Of course there's only one way to start this week's blog and that is by paying our respects to Queen Elizabeth after she sadly passed away on Thursday.
I was never lucky enough to properly meet her but I do remember being at Royal Ascot with Emma's Gift running in the Albany Stakes and the Queen had a runner too. The horse's owner Emma Raffan couldn't believe that she was six feet away from Her Majesty! Her precession was always the highlight of the meeting and racing has lost a huge supporter of the sport and I hope that a member of the family can continue her breeding operation in one way or another.
We were at Chelmsford on Thursday evening when the news was announced and racing was subsequently called off. It meant that Smokey Malone couldn't run in the final race of the night but no one had any complaints as it was fully understandable. We missed out on a trip back there with Engrave on Saturday due to more racing being called off but thankfully things are back to normal today. I expect there will be no racing next Monday when the funeral is due to take place.
Before the sad occasion, we had reason to celebrate with Mrs Meader getting her second win of the season at Leicester. She bumped into a good horse at the track last time when second and (typically!) she chose to win this time when her owner Nick had flown back to his home in Hong Kong. He was still delighted though and so was I as it was another winner bred from my old mare Bavarica. She was given a lovely ride by Sam and hopefully she can win another while there's some soft ground about.
This week kicks off with a trip up north to Thirsk on Monday as we hunt some soft ground for Fen Tiger to run on. He has been running well recently on quick conditions and the all-weather but he is a much better horse when he can get his toe in so hopefully he'll get back to winning ways, granted luck in running as it is a very big field.
It's the three-day festival at Yarmouth this week and, although we'll be missing the first day, I have some other entries there starting on Wednesday.
Heer's Sadie and Initiate have both been wanting some soft ground so it means that they run against each other in the same race but both are at different stages of their career.
Heer's Sadie needs to get back into winning ways after some below par runs recently and she is handicapped to do so. Initiate on the other hand might be a bit high in the weights but I hope this soft ground can see her run better.
Another who should like the softer ground is Queen's Company and she is at Yarmouth on Thursday looking to back up her great run there last time. It's taken us a while to figure her out but seven furlongs with hold-up tactics seemed to bring out the best in her last time so hopefully they work again.
We'll also be at Chelmsford that day with Engrave. It was a shame that her race on Saturday was cancelled as it was perfect for her and this one is a bit higher grade. She always runs an honest race though so should still be in the mix.
Rounding off the week on Saturday will be a trip down the road to Newmarket with a pair of runners.
Lady Clemmie was a bit naughty last time on just her second career run so the plan this time will be to get her to enjoy her day and try and do things the right way. She'll be a better horse next year and this race will qualify her for handicap races.
The Mouse King will be having another go on turf after his good form on the all-weather recently. It remains to be seen whether he is as effective on the green stuff but there's only one way to find out.
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