RACING UNDER THE ‘COSH’ OF CORONAVIRUS

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Andrew Atkinson looks at the cost to racing with trainer Nick Alexander after the cold spell and snow that lead to ice and ground frozen this month, leading to a plethora of meetings abandoned.

“Luckily the gallops have been in great order and the horses haven’t missed a beat – thanks to the fantastic efforts of the team,” said Kinneston, Fife based trainer Nick Alexander.

“Sadly, however racing was called off, including the Kelso card where we would have had eight runners.  It can’t be helped and seems a little trivial to complain too much – when everyone is under the cosh from the coronovirus – but it does have a material impact.

“I would estimate that we will now have lost 25 runners since the turn of the year, overall our horses earn an average of £1300 per run, so that’s over £30k in lost revenue for our long suffering owners, which is the last thing they need on top of everything else at this stage.

“I cannot emphasise enough how grateful we are for their support, we will of course do our best to ensure that this is revenue deferred, but it does make life more difficult.

“Our industry must never forget that it is the owners who are keeping the show on the road – and thereby the industry afloat. Thank you,” said Nick.

Nick spent a decade trying to work out how to harness the wonderful chilled spring water that flows year round out of the Lomond Hills for the benefit of the horses – and the inauguration of the ‘bath’ at Kinneston.

“I’m delighted with what we finally came up with.  Low maintenance and multi-tasking, used every day, and the fact that all the horses go through it is a testament to the horsemanship of the team.

“Jenny, our senior work rider, said it was now 50 years since she first rode out for my father. I’m really chuffed she is still here,” said Nick.

Talking about stable star Clan Legend, winner of 10 races and at a career high rating at the age of 11, Nick said:  “A great example of how we like to let the horses develop over the years and achieve longevity.

“He is a fourth generation home bred, from a family going back to a mare my father bought at Ascot Sales in 1972.”

Photos: courtesy James Glossop.

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