I'm sure most of you went back to work this week with a groan and I don't blame you after having such a long holiday. The festive period made life a lot easier for us as the roads were virtually empty and not once did we get stuck in traffic which makes getting to and from the races a lot less stressful for both horses and humans.
It wasn't just the office workers who were back into their day jobs as a lot of our horses who have been on holiday since the end of the last turf season came back into exercise this week and they seem very happy to be back in the swing of things. As some of them have been eating and sleeping in the paddocks for the past couple of months, they have got pretty unfit so their schedule now that they are back in training is a gradual one, starting with two weeks walking followed by another two weeks trotting before they get to canter again, starting short and steadily before building things up with the aim of racing again in March.
With only about ten horses race fit at the moment, we're not expecting to be racing too much in the coming weeks and that shows this week as we don't have any runners. Having said that, the following weeks we will have five horses racing so it does go in fits and starts and means we have been doing plenty with them on the gallops.
We saw in New Year's `Day with Candesta and Limerick Lord in the same race at Southwell but neither could show their best with Limerick getting crowded which he doesn't like and Candesta was still feeling the effects of his win at the course just a couple of weeks before.
It would have been nice to kick off 2019 with a winner but we'll just have to wait a bit as, like I said, we haven't got any runners for a week or so. I do expect the year to be a busy one though as we are full to the brim with horses - 30 in total, all of which I certainly think are capable of winning at some point in the year so we have no excuses (for now!).
Some of you may have seen the very sad news this week that one of our yard favourites Silver Alliance sadly passed away after getting kicked by another horse whilst on retirement in a paddock at the British Racing School. It is a very unfortunate thing to happen and just goes to show that horses can get through a career in racing no problem but you put them in a field to enjoy themselves and serious accidents can happen. Silver was unforgettable with his near-white coat and he did extremely well for his syndicate of owners, winning ten races. The most memorable success was at Brighton in 2015 when the sea mist had come in as it does at the seaside venue and it was so bad that the meeting was almost called off. However, they ran Silver's race and the only thing anyone could see was the horses jumping out of the stalls and then the final furlong where Silver was ten lengths clear! Adam Beschizza won on him that day and said he felt like a `group horse - probably because he couldn't see where the winning line was for once!