Thankfully last week was a quiet one for us runners-wise which gave us a chance to build the Ark we will soon need if it doesn't stop raining! There hasn't been a single day in the last two weeks when it hasn't rained and everywhere is pretty soaked with all the grass gallops now closed because they are too soft. Usually we are one of the driest parts of the country so it was a big surprise to see Chepstow in Wales go good to firm in places yesterday - a tale very much of to halves in this country at the moment. The weather has definitely affected running plans with no declarations from us being made at Nottingham and Goodwood last week because of the heavy ground.
Very surprisingly, it is also heavy at Yarmouth and that is very rare considering it is a sand-based turf track which normally drains very well. I've got four runners there on Monday and I think they should all handle the conditions but you never really know until the day. One who I thought wouldn't like them is new boy Productive so he will have to wait a bit longer to make his debut for us, probably on the all-weather.
Kicking off Monday's runners will be stable star Gas Monkey. He has been the braidmaid all year with three second places but did run well in a Class 2 race last time. He is up against some unexposed three-year olds here which won't be easy but he always tries his best and you never know what might happen on this ground.
One horse who has won on soft ground is Oud Metha Bridge and everything looks primed for him to run a big race. He is a bit quirky and a lot does depend on which side of the bed he gets out of but he seems in good heart at home and is down to a winnable handicap mark now so things look in place for him to go well.
I don't know how Valletta Sunset will handle the ground but I hope he can put in a bit more effort than last time when even Hollie Doyle in the saddle couldn't get him to show any interest in racing. He'll be wearing cheekpieces this time and he's had a pop over some hurdles at home to wake him up since then so hopefully that can get him more motivated and show the ability we know he has.
Completing the quartet of Yarmouth raiders will be Spanish Mane. Again, I don't know if heavy ground will be to her liking but she has won in softish conditions before so it is worth a go. She has had a great time of things recently with three wins on the board and anything else will be a bonus. She likes the course and still seems well in herself so fingers crossed she has a bit more improvement left in her.
As if that wasn't enough, we also have Divine Queen at Windsor on Monday. The big 'if' though is if racing actually goes ahead as the ground is heavy there too but anymore rain will likely see things abandoned as it does flood easily at the Thames-side track. If racing does take place, she should have a great chance judged on her last run where she looked the winner before not quite staying the seven furlong distance. Dropping back to six furlongs here looks ideal.
There is a back-up plan with Divine Queen though as she is also declared for Newcastle on Tuesday, again over six furlongs.
Also going up north will be War Empress who has shown ability on her most recent starts and looks ready to win when things go her way. She needs a fast pace to chase and some luck in running so I'm hoping the uphill finish at this course can see her coming with a late rattle.