The yard is back to being busy again as this week the winter holiday horses came back in from the paddocks to begin their journey back to fitness in time for the 2021 turf season. After selling a few privately and a couple of retirements, along with Gas Monkey's sad death last week, we will have a team of 21 horses for the year. This is slightly down on our capacity but hopefully we can get a chance to fill a few stables at the sales over the next couple of months ahead of the new campaign in the spring.
The plan for the horses who are on the comeback trail is to have two weeks on the walker followed by two weeks trotting on the roads before they gradually start cantering again and they'll hopefully be in a position to start galloping by early March. There is a good mix of reliable handicappers and unexposed youngsters who can all get a win by their name, fingers crossed.
The small winter team we have on the go have been busy recently and there were some better efforts from a few of them. Smokey Malone took to the blinkers well at Kempton and stepped up on his previous runs whilst Productive also showed a bit more spark with headgear on and can hopefully build upon this effort next time.
Dilly Rosa caught the eye at Chelmsford on Saturday after finishing fourth and she showed good speed before finding the mile trip a bit too far. A drop back in distance is what she needs. Saray Prince was also in that race and should come on a lot for the run having looked very inexperienced and only getting the hang of things late on.
Smokey Malone is out again sharply this week with two entries. He'll skip the first one at Kempton on Wednesday and go instead to Southwell on Sunday. He showed plenty of early speed last time and that's what you need at this course so hopefully he can handle the unique surface there and run another improved race.
The other entry will be Raha at Kempton on Saturday. She's had a while off since her last run only because there weren't any suitable races but she is fit and fresh for this race. She's unexposed on the all-weather so it remains to be seen if she handles it but I see no reason why she shouldn't.
Apologies if I have missed any of your emails recently as the internet in our office has packed in and we can't get an engineer out to fix it until Wednesday. I can do most emails on my phone but I do apologise for any delays as a result.