It was always going to be a busy week for us with plenty of runners on the track and it didn't start off particularly well with Gas Monkey finishing an extremely unlucky fourth at Nottingham on Tuesday when he was hampered not once but twice in the straight. Then the following day, Terri Rules misbehaved in the stalls when favourite at Yarmouth and unseated Shelley leaving the stalls resulting in a hospital trip with a dislocated shoulder for Shelley and a wasted day at the races for Terri.
We were pretty glum and not too optimistic heading into Thursday with five runners across three tracks but our luck thankfully turned for the better.
Highway Robbery kicked off the day in good style when finishing second in a two-year old maiden at Brighton whilst Limerick Lord and Maazel also ran respectably at the same course when both finishing in the prize money.
Over at Sandown, Wilson ran a very promising debut for us when running on into fifth place on his first try over 1m2f. He seemed to stay the new trip really well and will be winning races very soon now that we know more about him.
The star of the day though was Casey Banter who was so brave when winning narrowly at Yarmouth in the pouring rain. After travelling through the race well under Josephine Gordon, she had to battle hard to get her head in front on the line and provide another winner for the N.E.T. Racing Club. We were surprised she handled the soft ground but she appeared to love it so, added to her strong all-weather form, she has plenty of options open to her in the future.
Two more good runs rounded off the week with Amelia George continuing to improve when fifth at Wolverhampton and Lulu Star went agonisingly close to winning when leading all the way only to be caught in the shadow of the winning post at Chelmsford on Saturday.
Now that the rain has finally come a bit more regularly hopefully the great form of the horses can continue as most of them like some juice in the ground.
Hopefully Yarmouth doesn't dry up too much before Thursday because we have three entered that day who all want it soft.
Sir Fred isn't proven in testing conditions but we're pretty sure he will enjoy them. He is very tough and tries his hardest so he should be winning a race soon with those qualities.
Sunset Bounty is another unproven on the ground but we think she will like it so hopefully that sees her run much better than she has been. Her breathing seems good after having it operated on and I would love her to run well for her owners who also bred her.
We know Pitch High loves soft ground and if he has his conditions, he should run a big race. He was disappointing at Newcastle last time but consistency has never been his strong point so we will forgive him that and hope he turns up in good heart this time.
Another mud-lover we have entered on Friday is Oceanus at Nottingham. He has struggled a bit recently on the firm ground but we know he appreciates some ease in the ground so he could bounce back to form. Our amateur jockey Chloe will be having her first ride on him in this race but it is a race for jockeys who haven't ridden more than three winners so it's a great starting place for her. Oceanus is a very sensible ride and I hope they can make a good pairing.
I have some sad news to report for some of you who have been following the yard for a while as I was told this week that one of our former stable stars The Ducking Stool suffered an injury when at stud and had to be put down. She was a legend for us and her owner Tolly McGuinness after winning seven races, six of them at Yarmouth. She had a big following as racegoers loved her big white face and bold front-running tactics. I'm pleased to say that the stud who had her have kindly sold me her first and only foal who is a little filly born in May by Group 1 winner Cannock Chase. She should be joining the yard very shortly and it'll be great to continue Ducky's legacy.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Rita Aspland 117
Dominic Lisle 106
Ged Turley 104
Terry Mortimer 103
Mark Arlidge 100
Tony Peacock 99
Simon Kirk 99
Tony McGovern 96
Chloe Peacock 94
Trevor Fulller 94