The lives of everybody are quite different right now to what they were a couple of weeks ago as the country is in lockdown to contain the coronavirus epidemic. I hope you are all managing to stay safe and sane as we all very sensibly try to keep to the social distancing guidelines to avoid catching and spreading the virus.
The Thoroughbred Daily News came to visit this week to see how we are handling the lack of racing and you can see the video below:
Caring for animals in UK has been deemed essential work so it is very much business as usual in the yard as the staff continue to give the horses the highest level of care. The worst thing you could do with racehorses is not exercise them so we still have four lots a day going out on the Heath to help the horses let off some steam and keep them, as well as us, as safe as possible.
I must say a massive thanks to the staff for their continued and reliable hard work in these difficult circumstances.
As has been the case since British Racing shutdown two weeks ago, we have to keep our fingers crossed that racing will resume on the initial comeback date at the end of April.
In case you missed it, an update on the N.E.T. Racing Club's roster of horses was sent out to all members recently and you can see it here:
As you can tell, we've been using the lack of race meetings wisely by producing plenty of video content at home. We also had access to a GoPro helmet camera this week which we used on a couple of the horses cantering, with varying degrees of success as you will see below!
A lot has happened since the last blog just seven days ago when I thought racing would be affected by the coronavirus outbreak but only to the extent that we raced behind closed doors. That soon changed during the week as all racing was cancelled until the end of April to help free up medical teams for the country's need. Some say that this decision was a bit premature but I think by the time Boris had shut all the pubs and restaurants on Friday, racing would have had to have followed suit anyway.
Looking at Newmarket Heath you wouldn't think that there is no racing at the moment as every trainer is continuing to train their horses like normal, without doing any high-intensity galloping. We have to be optimistic that racing will resume next month and keep the horses ticking over as six weeks isn't a long enough time to turn the horses out in the paddocks for a break and then get fit again. It's the same with us - all the horses are being trained as per usual and I must thank all the owners for keeping calm and allowing us to do this. Hopefully it will pay off when racing resumes as the horses will be fit and ready to run.
It has some nagging but our landlords are finally spending a bit of money on the yard and this week the scaffolding went up in the main yard as the roof needs some attention. The horses have surprisingly not even batted an eyelid at the structure and I'm sure the work shouldn't be too disruptive either. The stables that are being worked on will be empty during the day so there is no need for any of them to be too disturbed.
I'm also pleased to say that work will soon be done to resurface the driveway which has been the butt of many jokes recently due to some of the craters in it. The poor surface does stop people speeding down the drive but it probably isn't much good for a car's suspension! The new work has been priced up to cost £25,000 so they musty be doing a good job and it will take a week to complete once they start.
As there aren't any runners to tell you about, now is a good time to let you know how some of our retired racehorses are getting on in their second homes. We love to hear from people who have one of our old horses so please do get in touch.
Big Bang couldn't follow in the footsteps of his brother Gas Monkey on the racecourse but he is forging his own career in the eventing world and has made a very bright start.
Sir Fred is only small but he had a great attitude towards racing and training and he is showing that same willingness out on the hunting field in his new home. He spent some time retraining at Palace House in Newmarket before moving to his permanent home and his new owners love him.
One of my favourite rides in the yard was Handheld and he is still thriving with Candice in Essex where he has been for a couple of years now. He has had some foot problems but that hasn't stopped him doing well in the dressage arena where he can hopefully qualify for the RoR Championship in September.
Like Handheld, Faraway Land was a horse we bought from Juddmonte Farms and she has a life of luxury in retirement. She was always a kind filly in the yard and her owner Anne-Marie loves her to bits.
Boxatricks was always a popular horse in the yard as he lived in the first stable you come to and he loved a pat and a carrot. Since retiring last year, he has been living with owner Paul in Norfolk. He unfortunately suffered a bout of colic recently and had to have an emergency operation at Rossdales vets in Newmarket but thankfully he seems to be pulling through.
Lastly I have some sad news as just yesterday Majestic Moon had to be put down at the vets. He had been with owner Eddie since retiring last year and the pair were getting on very well. However, over the weekend he had the symptoms of colic so was taken to Rossdales where he was operated on. The surgeon found the cause of the problem was a cancerous tumour so the best decision was to have him put to sleep. It is such a shame that a horse can have a long and successful racing career like he did but then not get the chance to enjoy an equally long retirement. He was a good horse to us all and my thoughts go out to Eddie who loved him.