4 Results Found For: December 2015

Hogmanay 2015

Three all-weather meetings next Wednesday, 6th January. Nothing to do with rescheduling or abandoned jump meeting. This was, it seems, the plan all along. It will be very interesting to see how the field sizes hold up. Personally, I think it is very bad planning.

Christmas Eve 2015

Oh, the weather outside is frightful but no possibility of snow. Just more and more rain and a driving wind to force it through every crevice.
It isn’t stopping us, thanks to the wonders of modern all-weather gallops, but it really does make it the most miserable environment to work in. I feel for the riders.

There is a temptation to say that the horses can just have a day off and stay dry in their boxes – after all, many won’t be running in the coming months – but we are all conscious of the need to exercise as many as possible. From today, through until Monday, we have half the staff on holiday and horses will alternate between being ridden and having days when they are just exercised on the walker. They get more than fresh enough on this regime without us reducing exercise any further.

No entries to make today and no declarations. Our next possible runners will be Monday 28th.

20th December 2015 (later)

So sad to hear about the death of, The Times racing reporter, Alan Lee. He told me just a few weeks ago that he was off work due to a heart problem but he suggested that all would be well and it seems that everyone thought that was the case.

He was a thoroughly decent man and is a great loss to British horseracing

20th December 2015

There is no rest for the wicked. This is supposed to be our quiet time of the year but, if opportunities for Blethering are anything to go by, it clearly isn’t.
This time last year I had already been to Las Vegas for the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) and I had sworn that I would make it an annual pilgrimage but, one year on, the resolution had to be broken. I was also writing, in early November last year, of taking it easy and finding time for cycling, and I was berated by some for saying that while our horses were in the midst of a long losing streak. Well, no such problems this year. The bike has hardly turned a wheel but I can’t say that that is the reason for any apparently better form. We are again operating with a very small string, principally made up of horses which ‘missed the boat’ for one reason or another in the middle of the season, and so the runners and consequently the winners are fairly few and far between. Luckily, however, one or two decent individuals have kept popping one in and have kept us off that dreaded Racing Post Cold Trainers List.

Richard Fahey confessed, over a few drinks at the sales, that he got some perverse pleasure from our plight last October and November and would exchange text messages with Jamie Osborne counting the days that we went without a winner. So I make no apology now for pointing out that it is him that has had a spell on the Cold List this year although he got off it just the other day.

In the midst of our long losing run I heard James Willoughby discussing it on TV and he said that he didn’t believe in ‘trainer form’. He was, firstly, unconvinced by the figures which simply look at days/runs without a winner and take no account of whether the horses are running to form or not, and he said that we were running a ‘subset of horses’ which were not up to our usual standard. I was delighted to accept this at the time but looking back now I see that, of the 67 horses which ran during that period, 53 went on to race into 2015 and 31 of them (58%) won races: a total of 59 races between them. Of the 14 that retired at the end of the year, only 5 retired as maidens. I didn’t count how many of those that failed to win again (22) retired as maidens but it was very few i.e. most had been successful before October of last year.

It was not, therefore, a ‘subset of horses’ in terms of ability to win races but, perhaps, many of them were on the way down having peaked earlier in the season or had not yet had an opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Since then I have done some work with James Willoughby on Breeze-Up sales and we have had discussions on what he can bring to our team in terms of analytics. We will certainly be working more closely with him in future and, perhaps, the phenomena of trainer form will need to be looked at again.