It has been a manic week for us with a few runners as well as Tattersalls' yearling sale taking place from Monday - Saturday.
We were both buying and selling with Mungo Madness' full brother going under the hammer on behalf of his breeder and he found a home with a well-known breeze-up consignor so it is great that we will be able to see him in action at the breeze up sales next spring when he will be looking a proper racehorse.
On the other side of things, we also came home with a horse as Carol Bushnell bought a lovely and big colt by top-class sire Mastercraftsman. Like all her yearling purchases. he will need time to grow and strengthen and will likely be seen at his best as a three year old. One shock though is that he is a flashy chestnut as Carol has always had greys before but, as she says, at least he'll be easy to see in a race!
Our runners last week were a mixed bag with Gas Monkey showing plenty of ability in his third career run at Brighton on Monday whilst Oceanus never got out of second gear when meeting loads of trouble in running the same day. Candesta was another without luck as he could never get competitive from a wide draw later on in the week.
Hopefully things go more our way this week as we have plenty of runners hitting the track.
On Monday three go to Yarmouth, headed by My Name Is Jeff who will be bidding to make a winning handicap debut. He is a big and tall horse who has needed time to grow. I thought his handicap rating is a bit high on what he has achieved but he should be capable of winning off it, providing the ground isn't too firm for him.
Another well-handicapped one there will be Gatillo. He goes like a train at home but hasn't shown the same on the track. We've always thought he wants soft ground so the quicker conditions are an unknown.
Completing the trio is Mungo Madness. His best form is at Southwell but there aren't any meetings there for a while so he will be trying to get some form on his page before heading to the sales at the end of the month.
Elsewhere on Monday, Sunset Bounty will be having her second career run at Windsor. We gave her a break after she went very weak in the spring and she has done well for it but will need this racecourse experience.
We have a pair of entries on Wednesday.
Best Example was in fine form before a slow pace caught him out at Chelmsford last time. He drops back to 1m4f and Lingfield should suit his hold-up style. He has gone a bit long in his coat as most have at this time of year but he seems in good form.
Pitch High is at Kempton that same day and he needs to up his game after a couple of disappointing runs recently. We have put them down to a calming supplement he was on which was obviously too effective so hopefully now he is less chilled out!
Our Cilla has been the surprise package of the season with two wins and a third from her last three runs. She will be bidding to extend the good run at Catterick on Saturday and I don't see why she shouldn't. She has gone up in the handicap as a result of her successes but she is an unknown quantity who could keep on improving on soft ground which she loves.
Rounding off the weekend will be Majestic Moon on Sunday. He has gone close to winning this year and really needs to get his head in front to boost his confidence. Taking him to Southwell is a big unknown as horses either love or hate the track's surface but he isn't very good at the other all-weather tracks so we're hoping this is the one he does like.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Julia Feilden 91
John Chalklin 88
Clare Peacock 82
Paula Smith 81
Colleen Pyrke 80
Trevor Mather 78
Geoff Walton 77
John Tucker 77
Ken Campbell 76
Ros Taylor 76
Brad Dines 76
With the Arc at Chantilly coming and going last weekend, the big races are slowly being ticked off the list which signals the end of the turf season. The summer seems to be over in a flash and the winter is a long drag but, with year-round racing, there is never a dull moment in the yard.
We will still be making the most of what remains of the turf season as a few of ours like a bit of soft ground.
Two who fit that bill are Oceanus and Gas Monkey, both of whom will be travelling down to Brighton on Tuesday.
Gas Monkey is still a big and weak two-year old who will improve for some time off to strengthen up. This will be his third career run to qualify him for handicap races and that should see him in a better light next year. He should run respectably but it's a competitive race.
Oceanus on the other hand will be one of the favourites for his race and for very good reason after finishing second and first on his last two runs. Both of those were over 1m2f on soft ground at Brighton so the course and distance holds no problems for him, I just hope the hike in the weights he has been given for that success won't be enough to stop him from scoring again. Incidentally, his full brother called Wilson will be running in Gas Monkey's race so hopefully it can be a family double!
We don't seem to have much luck around Chelmsford but one thing I have found is that you need to have a low draw and a handy position to do well. Avocet almost pulled off a shock there when coming from near last to finish third the time before last but a lack of pace last time meant she was found out for speed. She returns to Chelmsford on Thursday and can hopefully get the luck she needs to win. She has loads of ability but isn't always inclined to show it!
Rounding off the week on Saturday will be a pair of runners at Kempton.
Casey Banter ran well to finish third at the track last time and she came back from there full of confidence. The low draw helped that day and hopefully she will get one again. She should be bang there at the finish if so.
Candesta has been a little disappointing recently but we galloped him in a visor on Thursday and he flew up the hill so hopefully that will wake him up enough to return to form.
(Thanks to Steve at SGG Photography for the above photos)
Regular readers of the blog will know I'm keen to photograph any unusual birds we get at the yard and they seem to frequently flock in the fields. The turn this week was of a woodpecker who we can usually hear in the trees but never get to see...until now!