One thing that I quite often think of is how the Industry has 'changed' over the 38 years since I started training in 1984; not so much in terms of the 'horses' per se; on theflat Fred Darling and Noel Murless would both recognise the horses I have at Rowdown; and by 1984 the 'revolution' (for want of a better word although 'transition' would equally suit) in the way NH horses have evolved from powerful and 'substantial' guys like Freebooter and evenMill House to the lighter, more athletic chasers who use their hocks, that the Dickinson's had so much success with; like Wayward Lad and Silver Buck; but more in terms of the impact that the professionally constructed artificai surfaces have had on the wider flat race programme over the last decade or so.
One consequence of this is (self
evidently!) a reduction in the number of races run on the grass over the
course of the tradiitional turf season from the Lincoln to the November
Handicap; and, because of this reduction, the opportunities to find
the right ground for an individual horse in the 65% or thereabouts of
the flat races that are still run on turf are becoming harder to find;
different horses have different confirmation, both in terms of being
static and (more importantly) in the way that they move; and this
difference is the key determinate of the ground that will suit each
horse; some horses are better suited to acting on a firm surface but it
is a truism that everytime you run a horse on jarring ground you pay a
physical 'price' against the integrity of the horse's systems of support
and movement; for some horses that price is quite small but for
others, particularly tallish and latter maturing guys, the affect of jar
can be really quite adverse.
So the ongoing dry Spring is one factor in
the patience that we are exercising at Rowdown in terms of running our
horses; we are really pleased with overall quality of the string; and
equally pleased with the 'healthy' way almost every horse is currently
running (and, with a bit more luck with the draw and the stalls, witness
Arlecchino's Gift and Twilight Revenge, our win to run ratio would be
better still); the guys who ride work for us, Ellie, Isobel, Jazz and
Charlie to name four we are grateful to, Dave, who makes sure the Yard
runs smoothly and Carol, who travels a lot of the horses, the rest of
the guys in the Yard and I are all really content that the patience we
are exercising now will pay as we get into the Summer proper and later
to the Autumn.
If you can't actually go racing you are
always welcome to see the horses on the move virtually and morning
Monday thru to Saturday.