The weather finally broke this week and so did our run of bad luck as the rain fell and we were back in the winner's enclosure.
We moan when it's very wet and cold but the long dry spells can be just as bad with courses getting firm ground and the Heath can get very dusty too. Our paddocks always need a sprinkle of water so a rain shower here and there never goes amiss. I don't know if it's just me but the weather seems to be all or nothing in recent years - long dry spells followed by intense rain showers.
Smokey Malone ended the yard's dry spell by winning his second race of the year and he couldn't have been more impressive at Nottingham on Monday. It was his first try at 1m2f but he cruised through the field and never looked likely to run out of stamina after quickening away to win cosily. Having been a real pain to train as a youngster, he has now turned into one of our toughest and most consistent horses.
Vying for the title of most consistent would be the week's other runner Alibaba as he got another podium place finish at Newmarket on Friday. We were hoping the rain would arrive in time and it came the night before so the ground was perfect for him. He's a bit high in the weights after two wins last year but continues to run his best every time.
We have a busy week on paper but not every entered horse will run due to various factors.
Already confirmed are Party Planner and Mrs Meader on Monday and Tuesday respectively.
Party Planner has shown glimmers of promise but has been disappointing on the whole. She likes to be held up off a fast pace and she should get that this time at Wolverhampton so hopefully that can see her run one of her better races.
Mrs Meader went very close to winning at Newbury last time and the step up to 1m4f at Brighton could be what she needs to help her win. You never truly know if a horse will handle Brighton's undulations until you go there but she is a well balanced filly who I think will handle it.
We have three horses entered in the same race at Kempton on Wednesday but Heer's Sadie won't run and the other two will probably be balloted out.
Thursday sees a whole load more entries but again they won't all be running.
I'll wait to see what the handicapper does to Smokey Malone's rating on Tuesday morning before deciding whether to declare at Leicester as it won't be worth running under a 6lb penalty if he doesn't go up that much in the handicap.
Paintball Wizard is also entered there will likely be balloted out.
Cabrini looks a more likely runner at the same course and it'll be interesting to see how she fares on handicap debut. Her third run last time was her best but it meant the handicapper took no chances and gave her a rating of 68 which I think is a bit high to start with. There's only one way to find out though and hopefully she has a bit more improvement in her.
Arpina is Thursday's other runner closer to home at Newmarket and I'll wait to see what the race looks like before running plus the weather looks unsettled before then so the ground could go either way.
There's a meeting at Yarmouth on Friday and we will be well represented as per usual.
Queen's Company has been very easy to deal with since we bought her at the breeze up sales last month and she is ready for a run now. Like most of our babies, she hasn't been hammered at home so it will be a big learning curve for her but I hope she can show promise for the future.
Dilly Rosa ran an eye-catching race last time when making up ground from the back of the field and she drops in class for this race so could get a bit closer. I think she handles any ground so the unsettled forecast isn't a worry.
One who wouldn't want too much rain though is Spanish Mane in the last race of the day. She dodged a race this weekend at Lingfield because of soft ground so I hope she can take her chance as she is in great form at home and has dropped to a winnable handicap mark now. It's an apprentice race but we have booked Laura Pearson who is fresh from her Royal Acot win last week and will hopefully be in the saddle for us this time.