It's a trip I look forward to every year and I was very keen to set off on mine and John's annual trip to Dingle races in the west of Ireland. It hasn't been without incident though.
Missing a flight is something most people have done but I must be one of the few who have missed one even though I was at the airport! We all got to Stansted in plenty of time and I bumped into jockey John Egan who was also off to Dingle. After a good chat, I realised the others had gone on so John and myself queued up at what we thought was the right gate. When we got to the front of the queue, the steward told us we were in the wrong place and by the time we got to the right gate, our plane had gone!
After a bit of a panic, we got on a later flight to Cork and then had a long taxi ride to Dingle. By the time I got there, the others were well 'watered' and had settled in nicely by the looks of it!
The major races are taking place today, some of the runners we bought for my pony trainer friend in Ireland.
Needless to say, it hasn't stopped raining!
Whilst Ross has kept things going at home while we're away, I haven't missed any runners as we have nothing entered until Thursday.
That day we could have Pitch High at Beverley as he bids to back up a great second place at Leicester last time. One mile on a stiff track seems to be his optimum and he will get just that here. He is up in grade slightly but is more than capable of running well off his current rating.
We also have a pair of entries at Yarmouth on Thursday.
We have found that Best Example seems to enjoy running from the back of the field and his last two runs have been his best for us. He doesn't find much off the bridle but will be seen to best effect when they go a fast pace a fade at the finish. He has come down to a good mark and should be thereabouts.
Also beside the seaside is Tallulah's Quest. She went very close to winning on handicap debut before getting lost in the soft ground at Lingfield last time. Firmer ground here will see her in a better light and I hope she can go close again.
On Friday we have another load of entries across the country.
Close to home at Newmarket, Casey Banter will be having her third career run. She is improving with experience and this will qualify her for a handicap race next time.
Candesta hasn't shone recently but he is coming down in the weights now and usually comes into winning form towards the end of the summer.
Further afield at Wolverhampton, we have a pair of entries.
Terri Rules was a bit unlucky at Brighton last week when she was squeezed on he rail and went from first to last in a few strides. She ran well on the all-weather the time before that so hopefully she can have a bit more luck this time.
Secret Strategy has struggled in handicaps since winning a maiden but he is gradually coming down to a mark he can be competitive off. He ran well on the all-weather earlier in the year so he shouldn't have any worries in that respect.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADER BOARD
John Chalklin 64
Ken Campbell 63
Ros Taylor 63
George Evans 60
Clare Peacock 60
Kevin Case 55
J Rogers 50
Trevor Mather 49
Christine Sparham 49
John Tucker 49
Whilst you shouldn't wish your time away, I'm very much looking forward to this weekend as it sees John and myself make our annual trip to Dingle in the west of Ireland for the country's big pony racing meeting. Over the years we have sourced a number of small racehorses for our friend Tommy in Ireland to run in these races and he has done very well with them - this year he is hoping to have three runners at the meeting.
There is a good group of us going and the people are so friendly that it's always a great time...even with the inevitable rain!
Before that though we have a busy week.
On Tuesday, Dakota City heads to Doncaster sales and he goes there as a fit and sound horse who should give someone plenty of fun in more races. We have done well with him but he hasn't been showing much interest in his last few races so a change of scenery should perk him right up. He is related to some good jumpers too so could do well over hurdles, something we have not tried with him.
Then on Wednesday we go to the races proper and will be hitting Brighton's three-day festival hard with a load of runners.
On the opening Wednesday, we could have up to five runners, depending on who gets in their races.
Sure to get a run are Silver Alliance and Go On Gal. Silver showed some more life at the track last time and the unique nature of the place seems to bring the best out of him as he is getting a bit lazy in his old age. He'll have the blinkers back on and can hopefully come with a late run.
Go On Gal has run some of her best races at the course too so I hope a return there can see her bounce back to form after some unusually below-par runs from her. She is in good form at home so I don't see why she shouldn't.
Also a likely runner on Wednesday is Terri Rules. She has run two good races since being switched to handicaps and the step up to six furlongs looks ideal after running on over a furlong shorter last time. How she handles the track is a bit of an unknown but she seems pretty versatile.
One horse who loves the place is Spirit Of Sarwan and hopefully he can get a run in the Brighton Mile that day. This has been the aim for him for a long time as the uphill finish really suits him. He will have a pair of cheek pieces on to wake him up and I hope our belief in him can pay off.
Our fifth and final entry on the first day at Brighton is Limerick Lord. He has done really well physically since having a spring break and his first run back on soft ground was pleasing enough. The track should suit him, as will the step up to seven furlongs. Should he not get in, he is also entered there the following day in a similar race.
Also entered on Thursday and sure to get a run is Majestic Moon. He loves his racing and has been kept busy this summer. Unfortunately we had weather more like winter at Ascot last week and the soft ground really didn't suit him. It should be a bit firmer at Brighton this time and he will run his usual honest race, if handling the track.
I must say a big thank you to Chris Shirran who arranged a very fun and entertaining quiz for N.E.T. Racing Club members at Yarmouth last week. He came up with some Club-related questions that not even I knew the answers to and it was rather fitting that Maureen Case was the winner of the inaugural Kevin Case Memorial Trophy. Great work Chris and hopefully we can all do it again next year.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
John Chalklin 63
Ken Campbell 61
Ros Taylor 61
George Evans 59
Clare Peacock 58
Kevin Case 55
J Rogers 50
Trevor Mather 49
Christine Sparham 49
John Tucker 48