these rules? Probably the same sort of eejit that decides that the lid needs recycling.

What is the world coming to? I tried to drink it through the hole in the lid but burned my lips. I then spilled it over my fingers when trying to get the lid off. If someone from the Health and Safety executive had happened to walk by, I might have been tempted to throw it.

24th September 2015

Chelmsford made much of its proximity to Newmarket in its re-launch, and I could see the logic in that, but I can’t see the logic in them running on the same day as racing at ‘headquarters’ and I really can’t understand why they would put on a high-quality, £119,000 card on the same day as Newmarket runs an eight-race £686,000 card with three Group races and a 35 runner, £160,000, handicap.

‘Ah but’, you might say, ‘Chelmsford is evening racing’. It is, but its first race on Saturday starts 10 minutes after the last at Newmarket. And the first race today was 10 minutes before the last at Newmarket. They are close, but not that close. If there is method in their madness, maybe someone could enlighten me because I can’t see it.

I suppose it could have something to do with keeping punters in the betting shops that went there to watch, and bet on, the big races at HQ. If so, it is another reminder that those who compile the fixture list and the race programme have scant regard for the horse-population or the availability of jockeys to ride them.

15th September 2015

What on earth were they playing at at Carlisle? Why would you put water on Good-Firm ground (i.e. optimum flat racing ground as per BHA instructions) yesterday when rain was virtually guaranteed? They are now calling the ground Good-Soft.

It is so annoying when you have declared a horse in preference to other entries and taken it to Carlisle only to find that the ground has been altered deliberately. Nobody can complain about rain but it was just ridiculous to be putting water on that track.

I was there six days ago and it was described as Good-Firm (Good in places) but times, and our rider, suggested that it was softer than that. There was no sense in watering. I am fuming and have withdrawn my second runner.

As is our policy, Johnston Racing, will carry all the costs of taking Mustaqbal to Carlisle rather than pass them on to the owner. I wish Jockey Club Racecourses had to pay. Maybe then they would think twice before reaching for the hosepipe on a cloudy autumnal day.

10th September 2015

I think it is vitally important, for the future of the thoroughbred breed, that we encourage the breeding of quality middle distance horses and I applaud all initiatives that seek to promote middle-distance and staying races.

I do, however, have reservations about the BHA’s plan to stage 10 new, reasonably valuable (£10,000) maiden races, between seven furlongs and a mile and one furlong, for horses sired by a stallion which won at a mile and a quarter or more.

These are the same conditions as Ascot’s Listed Chesham Stakes in June and I cannot believe that this encourages people to breed or buy potential stayers. I try to target the Chesham every year because, to be blunt, the restriction makes the race less competitive than other Royal Ascot two-year-old races and, of course, the fact that it is run in June means that it is usually won by a juvenile which possesses more than average stamina. But these races are to be run at the tail end of the season.

When you consider that sons and daughters of the mighty Shamardal, whose progeny have an average winning distance of 8.1 furlongs, will be eligible for these races, but the progeny of Cape Cross, whose average winning distance is 9.1 furlongs, will not, you can see that the initiative is flawed. Worse still, the progeny of Dansili (9.4), Dubawi (9.5) and Teofilo (10.6) will not be eligible either.

If you want to encourage and promote juveniles with stamina, why not simply give them more opportunities to run in races which truly require stamina, i.e. over more than a mile? What is to be gained by providing an easier, and more valuable, opportunity for a horse to win over seven furlongs just because his sire won over ten furlongs even if that sire is proven not to be an influence for stamina.

Personally, I can’t see the logic and I fear that these races will be weaker and have smaller fields than average simply because less horses are eligible.

8th September 2015

Give credit where credit is due.

A press release from York:

“Press Release 7 September 2015

York Racecourse is delighted to announce an increase of £100,000 to prize money for its final meeting of the 2015 season on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October. All fourteen races over the two days will benefit, as the prize fund is boosted by over 25% from last year, to a record level of £416,000.

The feature race of the Saturday meeting is the now £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy, an ultra-competitive sprint handicap benefitting from a £25,000 boost to become the nineteenth race of the season to have a six figure purse. Also benefitting is the Listed Coral Rockingham Stakes for juveniles that will now offer £50,000, a race which uncovered the talents of impressive Coolmore Nunthorpe third placed horse, Mattmu.

Channel 4 cameras will be at the track on the Friday for the first time, to cover two races; including a new £50,000 feature handicap for three year old staying horses over a mile and three quarters supported by Stan James. This new race is intended to provide an autumn opportunity for the highly rated stayers who may well have competed in the Betfred Melrose Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

All fourteen races have received an increase in prize funds across the two days with no race offering less than £12,000 on the Friday and £15,000 on the Saturday.

Connections in October are the beneficiaries of the strong performance of the business across racing and non racing events, and from the support of racegoers, sponsors and partners, over the summer months. The track remains true to its mission of investing in prize money, fixed facilities such as the new Northern End Development and in the experience of going racing on the Knavesmire. These latest increases will take prize money at York in 2015 to a record level of £6.7m which is some 26% ahead of 2012.

York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe, “York is delighted that our continued commercial success has allowed us to keep investing in the prize money, facilities and experience of racing at York. Our aim across all seventeen days is to stage compelling, competitive race action. Our investment in prize money has already been rewarded with tremendous contests for our feature races over the summer months and our hope is that these further increases to October will be rewarded by a fitting finale to the season. Our continued thanks to our supporters and sponsors who help us to invest in racing at York.”


7th September 2015

So, Silvestre de Sousa is going to the USA to try and ply his trade there. I can’t blame him. It’s quite simple, the money is a lot better there and he has no retainer to tie him to the UK. It is apparently something that he has been considering for some time and probably relates to uncertainty about the support he was going to get in the UK as a freelance although, as it turns out, he is clear in the championship.

What bothers me is the timing. He is leaving straight after Champions Day, October 17th. That’s exactly what I predicted would happen if they moved the end of the championship.

If the championship ended on November 7th or thereabouts, as has been the case in recent years, would Silvestre be leaving before then? I’m sure the answer is no, despite his commanding lead. And, if it ended on 31st December, it is possible that he, and others, would ride in Britain right to the end of the year and that we would have less of a drain to sunnier and more lucrative climes.

As it happens, the next three jockeys in the championship table all have retainers from Dubai based owners so they will stay here as long as their employers dictate and will, presumably, leave for Dubai at some stage so the championship dates will only have limited affect on their movements. And the next two, Luke Morris and Jim Crowley, tend to remain in the UK anyway. But it is clear that the change in championship dates has resulted in the premature departure of our leading rider this year and that is exactly what I said would happen.

As I have said many times before, if you are going to make the championship meaningful and especially if you are going to put significant money behind it, you must structure it to drive the behaviour that you want. Surely, we don’t want our top riders to ride in Britain for less than six months of the year?
I wonder if Silvestre will come back. There must be a significant risk that he won’t although I understand that he is planning to start off in New York and I think he might find the winter conditions there to be far worse than he has ever encountered at Wolverhampton. What is almost certain is that, if he does come back, and they leave the jockeys championship as it stands, we are unlikely to see him again before the Guineas meeting in May.

6th September 2015

Just watched Prince Gibraltar trot up in the G1 Grosser Preis Von Baden. A second G1 win for the colt.

Two weeks ago I bought the yearling full brother in Deauville for One Hundred Thousand Euros. He is well through the breaking process and has no issues. What a bargain.

Unbelievably, he is still for sale and I have had virtually no interest in him.

Staff Area