It's amazing how the weather can flip in just a few days as this Saturday saw us digging out the winter woolies to watch the gallops after almost being in t-shirts the weekend before. Autumn has certainly arrived and it seems like winter isn't far away either. The mission at this time of year is to keep the horses wrapped up and to prolong their sleek and shiny summer coats for as long as possible. We are battling against the inevitable though as all the horses will eventually grow a longer winter coat which will need clipping but it's nice to put that off for as long as possible. As much as some pundits like to think this is a sign of a horse's wellbeing, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that a horse runs slower when it has a winter coat compared to a summer one!
The weather will determine where we head with our runners this week with a few entries coming up but unaffected by conditions will be our pair of runners on the all-weather at Kempton on Wednesday.
One Of The Girls ran a lot better when making the running on her third start last time and we'll try to repeat the tactics in a handicap this time. She's up against more street-wise rivals this time so it may be harder to make the running but we will give it a go and see what we can learn about her.
Going to Kempton as well will be War Empress. She ran well at the track last time after six months off the track so she should improve for that outing too. She is ready to win but needs a fast pace to chase and for things to fall her way as she is normally slow from the stalls so has to weave her way through in the finish.
Raha and Divine Queen are entered in the same race at Salisbury on Thursday but there are loads of other horses entered in the race and I doubt they will get a run. We're coming into the silly season now when everyone wants to run their horses before the sales so the races are all oversubscribed. Added to this, the turf meetings are starting to become few and far between so if you want to get a run on the grass it is hard to do so.
I'm pleased to say that the winning run of the horses continued into last week as Engrave got a much deserved first win on her CV at Chelmsford on Thursday. She had run some good races in defeat at this course and on the turf too so a win was not coming out of turn and everything went her way with jockey Dylan Hogan doing a great job in the saddle.
With all the Covid restrictions still in place, it isn't the best experience for an owner at the races win, lose or draw yet but at least owner Carol Bushnell could be there to see it in person. We should count ourselves lucky though as it looks like more and more of us will be heading towards a stricter lockdown so we should appreciate being able to still go racing at least and hopefully owners will be allowed to continue attending for the foreseeable future as their support is essential to the sport.
We had all our runners on one day last week with One Of The Girls also at Chelmsford and she ran a blinder on her third career start. Making the running seemed to really suit her and she can hopefully build upon this now she qualifies for handicap races.
Gas Monkey was elsewhere at Yarmouth in a valuable Class 2 handicap. The pace of the race was very steady and he made his move a bit sooner than ideal before getting tired but I don't think it was the step up to 1m6f that caught him out. I'd be happy to give him another try over this distance when the suitable time comes.
It's another quiet-ish few days for us coming up with just a pair of runners bookending the week.
Spanish Mane is in fine form and will be hoping to win her third race of the season at Leicester on Monday. She is in an apprentice race for riders who haven't ridden more than 10 winners and I think I've done well to book Saffie Osborne who seems to be riding well at the moment. Spanish Mane loves to come late off a fast pace so hopefully things pan out that way again and she can run another big race.
We won't be in action again until Saturday when Winter Snowdrop will also be trying the make it two wins in a row. She won impressively at Yarmouth last time and I don't think the switch in surface to Chelmsford will be a problem as she has form on it in the past. She seems in good order at home so fingers crossed she can put in another good performance.