Anyone who knows me knows that I always have my heart in my mouth when watching jumps racing as the risk of injury is so much greater than on the flat so it was great news to hear that all the horses came back safe from this year's Grand National.
Despite all the horses taking part living the life of luxury and being treated like superstars everyday of their lives, it only takes one accidental fatality to trigger the anti-racing mob to speak up and sadly their voices are often heard the loudest. Happily, a horse hasn't been put down in the race since 2012 and Aintree racecourse have to be congratulated on the efforts they have made to improve horse welfare at the track.
The result was another fairy tale one with One For Arthur landing the prize for jockey Derek Fox who was only passed fit to ride earlier in the week after a nasty fall. It was great too that another female trainer could add her name to the winners' list so well done Lucinda Russell!
After a juttering start last week, the turf flat season gains a bit of momentum this week with a good few fixtures which we will hopefully be at a couple of.
On Tuesday, Silver Alliance goes up to Pontefract, a course he has won twice at in the past. He has had a break to freshen up a bit and will probably need the run but he is one who is never the easiest to predict so a good run isn't out of the question.
The following day Candesta has a couple of entries but he will most likely head to Nottingham, providing the ground is good or faster. He too has had a short break after a successful winter campaign but it does mean he is pretty high in the weights now and his best form has never been on the turf. He did win at Beverley in the autumn though so maybe he can continue his improvement.
Ross and I were in attendance at Ascot's breeze-up sale this week and, after watching the 99 lots gallop on the racecourse on Tuesday afternoon, we were delighted to come away with two lovely fillies from the auction the following day.
Owner Dick Creese has been with me since the day I started training and his loyalty has been unwavering. He had picked out a horse in the sale beforehand but we thought it would probably be out of our budget. However, maybe fate was on his side as he managed to buy that very filly and was delighted to do so. As a former owner with the now retired Peter Harris, Dick was very familiar with the filly's family, it containing many of Peter's best horses and that is what made him so keen on her. With that in mind, Dick has named his filly Aldbury Lass after the village where Peter used to train.
Whilst Aldbury Lass will probably prove to be better when she is stronger as a three-year old, our other buy looks an out and out two-year old type. By leading sprint sire Camacho, this bay filly put in a lovely breeze and looked very professional down the Ascot straight. Built like a tank, she should hopefully make waves this year and will run in the colours of yard sponsor Ray Treacy. Ray has given her a great name in Terri Rules, paying respect to our good friend Terry Rule who passed away earlier this year. Hopefully she can do him proud.
Newmarket kicks back to life after its winter hibernation in a week's time with the Craven meeting. Hopefully we will be represented with a couple of runners with Spirit Of Sarwan likely to run in a mile handicap there.
The meeting will also see the long-awaited debut of three-year old Tallulah's Quest in the Woodditton maiden. She has come back a much stronger horse from her winter break and her homework has been very nice. She will definitely improve for the run but it'll be great to get her on a racecourse.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Julia Feilden 14
Caitlin Wells 13
Annette Hall 13
Tina Skinner 12
John Birkett 12
Clare Peacock 12
Dave Morris 12
Rita Aspland 12
Chloe Peacock 12
Tessa Stone 12
Brain Pyrke 12
Martin Godfrey 12
John Tucker 12