Horses training on The Back Of The Hill, Jockey Club Estates, Lambourn.

29th May 2015

Heading out to mow at Lambourn Gallops

With the Flat season hitting top gear we are mowing. We do a lot of mowing.

If you are dreading the getting the lawnmower out, spare a thought for the Jockey Club Estates team at Lambourn. With over 300 acres of grass to cut, our task is a little like the Forth Bridge, we reach the end and start again. We had a really cold, dry spring and the grass was quite sulky for a while, but now with a lot of rain and some sun, it is growing well.

We are gearing up for up for a big gallop refurbishment in June as Fisher’s Hill is completely overhauled. This is  a 5 furlong all weather gallop and we will be putting in a new drainage base, tarmac separation layer and surface – the whole works!

Fisher’s Hill is Lambourn’s Warren Hill – it is an important facility for all of our trainers. The job will take our contractor four weeks in total. During the works, the Gallops team will also be hard at work, taking the old surface and recycling it onto our horse walks. It still has a lot of life in it and it is good to reuse it.

Our routine maintenance projects this year include bucket flipping the surface on The Back Of The Hill. This is allows you to turn the surface through 180 degrees, to bring the bottom layer to the top. However skilled your tractor driver, you never quite “machine” to the base of a gallop, so flipping it is the only way to bring the bottom layer to the top. It also gives us a chance to level it, so it is a consistent seven inches of surface all the way along.

The Back of the Hill is the main jumping gallop, so we do that in July when most of the NH horses are in the field on their summer holidays.  The gallop will be closed entirely to allow us to do the work as quickly as possible.

Many Clouds and Leighton Aspell win the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree.

Many Clouds

Since I last wrote a blog entry so much has happened, not least of which was Many Cloud’s win in the Crabbie’s Grand National.

It is hard to describe how we all felt in the days and weeks after, but there was an enormous sense of pride throughout the village. It didn’t matter if you worked for Oliver Sherwood or in the baker’s or the Post Office. Everyone lined the streets of the village in force to cheer the team from Rhonehurst.

The Lambourn Gallops team were immensely proud. We don’t have favourites and want to prepare our surfaces to the highest possible standard for all our trainers and their horses. But every Thursday we were up at the schooling grounds, watching Many Clouds, Tranquil Sea and Dolatulo go through their paces and then working on providing them we the best surfaces to prepare on. Of course Many Clouds won, but all three completed and we were proud to be part of all three’s stories which were part of a really good jumps season for Lambourn.

We hope for just a great amount of success for our Flat trainers and it is now over to Toast of New York and the other equine stars to provide us with some highlights for the summer.