Tueasday 11 August
Yesterday was warm - very warm. Astonishing August temperatures across the country, and not nice for National Hunt Horses. Land League was due to make his reappearance in Southwell, but at the 11th hour he was declared a non runner as the afternoon temperatures continued to rise along with the humidity. When Stuart called to say that he was getting worried about the heat, and its effect on the horses - I don't think I let him finish his sentence - I simply replied 'Bring him home,' There was not a hesitation. I am all in favour of summer jumping - it gives the horses that require quicker ground a decent campaign, and it is a refreshing change to go racing in shirt sleeves, and enjoy a cool pint in evening sunshine at the races - but I have always maintained that jump racing should not take place over a certain temperature, on the grounds of horse welfare. The figure I quoted a few years ago on this blog, was 25c - this is just a figure I feel comforatble with, and isn't based on any scientific evidence - but I do believe that the situation needs to be looked into - and a line be drawn. Yesterday was always forecast to be warm - we knew that going there, but there were also thunderstorms forecast, and also the temperatures exceeded what was expected at the track. Land League is safe and sound and lives to fight again on another (cooler) day. The postponement of jump meetings does occur in France - Last year a meeting at Auteuil was postponed for a couple of days so that it could be run in cooler weather. In the UK we have a much more rigid programme book that doesn't suit meeting being postponed for a couple of days - but it may be an idea to look into the timings of meetings on the days scheduled to hold jumps fixtures.