The current situation is unprecedented and none of us has ever experienced the restrictions which are now in place. Although it is difficult not to be able to see friends and family especially at this time of year, there are also heart-warming stories of communities rallying round those that most need help. Many local businesses have adapted their way of trading so that they can still stay afloat and also provide much needed products to their customers.
Luckily the horses are oblivious to all these problems and the paddocks we have created here at the yard are working very well. We have been very lucky to have been lent a 6 x 6 vehicle by Andy Denton who runs the highly successful shooting in Langholm (now sadly cancelled for this year) and this has proved to be ideal for feeding the horses twice daily without any damage to the ground. We are so grateful for this and it is another example of local help.
Three in a Row!
Andy Denton's 6 x 6 vehicle
Best Friends Enjoy a Taste of What's to Come
Winners all - Sao Maxence, Calix Delafayette and Bluefortytwo
The authorities are working towards Jumps racing resuming on the 1st July. Therefore, our summer jumpers are having a slight break now with a month’s walker work. The remaining 22 horses are out at grass in our paddocks and we plan to keep them here for the summer as we will be bringing them in earlier than usual. Our hardworking staff have been so helpful and co-operative as we have worked out a rota system for some of them to take their holidays earlier than usual. James, Briony and David Macleod will not be taking holidays this year so we hope for some good weather to lessen the disappointment!
Brian Hughes has now officially been declared as Champion Jockey and tributes from many trainers have been flowing in with congratulations on his very well deserved success. It is unfortunate that the traditional award will not now take place at Sandown to mark the end of the season but we are proud to have been part of his success and it is a great boost for Northern racing.
On the 23rd March James wrote the guest column in Racing Post as part of the Go North Racing Weekend. It was sad that this initiative organised by the BHA and sponsored by Racing Post could not go ahead on 20th to 22nd March. Racing was to take place at Musselburgh, Kelso and Carlisle and there were going to be visits to local yards including ourselves on the 22nd. Hopefully, this might take place next year.
In the article James highlighted the handicapping disparity between north and south which needs to be addressed to make it fairer and to encourage more owners. At present the horses are generally handicapped on where they finish in a race rather than the quality of those that they beat. This puts them at a disadvantage when they meet horses from the south who have usually been running against better opposition and it is this issue which needs improving. The many attractions of the northern tracks were also championed and James paid tribute to Brian Hughes who has ridden so many winners for the yard.
On the 3rd April another article appeared in the Annandale Observer noting the difficulties trainers in Dumfriesshire are facing with the lockdown and this also featured James.
We would like to thank Kevin Mercer from Harbro in Hawick who kindly sent us Easter treats for horses, dogs and humans! This was very much appreciated.
The Goodies received from Harbro
Lucy Checking Everything is in Order
So we must all keep positive and look forward to better times ahead. We would also like to wish you a very Happy Easter.