It has seemed like forever but I am delighted to finally say that we can welcome owners back to the yard and the races when the latest restriction ease on 29th March. It has seemed very quiet over the past few months without any visitors allowed and owners are the lifeblood of the sport, without whom there would be no racing so it is only right that they can start to enjoy their passion again.
For the next couple of weeks there will only be allowed two owners per horse at the races without any catering but that increases to six people from the middle of April, all being well. It obviously isn't as good as it was but it sure is a lot better than not being allowed to go at all and things can only improve.
It will be great to have you all back in the yard in the mornings too and everyone is welcome to come from Monday onwards. Please let us know when you are coming as we do need to be sensible with the numbers and not get in any trouble or put anyone at risk. Masks aren't essential but please observe correct social distancing.
The ease in restrictions also means the return of amateur sport, including amateur jockeys' races. Although many would have been disappointed to miss out on the chance of riding at the Cheltenham Festival, they can now look forward to Aintree as well as the upcoming turf season.
Our amateur jockey Sam has just completed two weeks' training at the British Racing School to qualify for his apprentice jockey's licence which he passed with flying colours. Hopefully this means he'll be a steal when having one last ride as an amateur at Wolverhampton on Saturday. The apprentice licence takes a couple of weeks to process and be granted so this is a good chance for Sam to get back in competitive action. He will hopefully be riding Valletta Sunset who has more than enough ability to win a race in this grade but he has been pretty disappointing since making a promising start to his career. We're stepping him up to 1m4f here in the hope that he can travel round well and have a bit of a finishing kick.
Before then, our other runner for the week is likely to be Engrave at Chelmsford on Thursday evening. She has had a good and consistent winter with a couple of wins and plenty of placed efforts. The course and distance holds no worries for her so she should be competitive again if getting a low draw which is crucial around this track.