Our latest sponsorship deal with My Purchasing Partners announced just last week got off to the best possible start as the first horse to go racing in all the shiny new sponsored gear was a winner!
Critical Thinking was sent to us from a friend in Ireland with the objective of winning a race on the all-weather and then trying to sell him in the Spring.
Racing in the red and yellow of N.E.T. Racing Club, he had shown promise in a handful of starts and was unlucky not to win a similar race last month. Stepping up to 1m2f seems to have brought out improvement in him as he sat patiently at the rear of the field before nipping up the inside. It wasn't completely straight forward though as his passage was blocked with a furlong to run and he had to switch right but still had enough in the tank to quicken and win cosily. It was great that young jockey Finley Marsh could ride us a winner as he is a talented young lad who could do well this year and I will certainly be trying to make the most of his 7lb allowance.
It was also my nephew Sam's first winner which he has lead up so it was a memorable day all round!
As Critical did win quite impressively and he was running in a claiming race, it was no surprise that he was bought afterwards by trainer Kevin Frost. It was a shame to see him go but, as I said, that was the plan from the beginning. It does mean that the N.E.T. Racing Club is a horse short as we always make sure they have four horses under their banner so I will be working hard over the coming weeks to find a worthy replacement.
With a couple of winners on the board for February, hopefully we can keep the ball rolling and have some decent chances this week.
On Tuesday, Go On Gal will again bid to end her hoodoo and finally win a race. In 13 career runs she has finished 2nd on six occasions but it is through no fault of her own. She tries very hard but has always bumped into a better horse on the day. You never know beforehand what might come out of the woodwork but she seemed to like Southwell last time and will be giving it her all as usual.
Accompanying her will be Mungo Madness who also ran well on his debut at the course last time. He has paid the price with the handicapper for some promising maiden runs but is slowly coming down to a level he can be competitive at.
Then on Thursday we have another pair of runners, starting with Dakota City at Lingfield.
He has been struggling to get his head in front over middle distances recently so we're stepping him up to two miles in the hope that his turn of foot will be a bit more effective against slower horses. He settles very well so should save enough energy to see out the trip but you cannot be sure until you test his stamina on the racecourse.
That same day over at Kempton, Cuban Queen will be bidding to bounce back from a couple of below-par efforts. We have figured out she is very claustrophobic and really doesn't like being around other horses. This isn't ideal for all-weather racing where they race in a tight bunch but we will try and drop her out this time and come with a run down the outside. She'll need to be good to pull off these tactics but she is better than what she has shown recently.
Then rounding off the week on Friday we have another pair of raiders in Spirit Of Sarwan and Valley Lodge.
Sarwan got his year off to the best possible start when winning a valuable three-runner race at Lingfield last time and the handicapper only put him up 3lbs for it. He was quite tried after his run but we have freshened him up at home and he is now back in top form. He heads to Wolverhampton for a similar race and hopefully he can pull off a similar result.
Before that, Valley Lodge runs at Lingfield. He hasn't matched his career best in the summer when just touched off at Haydock but he is falling in the weights and should eventually find his feet again.
Our annual 'Three To Follow' competition has always been a popular event, creating friendly rivalries and offering a cash prize to the winner. I'm delighted to say it's back for 2017 and now is your chance to enter.
BUT WAIT...for this year we are giving you the chance to earn even more points by making it a 'Four To Follow' competition!
The rules are simple - pick two horses from POOL A and two horses from POOL B and email your selections to email@example.com
10 points will be awarded for each race won, 5 points for a 2nd place and 2 points if your horse finished 3rd. Also, all unplaced horses will receive one point.
The competition starts on Monday March 6th so get those thinking caps on and send your entries in!