We had to batten down the hatches on Thursday night in preparation for Storm Eunice on Friday which promised up to 80mph winds from early morning. With this in mind, we planned to not ride any horses out and had them all go on the walker for exercise. As it turned out, I think we could have ridden a couple of lots out quite safely as the high winds didn't arrive until lunchtime but it was always best to err on the side of caution.
Thankfully we only had a few branches come down and no major building damage apart from the front gate coming off but unfortunately my new bird aviary took flight and the four birds I have were set free. Two of them were hanging around nearby for a while before the wind carried them away and I have sadly not seen sight of any of them since.
The wind also wreaked havoc at Chelmsford where we were meant to be on Monday with Arpina. Apparently the stewards' tower blew down and left the track unsafe for racing so it was called off at the declaration stage. Fingers crossed they can sort it out quickly and we can go racing there at the weekend.
Before then, Chelmsford regular Engrave heads to Southwell on Thursday. She ran a great race at the track the time before last and looks like she is capable winning somewhere but Chelmsford where all five of her career wins have come. She always runs a game race so is sure to give us a run for our money again.
Then we will have a trio entries at Chelmsford on Saturday.
Smokey Malone was an easy winner at the course last time and the 4lb rise for that in the weights isn't too harsh. He does need things to go his way as a hold up horse but jockey Dylan Hogan knows him very well and can hopefully make things work.
Fen Tiger has been banging on the door himself recently and ran a solid second place at the track last time. He'll be seen at his best on soft turf ground but can put some form together before then on the all-weather and could even win a little race in the meantime.
The third entry will be new purchase Initiate. She has settled down well into our routine after initially being quite buzzy. She needs one more run to qualify for a handicap rating and we will learn plenty about her from her initial run.