The only word that I need to utter this week is that boy. His turn around in fortunes has been a welcome sight and something about the surface at Southwell seems to have just clicked with him. As a result of some good runs on the flat I had a look on the trainer’s standings Monday morning and was a gasped to see that we were indeed 16th. I am fully aware that we are only in week 3 of the contest, but to be in the position we are now compared to previous years is such a joy and really shows the strides forward we are making here at West Buckland. Long may it continue!

Round Up of runners

So Azari. Well Azari won this and Azari won that is the way it goes, and he is now 3 from 3 at Southwell. The first leg of his double this week was completed very early on, where he was allowed to get to the front and dictate the race at his leisure. This probably flattered him somewhat as we caught the others napping and so the 7 length victory was probably a bit much. The second leg of the double was done in similar fashion though this time though Andrew Mullen did his best to sabotage our race, and as a result gave us a race. It was a close run affair and under the six pound penalty a determined Azari would not be beat. On this effort I hope the handicapper sees that the first result was exaggerated a bit and that in a true run race like the second a mark close to 80 would be fair enough. None the less two very welcome victories and congratulations to the partnership on their first treble.

Chorus of Lies and Thahab Ifraj both ran in the same race at Chelmsford later on Sunday with both having a great shout in the final 2 furlongs. The final furlong proved just 1 too many for Chorus slipping down to 7th, whilst Thahab Ifraj made a game effort to try and chase down the winner ultimately costing him second close to the line. Thahab is being more than a game horse at the moment, finishing in the first 4 on his last 4 runs and not forgetting his win at Wincanton.

Diamond Reflection couldn’t quite follow up on his heroics last week, but he still put in a mega effort. He led to headed 4 furlongs out and was with the leader 3 out but couldn’t quite sustain the challenge and got cruelly swamped at the end to finish 6th. He continues to put in a massive effort and will surely be rewarded again if fate is kind to us.

Foxy Lass made a very pleasing debut over fences at Lingfield on Tuesday. She has the ability to get herself worked up sometimes and this cost her half a dozen lengths at the start. She jumped well throughout and it seems her talents have been held up when racing on the flat. She stayed onto finish 6th and with a little drop could go well come the future.

Jockey Racing structure explained

For those of you that are newer to racing than others you will notice that there are several names given to jockeys who ride racing. There are 3 types of Jockey: professional, Conditional (Jumps) /Apprentice (flat), Amateur.

Claiming jockeys on the flat are called apprentices and claim:

  • 7lb until they have won 20 races
  • 5lb until they have won 50 races
  • 3lb until they have won 95 races

Whilst jump jockeys who claim are called conditionals (amateur riders when riding against professionals claim the same as conditionals) and claim:

  • 7lb until they have won 20 races
  • 5lb until they have won 40 races
  • 3lb until they have won 75 races
  • A Conditional can claim an additional 3lb when riding for their employing Trainer in certain races, if they have ridden less than 5 winners.

Amateur jump jockeys when in races confined to amateurs claim:

  • 7lb until they have won 5 races
  • 5lb until they have won 10 races
  • 3lb until they have won 20 races

Upon a jockey riding their 95th or 75th winner in their field they will graduate to become a professional where they no longer have a claim. It’s rather a lot but hopefully this should help you understand.

News in Racing

There has been a loud debate this week, regarding the use of hind shoes in races. In flat racing all feet must be shod already unless a special certificate is required, in jumps racing there is no such rule but soon there will be.

The issue is so loud because the change in rules has been brought in for safety reasons so as to limit the effects of lipping when in fact a shoe can actually be a very dangerous thing. It can cut a horse’s tendon or indeed a jockey and so some trainers choose not to shoe their horse’s hind legs, such as the Easterby’s. Many trainers are angry because they feel that the BHA has crossed a line into the trainer’s prerogative. If someone such as Mick Easterby who has years of experience behind them feels his horses run better without and does so on safety grounds then why should his experience be discredited.

I myself choose to run with all feet shod in most cases and so this rule does not impact upon me hugely, that said this is a delicate issue and hopefully a solution can be found.

Statistical Summary

Jumps 18/19

Earnings - £73,406

Wins - 7

Top 4 finishes – 38/107 (35.51%)

Flat 19

Earnings - £19,228

Wins – 3

Top 4 finishes – 4/13 (30.77%)

Total 2019

            Earnings - £20,286

            Wins - 3

            Top 4 finishes – 5/18 (27.78%)