Duke Of Diamonds has thrived this year and he made it two wins on the bounce with another cosy success at Doncaster on Friday. Labelled by one of our staff as 'the slowest two-year old I've ever ridden', Duke has benefited from being given time by his owners Carol Bushnell and Jon Kinge and he is now thriving at the age of four. He is still lightly raced and is versatile with regards to ground and distance so hopefully there is more to come. His half-brother Camberley Two won six consecutive races a few years ago and I'd be happy if he could do at least half of that amount!
I reluctantly celebrated my 60th birthday this weekend and thank you to everyone who made it a great night. It is also John and mine's 20th wedding anniversary so I suppose we had to do something together and he has booked us four days on a boat in the Norfolk Broads, leaving on Monday. Typically, there's loads happening at home with the July sales and runners but there's never a good time to go away and we'll be back on Thursday. Ross is at the helm and we usually have a winner when on holiday so hopefully the same can happen this week.
We have a fair few horses entered this week, starting with Kemsing at Wolverhampton on Tuesday. He is also due to be sold at Tattersalls on Friday and it was the owner's idea to run him in the hope that he can go into the auction ring with some recent form. All Kemsing's wins have been on Southwell's unique surface but he gallops well on polytrack at home so Wolverhampton's similar surface should be fine.
Valley Lodge is a completely different horse on soft ground, as shown by his narrow defeat at Haydock last time. Unfortunately, he has been entered at Lingfield for the past two weeks and each time the meeting has been switched to the all-weather due to waterlogging. He is entered there again on Wednesday and, with the course still underwater, it looks like he may miss another engagement as he just isn't as good on the all-weather.
The Ducking Stool bounced right back to form with a great second place last time and that came just at the right time as she now returns to her beloved racecourse Yarmouth on Wednesday. She has won five times at the seaside track and the long straight seems to suit her perfectly. It remains to be seen how the leveling of the turf affects her but it shouldn't pose too much of a threat and I hope she can make her fans happy.
Another old timer who sparked back to life last time was Silver Alliance and he heads to Newbury on Thursday with a great chance. The blinkers helped him travel much better on that occasion too so we will leave them on and hopefully he can time his challenge just right.
Mungo Madness is the first foal out of the Raffan's star mare Emma's Gift and he is now ready to hit the racecourse. He has taken a while to mature mentally more than physically but he has come on a tonne in the last month and a trip to Newmarket on Friday will do him the world of good. It's likely to be a hot race and I'm sure he will improve for the experience.
I don't like to over-face my horses too often but I can't see any harm in Spirit Of Sarwan taking his place in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. He will probably have a lot of improvement to find on the ratings but the owner wanted a big day out and he has won already this year so he is more than entitled to have a crack at a big pot. Some useful horses have won the race in the past but there's plenty of place prize money on offer and we will try to nick some of that whilst having a good day out.
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THREE TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Jonathan Kinge 52
Annette Hall 46
David Haddrell 39
Barbara Walton 37
Maureen Case 34
Anthea Telford 34
Pauline Kennedy 32
Jean Allen 30
Chris Shirran 30
Gay Chalklin 30
Dudley Lever 30