The news we all thought would eventually come finally did come last night with the announcement of another lockdown in England. It is disappointing to have to do this again and it is going to kill off so many businesses but if it is what we have to do to save lives and protect the NHS then it has to be done. We are waiting to hear how the annoucement affects horseracing directly but the good news to come straight afterwards is that the sport falls under the 'elite' banner which means we can carry on behind closed doors as we have been since June. The thing we're all wanting confirmed though is if owners will still be allowed to attend and hopefully this will be clarified early this week before the lockdown begins on Thursday.
We've all got to stay positive and the good thing about horseracing is that there is always something to look forward to in the immediate future and we have plenty to keep our fingers crossed for this week with some good chances at the races.
Monday sees us head to Kempton with two runners and first up will be Oud Metha Bridge. He has been a bit disappointing this season but he has had various excuses and his rating has fallen as a result which means he can now run in a grade he hasn't done in a long time. We are also claiming 7lbs off his back with the useful apprentice Tyler Heard so he has a lot going for him if he is in the right mood.
The other runner that day is Fen Tiger who will be having his second career start. He was well beaten in a hot Newmarket race on debut but he showed promise there and this will be a bit more experience for him before he goes on a winter holiday to strengthen up for next year.
On Tuesday we will be at Southwell when our amateur jockey Sam gets to have another ride and he should have a good chance aboard War Empress. She hasn't managed to win a race yet but you can't fault her consistency and she put in another good effort when third behind a handicap snip at Newbury last time. She has come out of the race well and has form on Southwell's deep surface so she should be in the prize money again.
Productive is entered at Kempton on Wednesday but I highly doubt he will get a run with over 50 entries in the race.
Sam will be in action again on Thursday this time aboard Gas Monkey as he has his last run of the year before heading off on his winter holidays. Monkey has found life tough this year after four wins in 2019 but he has run some good races in defeat and the handicapper has dropped him slightly in the weights too. Hopefully the pair get some luck in running and I don't see why they shouldn't be in the mix.
As well as Monkey, the N.E.T. Racing Club will have another runner this week after Engrave joined their ranks. She was a good winner at Chelmsford last time and seems to be improving at the moment so she will be a fun horse for Club members to follow this winter. She heads to Chelmsford on Saturday and should have a great chance if getting a decent draw.
Despite a global pandemic and economic crash, the price of horses hasn't been affected much and trade at the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale this week was remarkably strong. I do think we managed to get a couple of bargains early doors however and on the morning of the first day's sale I picked up two unraced two-year old from Simon Crisford's yard, both of which were recommended to me by the assistant trainer. The filly called Cabrini will race in the lucky red and green silks of Adrian Sparks when she returns from her winter holidays in the new year whilst the gelding called Saray Prince is ready to kick on with and he has taken to his new surroundings very well. I am yet to finalise the details but he will be available for syndication so please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.