Monday, 11 February 2013

Definite Dawn won!! He ran a cracking race and thoroughly enjoyed himself and it was lovely for Christopher and Clare to win the Burton Cup with all the accompanying celebrations but with none of the worry. The weather was foul so it was a real luxury to have Christopher's marquee to shelter in. Ponty ran a cracking race in dreadful conditions - He was in the last race by which time the ground was horrid, there were ten runners and only one finisher - He was a clear second approaching the last but was wandering around a bit and as he was on his own Peter very sensibly pulled him up. There is nothing worse that seeing a young horse put on the deck because of a tired fall. Peter got more handshakes and congratulations with that performance than from when he won, which was lovely. Laura won best turned out with both horses - She has now won seven best turned out prizes already, and looks set to beat last years tally of eighteen.
The ground at Godstone was dreadful as it rained all night there, so Jess, who is a 'top of the ground' girl didn't race.Very frustrating as she is ready to go.
There was snow on the ground this morning and it is still snowing now. Spring seems an awful long way away at the moment....
We have just been out for a steak at our local pub, The Griffin, which was very good. All the talk there was about the horse meat scandal. It really does seem quite extraordinary that it wasn't picked up on before. When I did my Nuffield scholarship in 1998 my subject was 'increasing consumer confidence in British Beef' this was in the wake of the BSE crisis and the key word was 'Traceability' . I visited many abattoirs in the UK and they all gave the spin on how important it was to know where the 'beef' was coming from and how vital it was for consumers confidence. I was also impressed at the time at how technological the abattoirs were and how they would run all sorts of tests on the meat to check PH, oxidation, adrenaline levels etc, but possibly the most important one, particularly if you were dealing with Eastern European abattoirs, you would have thought would be the DNA test - It seems obvious and inexcusable now that it wasn't done as a matter of course. There is also the safety factor which could now rear it's ugly head in that a high percentage of horses that go for slaughter are full of phenylbutazone (a pain killer) which should not go into the food chain, but would it be tested for if the meat was assumed to be beef? Highly unlikely.
However, this could all be good news for British meat and hopefully the Meat and Livestock Commission who I believe take a commission out of every animal sold in the UK, will turn a negative into a positive and actively ensure that the UK consumer knows that the only safe meat is British, therefore ensuring that British farmers get a fair price for their meat, and get their just rewards for keeping within the extremely strict and now somewhat laughable, EU directives.