I'm afraid that last week's blog wasn't much use to anyone who likes to find winners in our yard as I didn't even think we'd be going to Salisbury on Thursday, never mind having a winner!
At the entry stage it looked unlikely that our two entries would get a run but just a couple of days later, the two races on the course's round track were abandoned due to unsafe ground which meant that more of the races on the straight track could be divided, including ours. This panned out well because it meant that we could run both Divine Queen and Raha without them running against each other and, as another plus, the rain came in time for their preferred soft ground.
The long trip down to Salisbury came the day after a late night at Kempton where War Empress ran another creditable race to finish third and Divine Queen was probably our best chance on paper, even though she was a 12/1 shot. She ran much better than that to finish a close fourth after looking the winner a furlong from home before running out of puff. I think six furlongs on soft ground is probably her optimum so I'll try and find those conditions for her next time to hopefully get a win out of her.
Raha was sent off an even bigger price at 28/1 despite only having one run this year when understandably she needed the run. She was a lot sharper this time and travelled through the race easily before wearing down the leaders to win by half a length. It was another much-deserved winner for owner Reyaz Farook who has been very patient in giving this big filly all the time she needed to fully mature and he has now been rewarded with a progressive horse who should win again.
We don't go to Salisbury very often and this was the first winner I have trained there so it's nice to still be ticking off milestones even after 20 years of training!
You don't need me to tell you that there has been loads of rain about recently and most of the country has seen its fair share this week. It means the ground is very soft across the board and that will affect our plans in the coming days.
I have three entries at Nottingham on Wednesday but the ground has gone heavy there so none of them will be declared to run as they wouldn't enjoy it.
Chelmsford on Saturday looks more likely but Joanna Vassa still needs to get into the race as she is rated quite low. It'll be her first run for us since switching stables and I'm looking forward to seeing how she goes. She has been galloping with Raha so she should be better than her current rating and she seems to have enjoyed life at our yard. We'll learn more about her after this but hopefully she can show some promise.
Alibaba will be given an entry at Goodwood on Sunday and hopefully conditions should be ok for him. He likes soft ground but wouldn't want it heavy as he is only a small horse. He has had a good season with two wins on the board so the handicapper might have him in his grasp now but he has a great attitude and might still have a bit more improvement left in him.