Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Newmarket, Suffolk.

Sunrise at Warren Hill in Newmarket.
After an incredibly busy year working in Bordeaux and the south of France, it is wonderful to be back at our English base in Newmarket. This is a beautiful small town nestled in the Suffolk countryside. The town became famous since various Kings of England visited the town in order to enjoy the wonderful heath land surrounding the town for hunting, hawking, racing horses and general entertainment. James I, Charles I and Charles II were major visitors and there are still many historical links to their time in Newmarket and their houses, Palaces and Inns. In fact the Palace that James I built in 1606 is only a short walk from our house. And incidentally there is a house that Nell Gwynn lived in whilst she was the mistress to King Charles 2nd. Apparently there was a tunnel bewteen the Palace and Nell Gwynn's house.
Many of the Kings and Queens over the years have enjoyed the horse racing in Newmarket, as there are two magnificent racetracks. Queen Elizabeth II has had horses based in Newmarket for many years and frequently visits the town.
Nowadays Newmarket is the unparralleled centre of thoroughbred horseracing in the World. From my office I can hear the purr of the auctioneer at Tattersalls auction, which is on the outside of the town. Tattersalls are currently selling mares for breeding, but they have regular sales for Yearlings, Horses in Training, Breeze Ups and more. In fact Tattersalls is one of the biggest businesses in the town. I popped in to the auction last night to witness the Oaks Winner, Qualify, being sold to John Ferguson (acting for Sheikh Mohammed) for 1.6 million guineas.  But John Ferguson also bought another mare for 2.7 million guineas as well as a few more!
Horse racing is truly an international business and that is reflected in the town. There are many people from all corners of the World working in racing and being drawn to Newmarket, which adds to the dynamism and vibrancy.
The trainers based in and around the town have fantastic facilities, which are maintained by The Jockey Club. The gallops have been looked after for four hundred years, with specific focus for looking after the horses. The quality of the grass is sensational and is perfect for a delicate thoroughbred race horse.
Many of the top trainers such as Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden, Luca Cumani, Ed Dunlop, William Haggas, Michael Bell, David Elsworth, Peter Chapple-Hyam, Charlie Appleby, James Fanshawe and Sir Mark Prescott are based in the town, whilst there are many older trainers such as William Jarvis, James Eustace and Mark Tompkins who continue to send out winners each year. But there are also many newer trainers who have appeared such as Marco Botti, Roger Varian, David Simcock, Ed Vaughan, Charlie Fellowes and Hugo Palmer. I am looking forward to visiting some of these racing yards over the coming weeks.
The yearlings will now be at the trainers yards and the trainers will be establishing the quality of their new stock, who will all be 2 years old on January 1st 2016. Serious two year olds will be lightly raced if they have potential to be Classic wineers when they are 3 years old. But if a horse has great precocious potential then the main target will be the Royal Ascot race meeting in June 2016.
A wonderful statistic that I saw recently is that there are 3000 racehorses in Newmarket and c 15000 people.
One day I would love to own a racehorse, but the costs are high. To buy a quality horse you can spend any money, but like most things the more you pay, the more opportunity there might be.
The costs of training a horse can vary between £12-18000 per year including racing silks, race days, vets bills, transport and entries etc.
I had better get back to work to see if I can fulfill my dream.