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Big week ahead at Goodwood Festival.

Amy Murphy

It has been a truly hectic week for us all at home.  We have had 8 runners in the past week which included a marathon trip to Ripon and back. Thankfully all horses and staff returned home safely, which in this heat is all you can ask for.

THEGREATESTSHOWMAN will make his first appearance since running gallantly at Ascot, as he heads to Chester on Saturday to take his chance in the 5f Novice Median Auction Stakes. He had a couple of days in the sun following Ascot and he is has been in great order at home. Dougie Costello will take the ride as usual and I can’t wait to see him back in action.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s KING GEORGE VI AND QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES at Ascot it looks a fairly open Group 1. Cracksman was declared on Thursday but will only take his chance if they receive the forecast rain.  Sir Michael Stoute goes there with the two horses currently vying for favouritism in, Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean. Of the two I would probably just lean towards POET’S WORD.  I think his form on paper looks a little bit stronger and in the hands of James Doyle who is absolutely flying at the moment I think he will run really well.

Thursday saw the announcement from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) regarding the 2019 fixture list.

Within the announcement were details of some new initiatives which have been put in place to support jockeys and racing staff, with the hope of alleviating some of the demands the current fixture list places on them. Most notably the extensive travel and late working hours which can occur when attending evening meetings.


All floodlit fixtures will now finish earlier, with the last race starting no later than 8:30pm. Although a small change this will have a big effect on my team. Being able to get home nearly an hour earlier in some cases will ensure staff have a reasonable amount of time before they need to be back in the yard the next day.

They have also introduced 6-day break at the end of the turf season in November and a potential 5-day break at the close of the all-weather season in March.

With the increase of fixtures and the additional 15 floodlit meetings starting from January, these small breaks in the fixtures which will allow jockeys and staff a break will be key to making the extra meetings a success.

I think everyone will also be delighted with the additional days break from racing on December 22nd thus allowing everyone to enjoy a bit more time with their families and friends over the festive period.

These may seem small but for staff who are constantly working round the clock a small break will really help.

I couldn’t end this blog without a quick mention of the upcoming Glorious Goodwood Festival. Next week I will be posting daily blogs for each of the 5 days of the festival. I will go over the days racing, the horses I am most looking forward to seeing and some reflections as the week goes on.

Follow me on Twitter: @ALMRacing

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