With only one runner last week, I had a good chance to enjoy Royal Ascot in all its glory and, as a racing fan, it is a joy to watch the world's best racehorses battle it out for top honours at such a magnificent racecourse. As many of you will know, I am not one for dressing up but after a bit of persuading, I put my best dress and hat on to support Shelley who was riding in the Wokingham Stakes on Saturday. As she likes to remind everyone, Gay Kelleway is still the only woman to ride a winner at the meeting so it would have been a shame to miss the day had Shelley won but it wasn't meant to be this time.
One thing that does annoy me at the big meetings is the segregation between enclosures. If you want full access to the track you needed about three different badges to get about and the number of times you get stopped to check your badge is ridiculous. I'd be all in favour of just having one big enclosure for everyone but I guess the racecourse couldn't charge the sky-high prices it does for the top enclosures if it did this.
We just had one runner and that came on Saturday as Majestic Moon put in another great effort to finish second at Lingfield behind an easy winner. We were worried the ground might be a bit too firm for him but he still ran a great race and seems to thrive on his racing. He is entered at Chester on Friday and will go there as long as he seems well enough at home before then.
Before that we have a good few chances heading to the races.
On Tuesday, Secret Strategy will be trying to bounce back from a disappointing run last time when travelling to Brighton. He has won at the course before so has no worries in that respect. He ran a lifeless race last time for no reason so hopefully he can come back in top form.
Also down on the south coast will be Little Orchid. She too has good course form and the small field will suit her. Ross would normally ride our runners in amateur races but the weight was a bit too light for him so we have booked Will Pettis who is the leading jockey in arab racing this year and is good value for his claim.
Also on Tuesday we have Avocet running at Leicester. She has a lot of ability but a lot of attitude with it so getting her fully fit hasn't been easy but this will be another run under her belt and the step up in trip is just what she needs.
Friday will see Limerick Lord back in action after a break and he seems to have come back as well as ever. He started to feel the effects of a busy winter when last seen but has freshened up now and can hopefully give his owner a good deal of fun this summer. I imagine he'll need the run but he does go well fresh.
We will also be over the other side of the country on Friday with a pair of runners at Chester. As already mentioned, Majestic Moon might make a quick reappearance there and I think the track will really suit him as he seems better when racing around a bend. The draw is very important there though, particularly as he is a front-runner, so fingers crossed he can get lucky in that respect.
Accompanying him will be Gas Monkey. I wanted to run him at Lingfield at the weekend but the ground was too firm so I hope Chester's conditions will be a bit softer. Most of our two-year olds show signs of inexperience on their debut and I expect him to be the same but he has been doing all his homework nicely so hopefully he can show some promise for the future.
Rounding off the week will be Tallulah's Quest at Lingfield on Saturday night. She makes her handicap debut and I think the handicapper has given her a fair rating so hopefully she can start to get competitive.
Don't forget we are hosting a yard barbecue for owners and staff to attend next Sunday from 6pm. It will be a very informal affair but anyone is welcome and it'd be great to see you there...hopefully the weather plays ball!
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Ken Campbell 51
Ros Taylor 51
George Evans 50
John Chalklin 50
Trevor Mather 41
Kevin Case 41
Julia Feilden 40
Annette Hall 38
Eileen Turner 38
J Rogers 38