We had a bittersweet taste of victory this week when Winter Snowdrop got a much deserved win for herself and owner Carol Bushnell at Yarmouth on Monday. The happiness was dampened somewhat as behind us a horse fell and sadly broke a leg for trainer Amy Murphy who is a good friend of ours and a lovely person. These things happen to us all and it is the sad (but thankfully rare) downside to flat racing. However, you can't take the win away from Winter Snowdrop and it turned out to be an easy success under apprentice jockey Tyler Heard.
Last month we managed to have a Yarmouth/Windsor across the card double and we almost pulled it off again as Alibaba finished second down at the Thames-side track. He was beaten a fair way by the easy winner but it was reassuring to see that horse win again later in the week under a penalty so the form obviously isn't too shabby. Alibaba has improved loads since lockdown and hopefully there is a bit more to come from him still.
We had our own bit of sad news this week with the retirement of yard favourite Wilson. He galloped last Saturday but was lame after he had his shower so we had the vet x-ray him and it turns out he has a fracture in his fetlock (ankle). It will heal with time but it would always be a weak point if he was to run again so the owners took the sensible decision to retire him. He is a great character and a lovely ride so I'm sure we won't have any trouble finding him a lovely retirement home when he is fully mended.
Also on the sidelines for a while is Shelley who finally had her shoulder operated on on Tuesday and now the long road to rehab begins. She knows it is all worth it though as it will hopefully make her shoulder a lot stronger and stop it dislocating all the time.
There have been no races for amateur riders since racing resumed after the lockdown but they are back this week and there are plenty of them in which we will be represented.
Sam is eager to get riding again and he will be on board Sea Shack at Lingfield on Tuesday. He needed the run on his comeback last month when the ground was also a bit firm but there are no worries of that here on the all-weather. The pair have a good draw so hopefully they can make a fast start and get a prominent position.
Also on Tuesday we have Divine Queen at Wolverhampton. I was disappointed with her handicap debut at Leicester last time but the ground might have been a bit too firm for her and she probably didn't stay the one mile trip so dropping back to 7f on the all-weather looks ideal here. I just hope she can show a bit of promise.
There's an amateur race at Kempton on Wednesday and Ross gets his chance to ride on Noble Account. It is no secret that he is a very talented horse who doesn't try very hard so I hope an amateur contest and Ross in the saddle might see him to best effect.
Going with him to Kempton will be One Of The Girls who has her first run for us. She was originally bought by her owner to go pony racing in Ireland but she grew too tall and she has now been given a chance to run under rules. I imagine life will be tough against good horses in novice races but she should be competitive in handicaps later down the line.
Rounding off the week will be Gas Monkey at Newbury on Saturday. It is the amateur race he won last year when it was restricted to lady riders but this year it is open to all so Sam gets the ride and I think his 7lb claim will be a big help as Monkey will be carrying top weight. He ran a great race when second last time and looks ready to win again when things go his way.