Wednesday, 31 December 2008

I quite often think I am blessed with a near perfect life being able to spend the majority of my time indulging my passion for training horses; the last few weeks have put that to the test somewhat. Firstly having set myself a target of 10 winners for the season I find that Xmas has been and gone and we have been nowhere near hitting the scoresheet, secondly with several horses ready to run we now find the country frost bound with the prospect of things remaining the same for the next ten days and actually getting colder next week. It will be a real challenge now especially with last season's main earner, Native Coll, being out of action having only notched a couple of thirds, however we have 17 horses in work at present, much the busiest we have ever been and although two of them are only here temporarily I will be very disappointed if the other 15 can't produce a good few wins between now and the end of April.

I was laid low with the lurgy and couldn't get to Newcastle to watch Whispering Moor run on the Saturday before Xmas but despite me having him in the wrong race he still put up a lacklustre effort, I had been concerned that he wasn't quite in the same form as he had been a few weeks earlier. Skipping Chapel having pulled up at Sedgefield earlier in the month came back coughing and as he goes out in the field every day with WM I have to assume that something is bugging the latter - they have both been treated accordingly and are being freshened up ready to run again as soon as the weather relents.

Having so many horses all fired up with nowhere to go adds an extra level of challenge to the job, particularly with the weather limiting the variety of work we can give them, one doesn't just want to gallop them into the ground, pounding up the all-weather every day, we need to try to have them very fit but a little bit fresh and its a difficult balance to strike especially when one's recent runners have given so little indication as to exactly where we are with them. So we are just keeping our heads down and doing the best we can, the amount of work and rising at six every morning when the rest of the world appears to be on holiday can appear a little futile when the racing isn't actually happening but I am incredibly impressed by the determination of my staff who have all appeared on time at 7 every morning despite often only going to bed about 90 minutes earlier! I am amazed how they do it but they can be a little wooden-headed as a result vexing the (slightly) grumpy trainer somewhat.

I whitter on too much; in summary we have 4 horses ready to run at Ayr this week that are unlikely to get a run due to the weather, they will divert to Musselburgh and Kelso next week but they also looks dodgy, thereafter who knows but I guarantee that no yard in the country will be trying harder to have them spot on when they get their chance...

Sorry, one more thing, another dilemma I have is that I am not sure that these emails should really go on my public blog, in many ways they are a personal catharcism that hopefully gives a frank and ocassionally amusing insight into the ups and downs of training racehorses. I'm not convinced that I want any old Joe to be able to go in and read them and I don't want to feel overly self-conscious when I write them, they mustn't turn into a marketing exercise or that will completely switch off the loyal few who actually read them, hmm, I'll probably stick it on the blog anyway and hope for the best.....

Happy New Year!


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