We were back in action in a big way this week with loads of runners and it was great to get the majority of the team going again after their winter holidays. It was timed well as the horses' owners can now go racing again and it was great to see so many friendly faces at the track even if we can't share a bottle of wine together just yet!
The common theme of all the runners was that they needed their first run back and most of them got pretty tired so I expect them all to take a big step forward next time. You can only do so much at home with them and they are all going to be running plenty this season so I prefer to have the horses gradually come back to fitness rather than have them 100% ready first time and not progress in their later runs. Also with the firm ground, a few of the horses haven't got their ideal conditions but it is better to give them a race rather than another gallop at home as long as the ground is safe enough to do so which it was at Yarmouth and Beverley this week. We've had to skip entries at other tracks because they have been a bit drier or not had as good grass cover so it's not worth risking injuring certain horses.
We have some more entries this week with only one on the turf and that comes at Brighton on Tuesday with Smokey Malone.
He had a productive winter and got a win at Southwell before his batteries ran a bit flat and we've given him a break to freshen up since then. He seems back to his usual self and it'll be interesting to see how he goes on the turf as he hasn't had much racing on it. I'm not sure if the quick ground is what he wants to be seen at his best but there's only one way to find out and the rollercoaster track should keep his busy mind occupied.
We've got three horses entered at Wolverhampton on Wednesday and hopefully they can all get through the ballot to get a run.
Paintball Wizard is five-years old now but has only had seven career races and finally looks like he has matured into his big frame as he has a lot more muscle now than previously. He's off a low mark so hopefully he can start to progress through the year.
Fen Tiger will be having his third career run and will qualify for handicap races after this and that's where we will see him at his best I think.
Dilly Rosa is the third entry that day but she needs a few to drop out to get a run. She showed plenty of speed in her last couple of races and had a good attitude so I think there is a race to be won with her this year.
The final entry of the week is on Thursday with Oud Metha Bridge at Southwell. He has been in flying form for the past fortnight but getting a race into him has been very difficult with the ground too firm at Yarmouth and then at Doncaster on Saturday. This isn't the ideal race for him and he'll only run if there is a small field but he is in too good heart at home to not run him as he really is in a good place at the moment. Hoperfully he'll get a chance to let off some steam at the races soon!