Christmas LightsMERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone in racing in what is going to be a very surreal Christmas to say the least.

Who would have thought that a year ago, just when news was beginning to filter through about an outbreak of the coronavirus in a a far flung Chinese provincial capital called Wuhan, that we would all be celebrating Christmas this time around in small numbers and for many in rather unsplendid isolation.

However, despite the various lockdowns, restrictions and  introductions of various tiers, racehorses continued to be fed, watered and exercised, although for two and a half months they were not permitted to race.  Stable and stud staff continued to work albeit in difficult and at times morale-sapping circumstances.

When racing resumed behind closed doors on June 1st, the only sport to be allowed along with snooker, tight protocols were put in place and again those on the ground continued to do their duties.  Stable staff prepared horses for the races, drove horse boxes, led horses up and then had to endure the inevitable joy or despair, depending upon the result but without any owners or paying public in attendance.  Stud staff continued to help in covering, foaling, preparing for the sales and all the usual aspects of stud work.

Owners returned in small numbers but there was no “normal” interaction between Owners and stable staff, although each group did their best to acknowledge each other’s presence even if the usual pre- and post-race conversations were rather minimalist.

Well done to the stable staff who have kept the show on the road and also to Owners, who have still paid bills but not enjoyed ownership in anything like the usual manner, despite the efforts of all the stakeholders involved in racing.

It will be very, very different and probably not as merry as usual but Solario Racing wishes everyone, particularly Owners and stable and stud staff, a peaceful Christmas.