Thermals At The Ready

Brrrrr, today we had the first frost and what a shock to the system it was! In some ways it's comforting to be able to layer up again, however by the time I had mucked out the fifth box, I was down to a t shirt, then when I had finished the 8 boxes I was so warm I didn't put the layers back on. Half an hour later I'm shivering again. It's no wonder we are all constantly ill, back on the lemsip again, not to mention the monumental drenching we have been getting on a near daily basis.

However on the plus side we are all very happy with the health of the horses, which after last season, is a very welcome thing. Myself and our Trace (Gregg) ride up to 7 each a morning and we have been piling the work into them. It is so good to have him riding with me, I will keep going with all 7 lots in the torrential rain and he never moans or complains, he may threaten to go back to Aus occasionally but we can keep laughing and joking, even when we are soaked to our undies.

The same goes for the two girls in the barn, Nick and Zora, they have been fantastic at tacking up and washing off our horses, organising the barn and brushing them all properly. It makes my life easier as I am tired to my bones. As i'm sure they all are, having been constantly snotty and coldy for weeks now. I wish I were in the position to pay them all a lot more than I do, however I hope they know how valued and appreciated they are, working with horses is a thankless task sometimes.

It's sickening really when you think the money the bookmakers take from the sport, the money media rights bring in and then look at what the staff and people working in the industry earn. But then the same could be said for many industries, however how many require you to put your life in danger everyday...?

Things need to change, the BHA owes it to the small trainer and owner to help us all, otherwise there are going to be a lot more of us falling by the wayside and we are worth just as much as the big boys. In some ways more as we can give more individual attention to the horses and one to one communication with the owners.

Maybe approach the government about business rates or council tax exemption for for smaller trainers who employ people and pay NI and Tax, or not to mention the most obvious solution, to raise the betting levy to then raise the prize money and distribute more prize money further down the places.

As I have said before what about a jumps league for trainers with under 10/20/30 horses with a big prize fund? It's all well and good putting up massive prize money for the big days but we are the grass roots of racing and it costs our owners just as much (actually maybe not, I would love to charge £75 a day but I don't think I could sleep at night!) to have a horse in training that is average as it does a good one.

Before anyone comments they should sell the average horses, we don't all have hundreds of thousands to replace them, average horses still win races and punters still bet on them.

There is a new 0-120 chase series that culminates in a big meeting at the end of the season, which is a start. But more needs to be done.

Anyway enough of me moaning, we ran Oscar on Friday and I put him in a race with top weight to see how he would handle it. He is not a weight carrying horse, we now know this. I also cocked up the instructions, the rain had been hammering down and the ground had gone very soft so I told Page not to make the running with that much weight. Bad move, they hacked until they got round the top bend (which came as a surprise to Oscar, seriously with 4 legs you would think he could navigate a bend...) and then they kicked coming into the back which is normal for Worcester. Osci was outpaced and looked like he would jack it in, but did stay on up the home straight and finished fifth. He needs further and possibly blinkers.

The previous week we ran Cronin's Hill for the first time, after jumping a bit greenly he warmed to the task and looked like he would run a massive race, he just emptied a bit over the last couple, which was a combination of ground being too firm and fitness. He will be a lovely horse, he did give his leg a bang which has taken a couple of weeks to settle but he is back cantering now.

Its for Alan ran well at Uttoxeter to finish 5th but he sweated so badly on the way there and the way home, I had started to wonder if something was bothering him. However he worked well last week but every time we tried to take him for a drive in the lorry, he would run with sweat after only a couple of mins, I really am not a bad driver! So I called Trevor and asked him if we ought to be thinking about injecting his neck again, which we did on Monday and there was a lot of inflammation and new bone on the scan, which would cause a nerve impingement and pain. Poor Alan, he should feel better now.

We have The Big Yin (who had his first school yesterday, such an exciting horse), Into the Mist, Marmont and Mr Fitzroy nearly ready to run, however they are all soft/heavy ground horses so we are still doing rain dances. They are all in good form, Jack (The Big Yin) may go to Chepstow or Ffos Las, Patsy may go to Worcester or Ffos Las, Marms either Huntingdon, Wincanton or Fakenham and Mr f is proving tricky to place as there are loads of 0-120 upwards or loads of 0-100 races but none for a 104 horse...

Miniture Daffodil continues to get fitter, he is looking great now and hopefully should be ready to run by the end of the month for the ladies!

There are a few of the others who are still a month off, having picked up niggly little injuries, i'm not complaining though, I will take a niggle over a catastrophe!

In other news John Biscuit continues to love life as a child's pony...

Finally this time of year gives us some of the best sunrises in the world, it's frustrating not to be able to capture it as we see it, however I love to try!

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Common Farm, Eastrop, Highworth, SN67PP

Email jo@jodavisracing.com

Tel 07879811535