It is no doubt a false dawn as we're only just into February but things have felt a bit more spring-like this week with some milder weather and the grass canter opening on Warren Hill. I'm not putting the winter woolies away just yet though as February can be a cold month but on the plus side it is getting a bit lighter in the mornings which makes things feel much nicer.
Sadly no joy for us on the track this week with Stintino Sunset running another good race in defeat at Kempton on Wednesday evening whilst Zany Idea and Arpina were a bit disappointing at Chelmsford the following day.
N.E.T. Racing Club members all received an email update after Zany's race which can be found here if you missed it:
This week looks a quieter one runners-wise with entries towards the end of the week.
Engrave has come out of her Newcastle win in great form and only went up 2lbs in the ratings so she is entered at Chelmsford on Friday. She is racing in a higher grade but we know she loves the track and it should be a small field of runners so hopefully another good run is likely.
On Saturday we have two entries at Lingfield.
As mentioned, Arpina ran below-par last time but the hold-up tactics probably didn't suit her and 1m2f might not be her best trip so dropping back to one mile on a course she has ran well at before can hopefully see her fare better.
Owner Steve Clarke will be doubly represented as Stintino Sunset also heads to the Surrey venue. She has been banging on the door and will win when things drop her way. Hopefully that day comes soon as she is a tough and genuine filly.
We don't make many raids up north as far as Newcastle but we tend to be lucky when we do go and Engrave took the journey with no fuss when winning at the track on Wednesday.
As she was in an early afternoon race, we made the five-hour trip up there the day before so she had the evening to settle in and get some rest. Bonnie the pony shared the horsebox with her so she had some company.
We were one of about five other yards who had done the same thing and I must thank Newcastle racecourse for looking after us very well and making both horses and humans feel very comfortable.
Engrave was in fine form the next morning and was very boisterous in the parade ring which is always a good sign with her.
Ross gave her a lovely ride and timed things just right to win by a neck.
It was Engrave's sixth career win but her first away from Chelmsford so it's good that she has got that monkey off her back and the success also got the yard on the board for the first time in 2023.
Hopefully we can nick another win in early February as we have a few runners this week.
Stintino Sunset is entered at Kempton on Wednesday and she has definitely shown enough form recently to deserve a win. She wasn't beaten far last time when things didn't go her way so she is capable of going better if getting more luck.
On Thursday we have a couple of entries at Chelmsford.
Zany Idea will be having her third career run which will qualify her for handicap races so this will be another bit of experience for her before she can get competitive once she has a rating.
I entered Arpina at the last minute because there weren't many entires in the race. It was hard to tell if she stayed the 1m2f trip last time so we'll give it another go at a track she likes and see if it is worth persevering with.
Rounding off the week will be Smokey Malone at Lingfield on Saturday.
He has had a short break to freshen up after a busy time and is back happy with himself. He might need the run fitness-wise but he is ready to go close if things go his way.