| Published in the Independent on 14.06.2020 | A Touch of Frost |

What a week for our friends the Balding family. Andrew Balding, brother of now TV presenter Claire Balding, won the Qipco 2000 Guineas race on Kemako at Newmarket taking the forecasted £500,000 prize money. I used to ride for Andrew and Claire’s father – Ian, and won the Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle Grade 1 race for him on Rose Crystal in 91. What a lovely man. To see his son do so well is an absolute pleasure.

I get asked a lot about who gets what when it comes to sharing out a race’s prize money. Whilst thing can vary, typically the jockey will receive about 7% of the total prize pot plus between £120-£150 to compete in the race, the horse trainer receives around 10% of the pot, a small percentage will go the yard where the horse is kept, and the owner of the horse will receive all of the remainder. I am quite sure if it wasn’t for lockdown, the Balding family would be celebrating in the Bahamas now. This is not the end of it though, by winning such a prestigious race, the value of Kemako as a stud stallion will provide further income. My estimate for any successful pregnancies leading to foals by the stallion would be in the region of £30,000-£100,000 per foal.

Now we have a firm date to start racing again we have started to plan which horses we are going to ride in which race. Each horse is chosen depending on the parameters of the race i.e. age, distance or handicap. Our first race will be on July 24th and we will be racing Quinto. A stunning horse and seriously powerful.

Illustration for Touch of Frost, 14.06.2020

Bryony in new compulsory racing mask

Bryony received her face mask for racing this week. All jockeys are required to wear one due to the new safety rules set to protect others from coronavirus. She says it is very flimsy and when she rides and breathes in, the material goes into her mouth. We question if it will stay on for the length of the race.

This time of the year we would normally be buying some younger horses to replace our older ones. These older horses would usually go on to retirement, with some being used by their new owners for show jumping or hunting, or just living out their days doing very little. Because there have not been any horse sales since March and they are not expected to resume until late July/early August, it is expected that there will be over 2000 horses on sale by the time their doors open again. With so much competition in the marketplace this will be a very worrying time for the owners, with more horses for sale than there are buyers. With finances for so many people being negatively affected by the current climate, we sadly know of many owners selling their horses rather than incur the substantial costs of keeping them. We know that in other areas of the country, horses are just being left by their owners on public ground.

I will end this week on a happier note. Earlier in the year our eldest son Hadden, was invited to attend a stag party this July. With the original plans being scuppered due to the need to social distance, an alternative had to be found. Mum and Dad Frost to the rescue. The party will now be held in our meadow and come rain or shine the guys will spend the day canoeing and clay pigeon shooting.

I said to Hadden this morning after we both were woken up by Mr Crow who continues to knock his beak aggressively against our bedroom windows every morning around 5am, that if social distancing continues until Christmas, the family will all be opening their presents in the meadow on Christmas day.

Until we catch up again next week, keep safe and importantly be kind to each other.