The team is now in full flight and it has been great that they've mostly been hitting the ground running in good form but you always need a winner to reassure yourself that they are in top health and thankfully we got that this week when Smokey Malone notched his fifth career win, this time at Southwell.
He always wins a race or two every year and he had been coming back to form nicely after a short winter break. He isn't the easiest to ride as he needs a lot of kidding along but jockey Dylan Hogan gets on great with him and he managed to stick his nose in front when it mattered to win by a neck.
For all a yard needs exciting youngsters to keep the dream alive, horses which can be relied upon to win you races every year are hard to find so for that we thank Smokey and his loyal syndicate of owners.
Our raiding party at Yarmouth on Saturday was a bit smaller than originally looked due to the ground turning soft but we still had four runners there and there were plenty of good showings.
Scotch Mist ran a very nice race to finish fourth after 18 months off the track and she seems to be in one piece afterwards so hopefully she can build on this and can reward her owner's patience.
Spanish Mane is usually a bit fat for her first run of the year so it was great to see her run above our expectations when finishing fifth later in the day. She wouldn't like the soft ground either but she needed a run to blow away the cobwebs and this would have done just that.
Lady Clemmie was the disappointment of the day. The good news was that she behaved at the start and went into the stalls but she was outpaced for most of the race so we will step her up in trip and maybe put some blinkers on to help her concentrate.
We still have a few to run this week, starting at Windsor on Monday.
Macho Son surprised us with how well he ran on his seasonal comeback last time and he clearly loved the soft ground so the damp conditions at Windsor shouldn't be a problem. He has come out of the last race bouncing so fingers crossed he can put in another big run.
On Wednesday we head to Kempton with two entries.
Savannah Song has been a late maturer but is ready for a race now which will be a big experience for her and should be good for her development.
Queen's Company's wintered well and can hopefully build upon her successful end to 2022 with another good run. It took us a while to figure out how to train and ride her in races but we seem to have her worked out now so hopefully that leads to a consistent and fruitful 2023.
Saturday sees us with a couple of entries including Heer's Sadie at Brighton's first fixture of the new year. She has been showing signs of coming back to form over the winter and it won't take much for her to go close to winning given how lowly she is rated now. The track might bring out a better side of her so hopefully she can show some form.
The other entry on Saturday will be Alibaba at Nottingham. He has had to miss a couple of engagements recently because the ground has been too soft but the forecast this week is a bit drier so fingers crossed he can run. He'll likely need the race again having had almost two years off the track before his recent comeback but it will be another step towards being successful again for him.
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