John and I came back to a misty and murky Newmarket this morning after a lovely week in sunny Tenerife and it was great to see the horses looking so well.
We just had one runner whilst we were away - Attain finished 3rd at Lingfield - and it was surprise that he was claimed afterwards by Lambourn trainer Archie Watson. I know horses who run in claiming races are vulnerable to being bought afterwards but it was a surprise someone was willing to pay £6000 for a horse who will be turning eight years old in a couple of weeks. He won a seller last year and didn't get a bid afterwards for the minimum of £3000! He will be missed in the yard and by his owners the N.E.T. Racing Club but hopefully we can find someone to fill his shoes. He was a great servant to the yard with seven wins and I'm sure he will add a few more successes to that in the future.
Looking to this week, we are straight into action with Best Example at Lingfield on Sunday. He has been troublesome in the stalls recently so I hope his work at home with expert Steve 'Yarmy' Dyble will see him better behaved and break from the stalls on good terms. He has the ability to win in this grade and hopefully he can show some promise for the future. We gave him a jump over some small hurdles this week just to freshen him and give him something new to think about.
The following day Candesta heads back to Chelmsford in a bid to go one better than last time. He seems to run well at the track and has hit a rich vein of form since having a summer break. He isn't miles ahead of the handicapper but hopefully he can put in a good performance.
Limerick Lord is definitely a 'horses for courses' performer as his best efforts seem to come at Southwell. He struggled last time though in a higher grade but a return to his normal class should see him fare well there on Tuesday. He isn't a regular winner but shouldn't be far away.
A new ruling brought in by the BHA meas that horses rated above a race rating can be entered in a lower grade (eg. a horse rated 61 can run in a 0-60 handicap). This works great in practice but actually trying to make the most of this ruling is proving very hard as those higher rated horses are also first to be balloted out if the race is over-subscribed. This is the case with Go On Gal and Little Orchid this week who are both entered under these circumstances in various races. If either should get a run, hopefully they'll do well as both are in good order at home.
Many thanks to everyone who has dropped off presents to the yard before Christmas, all the sweets are much appreciated by the staff and wine by myself! It was great to see loads of you on the gallops this morning and we will be working as usual next Saturday on Christmas Eve so you are more than welcome to pay a visit.
If I don't see you before then, I hope you all have a great festive period and get all the presents you wished for!