I returned from a whirlwind 48hr trip to Ireland on Saturday afternoon, having taken in Leopardstown races, a trip round Coolmore, Wexford races and a pub in Wicklow to watch the Lions. The trip round Coolmore was fantastic, a highlight for me being the time spent with wonder stallion Galileo (a more placid beast you could not find), and the facilities there are absolutely jaw-dropping. However, what also really impressed me on our trip was the welcome given to us at Leopardstown races. We had planned nothing in advance, but on arrival, and mentioning that I was over with a bunch of owners from England, they could not have been more accommodating, providing us with tickets to owners and trainers (some complementary, the others reduced price), and made us feel incredibly welcome. Compare this to some of the experiences I, and several of my owners, have had on occasions at some English racecourses, and it really puts them to shame. The gate attendants at some racecourses behave like every owners badge they give out will take 24 hours off their life expectancy – what racecourses must realise (and to be fair I have seen an improvement this year from last) is that the owner experience begins from the moment they arrive at the front desk, and those first impressions count. Owners are hard enough to attract and retain into racing, and racecourses must make sure that they do their part by providing as good an owner experience as possible on raceday. If they want lessons on this, they could do worse than a trip to Leopardstown.
Wexford races provided for a very entertaining Friday evening before we headed back up to Dublin on Saturday morning, stopping off in Wicklow to catch the fantastic Lions win over Australia. We flew back to England on a real high, and the tempo was maintained on Sunday by Murray’s amazing performance to win Wimbledon. All we need now is an Ashes series win, and a good few wins for our horses, to round off a quality summer of sport.
Whilst the gorgeous weather that has set in at the moment is very welcome, it does affect running plans for some of our turf runners who wouldn’t want the ground too quick. We will still have a few runners this week, starting with Uncomplicated in a claimer at Wolverhampton on Tuesday. She has proven pretty disappointing recently, having been quite a precocious and useful 2yo. I’m hoping that the drop in grade, coupled with a slightly different headgear combination can spark a revival, but we go there in hope rather than expectation. That said, I have entered her off a very competitive mark, so if she does spark back to life she is more than capable of getting involved. I would hope to have a couple of runners at Epsom on Thursday evening in Paloma’s Prince and Perfect Pastime, but I will be hoping for both that the ground is not too quick on the day. We may also make the long trip north to Chester on Saturday with Clearing. She won nicely last time out on the all weather and has it to prove on turf still, but she has plenty of speed and is definitely best going left handed, so Chester could just be right up her street. It is a big step up in class for her, but we might as well give it a go off what is hopefully a handy mark still. Added to which, Chester is one course that looks after their owners very well indeed……..