What a scorcher of a week it has been and I'm relieved that the hot weather has broken now because it was getting a bit too hot to handle with the temperatures hitting 35c during the week. The team did a great job starting work at 5.30am to try and get the horses exercised before it got too hot. There have been thunder storms across the country but we still haven't had some much needed rain here as the ground is still very firm and where the rains hits will determine our running plans for the week ahead with a few horses entered.
Closest of our runners last week was stable star Gas Monkey who was just chinned on the line at Newbury on Saturday. Jockey Sam was looking for his first career winner and he gave him a near-perfect ride after settling towards the back of the field and then coming through to lead inside the final furlong. The pair looked home and hosed before one horse came out of the pack and just got up in the shadow of the post. We know Gas Monkey doesn't like being hit with the whip and Sam followed his orders to perfection but sometimes it just isn't your day - his day will come soon though.
How many runners we have this week depends on how much rain arrives, particularly over the west of the country.
Paintball Wizard desperately needs soft ground to show his best and he is entered at Bath on Wednesday. They are forecast rain but I don't think they'll have enough for him to run which is a shame as he has been ready for action for a while now.
One who doesn't mind the going is Limerick Lord and he is also entered at Bath that day. It has been a while since he won a race but he still seems in good heart and can hopefully find some form again soon.
Also in need of rain is Oud Metha Bridge who is entered at Salisbury at Friday. He is ready to win given the right conditions so I hope they come for him soon.
I'll have to see how he has come out of his race but Gas Monkey could run again quickly at Sandown on Saturday. It's a 1m2f apprentice handicap at a track he has run well at before so the conditions are ideal but he'll have to show himself fresh and well if he is to run again so soon.
The raceday experience for owners at the track still isn't the same as it was before lockdown but I would start to encourage owners to go to the races now and support their horses. Newbury put on a good spread for those in attendance at the weekend and at least now you get a meal and bar facilities although there is no Tote open for betting. You do have to keep to a designated area but at least you can spend as long as you like there and make a day of it. All you have to do is compete an online Covid module beforehand which can be found here: www.roa.co.uk/raceday/covid19/return/elearning.html