I'm delighted to say that the winners have kept flowing into the backend of the turf season and it was Divine Queen's turn to get her first career win at Windsor on Monday. It was a perfect reward for her owners who have been very patient since we bought her from James Tate last autumn. She is a very well-bred filly but was big and backward as a two-year old so she is one horse who definitely benefitted from the lockdown as it gave her more time to develop. The wet autumn has helped a lot too as she handles soft ground really well and everything came together perfectly last week with jockey Tyler Heard doing a great job in the saddle.
We've got to make the most of the current soft conditions with the horses who like it as the turf season is drawing to a close and opportunities are drying up. That means that Divine Queen will be in action again on Tuesday as she is declared for Yarmouth. She hasn't been reassessed by the handicapper so carries a 6lb penalty but I don't think that should be a problem and hopefully she can go in again.
Raha will be going racing that day too and will also be bidding for back to back wins. She is a big filly who needed the run badly first time after her holiday and she improved loads to win at Salisbury last time. I think she will have improved a little bit more since then too so fingers crossed she can go close as well.
Wednesday sees the debut of two-year old Fen Tiger at Newmarket. He has taken a while to mature and will be an even better horse next year so this run will be very much for education and then we will put him away for a winter break.
Joanna Vassa didn't run too badly on her debut for us last time and she goes back to Chelmsford on Thursday. The trip was a bit sharp for her last time so stepping up to one mile will help and she should be a bit sharper having had a year off before her last run.
As I said earlier, fixtures on the turf are coming to an end so that means we will probably run War Empress and Paintball Wizard in the same race at Newbury on Friday. Empress didn't have much luck at Newcastle last week when she was held up off a muddling pace so hopefully they go a stronger gallop this time. Paintball Wizard run much more encouragingly last time and we will try the positive tactics with him again and see if he can last home.
A busy week rounds off with two entries at Chelmsford on Saturday.
Winter Snowdrop had a terrible draw and could never get a good position last time so you can ignore that run. With some more luck this time hopefully she can reproduce the form of her win the time before.
Productive will hopefully have his first run for us that night too. We bought him in August and have had him gelded since then which has made him much more focussed on his work. We will learn plenty about him from this run but hopefully he can show some promise.
Newmarket has been a busy place over the last fortnight with the yearling sales in town and, looking at the figures, you wouldn't even think there is a global recession as the prices stayed high and there was plenty of money changing hands for young horses. We will be looking to buy a couple of horses for syndicates at the horses in training sale in two weeks time but I was more than happy to buy two yearlings for owner Carol Bushnell and they have settled in well. Both are grey (obviously!) with a strong colt by first season sire El Kabier and an athletic filly by Juddmonte's Time Test. They will begin their pre-training on Monday and there can be plenty of dreaming of what they might achieve over the winter!