A fine sunny morning if a little cool for the time of year but a summer storm looms and if the forecasts are correct Hexham will end up either heavy or abandoned, those in training did plenty of work yesterday and are enjoying a long hack round the farm in the sunshine this morning.

Makhzoon (Lucy and Emma) courtesy Dennis Penny

Plans to be made, more need a break others could keep on running but we are left with the tricky fixture situation that we face each summer in the North, after this weekend a total of 15 days jump racing spread out between now and 25th September, it’s tricky to justify keeping horses going in these circumstances; we could travel, and it made more sense to do so when prize money was reasonable, but as most of the Midlands tracks are in the hands of Northern Racing we are faced with very poor returns, total prize funds this evening at Uttoxeter for instance in the two handicap hurdles of £2600, I admire those prepared to do so but I am sure it is just due to lack of alternatives, you need very sporting owners to go for that as even if you win you are going to struggle to break even on the day.
Luckily Perth and Cartmel put up excellent money so we have a few horses that we will keep going but I suspect field numbers will suffer and these fixtures may end up an “Irish Benefit,”  we will also be hoping to have one or two runners on the flat (gulp) – that should be great fun, I am looking forward to doing that and will be hoping not to make too much of a fool of myself, I think to keep a horse going through the summer it only makes sense if it is a dual purpose type. 

Makhzoon – could he make his flat debut as an 8yo?

Now that the courses have become so good at watering I think summer jumping has much to offer but a fuller fixture list would make it more worthwhile and would end up producing much more competitive racing, such a sporadic arrangement is tough on the jockeys too, they can’t let themselves down but struggle to make ends meet; Lucy has one ride at Uttoxeter this evening (Itstooearly 8pm), one possible at Aintree tomorrow, maybe a couple at Hexham on Saturday and one probable on the flat at Doncaster on Sunday, she would much rather be doing this than not riding but she will burn a lot of diesel and after this weekend it becomes very patchy for three months….