With the new turf season just a week away, you would think we would be starting to see some signs that spring was on its way but sadly not as we have been hit by another cold snap with more snow and ice to contend with. It definitely isn't as bad as the one a couple of weeks ago but there have already been some jumps meetings abandoned because of it. It's mad that on Friday afternoon we were doing the yard work without coats on as the temperatures hit 12c but then the following morning the thermals were back on again as the snow came! As always, the team have gone about their work with little fuss and the horses' care is always put first.
Things are meant to warm up a bit by the middle of the week and that's when we'll be heading to the races.
On Wednesday I have three entries but it's only likely that two will run as Maazel's race looks very competitive and the six furlong distance is probably a bit short for him.
However, Go On Girl will be heading there and she will be attempting to make it back to back wins after forming the first leg of a double we had at the course earlier in the month. She went up 3lbs in the ratings for that which isn't too harsh and hopefully the win has boosted her confidence. She isn't the most prolific winner in the world but she always gives a good account of herself.
Accompanying her will be Lulu Star. She showed promise in maiden races but got rated a bit too high as a result. She will gradually fall to a competitive mark and it is a bit unknown how she will handle the Southwell fibresand surface.
Also running on Wednesday but down at Kempton will be Champagne Reef on her flat debut. She has run in two bumpers and improved a bundle to finish fifth last time but it has been apparent that she doesn't stay well enough to win one of these races so we are dropping her in trip to run on the level. 1m3f will probably be too sharp for her but there are very limited options for older maiden horses so it'll be a run under her belt and will help her qualify for a handicap rating.
Oud Metha Bridge is entered in the Lincoln at Doncaster's curtain raiser on Saturday but looks unlikely to get a run with loads of horses entered in the race. With that in mind, we have entered him at Kempton on Friday and he will go there with a great chance after winning over the course and distance last time. He has really turned a corner since joining us and I hope there is still more improvement to come from him. He went up 4lbs for winning last time but hopefully that won't stop him being in the shake-up.
I know I promised you all the newsletter would be out last week but with Cheltenham on I thought it might get a bit lost so it will definitely be out this week...check those inboxes or sign up via the form on our HOMEPAGE.
THE FOUR TO FOLLOW IS BACK!
I'm delighted to say that the ever-popular 'Four To Follow' competition is back for 2018 and it promises to be bigger and better than ever!
We are proud to welcome our favourite track Great Yarmouth Racecourse as sponsors of this year's event and the lucky winner will receive a table and dining for four people at a fixture there in 2019!
As ever, the rules are simple - pick two horses from Pool A and two from Pool B.
There are 10 points for a winner, 5 for a 2nd place, 3 for a 3rd and 1 point just for running!
To celebrate our partnership with Great Yarmouth Racecourse, this year we are awarding DOUBLE POINTS to all of our Yarmouth runners.
Get your noses in the form book and send your entries to email@example.com
After telling you last week about how hard the team had worked during the 'Beast from the East' to keep the horses in top shape, we were duly rewarded with a memorable day at Southwell on Tuesday.
Neither Go On Gal nor Limerick Lord were remotely fancied by the bookies as they were sent off at double figure odds and I can't say that I thought they would win but (as you could have read in last week's blog) I thought they had a chance of getting a place if in the mood.
Thankfully not just one but both of them were in the right mood and came away with a victory each.
Go On Gal was given a lovely ride by Shelley to nip up the inside turning for home which saved her a few lengths and proved decisive as she only won by a head. The mare and her owners deserved this win as she is so consistent but is forever in a battle with the handicapper. Both her wins have now come at Southwell and there aren't many races left for her there this winter but she has run well on the turf plenty of times so will likely give her gang more fun days out this summer.
It is no secret that Limerick Lord is a bit of a monkey and whether he runs well depends on what side of the bed he got out of but it must have been the best side this time as he showed a great attitude to get his first win in over two years. Owner Steve Clarke has never lost faith in him and enjoys being his owner as he usually gives him a run for his money but has found winning hard. He battled bravely this time and, you never know, this might do his confidence the world of good and he is rated low enough to win again even after a rise in the weights for this success.
We had some good results back at the track two days later as our three runners there on Thursday all finished third.
None were particularly fancied to win but Maazel was probably our best chance and he wasn't beaten far when finishing fast to fill the third spot. He is coming down to a good handicap mark now and is getting back to top form. He is entered at Chelmsford on Thursday and will head there, providing he has fully recovered. He will be dropping back to six furlongs but he has decent form over that trip and the cheekpieces seemed to sharpen him up this time so we'll leave them on.
Oceanus ran a blinder in an extremely competitive race to finish third too and he won't be waiting long to win again whilst Sir Fred showed great improvement from his debut to fill the same spot.
We have another handful of entries this week and hopefully the good form can continue.
It's well known that we don't really like running horses at Chelmsford as we're never very lucky there but sometimes the only suitable races are there, as is the case with Spirit Of Sarwan on Monday. He would have had a big chance at Lingfield last time before it got abandoned because of the snow so we've had to come here. He is on a winnable rating now and I've put the cheekpieces on him to wake him up as he can race lazily. It's a big unknown whether he will like the track as the kickback is terrible there at the moment but I hope he can run a good race.
Majestic Moon has been hard to fault this winter at Southwell with form figures of 43212 and he goes back there on Wednesday after a short break. There weren't any races for him at the course for a while so he's had some time to freshen up and he has come back in great order. He is probably best at a mile so the 7f trip isn't perfect but he should be able to cope with it and the rise in class to give his owners another bit of fun.
Rounding off the runners will be the previously mentioned Maazel on Thursday at Chelmsford, along with Candesta who got into a terrible position at Wolverhampton last week and never got involved. He is much better than that so should be in the shake-up if getting a handy position this time.
Sorry for getting your hopes up last week but the 'Four To Follow' Competition launch has been put back to next weekend as the fine details of it are finalised. It will be worth the wait!
In the meantime, the spring edition of the Harraton Herald will be hitting your inboxes this week so don't miss it! You can subscribe to receive it via the form on our HOMEPAGE.