Summer jumping `ridiculous'

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The Independent Online
Josh Gifford blamed summer jumping and moderate racing for the plethora of small fields after saddling Yorkshire Gale to win a two-horse race at Cheltenham yesterday. Gifford said fields will not improve while the racing programme, which now includes summer jumping, caters for moderate horses.

He said: "These races cut up because there are not enough good horses to go round and never will be while the powers-that-be look after moderate horses. If they stopped summer jumping, it would help racing in the autumn. Even in the days of Arkle there were three- or four-runner races, but the public came to watch because there were good horses to see.

"I've got Major Summit but nowhere to run him. He must either take on the big boys, which he is not ready for, or carry top weight in a handicap. There are not enough races to educate nice young quality horses. There are more horses than ever, but they are bad ones. My moderate horses have won more times this year because I can't find races for the better ones."

And he added: "Summer jumping is the most ridiculous thing to have happened to racing and, as for all-weather racing, who wants it? The jockeys cover their faces with masks but what about the poor old horses who have to suck in all the dirt and sand?"