Its been a busy week as usual and I have wanted to write something about Heroes all week, he ran such a great race on Saturday to finish a very close second on ground that was too soft over a trip that was possibly a bit on the short side. We were delighted with him and I know he didn't win but to have him sound racing again for such lovely patient owners is more than I could ask for, luckily it seems that he has come back sound apart from a few little nicks. He is also delighted with himself, its hard when a horse has had so many injuries - you are never sure if they will want to race again, let alone go through the pain barrier. He is a testament to my staff, they are so kind and positive with the horses it shows and pays dividends, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Starfoot was disappointing but we found that he has a little issue with his wind - as I write this he should be having a small operation to help him. Hopefully he should be back running by the beginning of January.
All is going very well at the mo and long may it continue, Ella is getting very excited about Christmas already and I think the Elf on the shelf may be visiting soon. Its a tough job over the holidays for everyone who works with horses, its easy to forget for the lay person how much time and effort has to go into the horses and how hard it is for staff to have time off with their families, especially in national hunt yards. Owners have horses to see them run and if they have time off over Christmas then what better time to go racing, however it means that we will be pushed to the limit to give the horses the work they need and people the time off they should have. I know this is one of the reasons that we are so short staffed as an industry but I am not sure what the answers are, I do know that the most important thing that could happen is the government agreeing on the Levy with the bookmakers to put the money back into racing for more prize money.
Prize money is disgusting and when we look at France, Australia and America we are way behind. Finishing second in a 0-120 chase on Saturday netted the owners £1800, that horse costs them nearly £1200 a month to run, the transport, jockey fees and entry fees add up to about £650 on the day and then there are the vets fees... Uttoxeter was heaving, you couldn't move there, so why is there such a discrepancy between all of those people paying to watch the racing, the betting, the television rights and what the owners earn when they are providing the horses to earn that money???
Small trainers are struggling like never before, we rely on the small owners who want attention to detail and a much more personal service..Unfortunately they are the people who are struggling to afford to have horses in training and the irony is that as a small trainer I pay my staff better than a lot of the big boys and spend more money on extras for the horses if they need; it yet charge a massive amount less daily...It is wrong that we cannot charge what we need to because our industry is so fragmented, it cannot stand together and make sure the prize money warrants owners having horses in training!
Rant over, off to eat (maybe I was hangry...)