All eyes were on the Cheltenham Festival this week and, even though our business is with flat racing, it is always a pleasure to watch the best jumpers around battling it out at one of the world's most iconic racecourses. I do get very nervous watching the jumps action as I hate to see the horses getting injured and it was a relief to see Cue Card get up unscathed after his fall in the Gold Cup at exactly the same fence as last year's incident. On a personal note, I was cheering on jockey Trevor Whelan who was just edged out in the Stayers' Hurdle on Lil Rockerfella as he rides any jumpers we have and deserved a big winner. Ruby Walsh did him on the line but hopefully he won't have to wait too long for a Festival winner.
As nice as it is to enjoy watching the racing at home, there is still racing elsewhere and on Tuesday we were at Southwell with a trio of runners. As expected, Veeraya hated the track's deep surface whilst Limerick Lord ran another solid race in 4th. The credit must go to Go On Gal who notched her seventh 2nd place finish from 15 career runs after yet again filling the runner's up spot. It is highly frustrating that she keeps bumping into one better on the day but her attitude cannot be faulted as she tries her heart out every time. Luckily her syndicate of owners are very enthusiastic and take the results in great heart - she got a cheer as big as the winner when she came back to the unsaddling enclosure!
There has been a bit of a lull in the flat fixture list recently as everyone waits for the turf season to kick off in a couple of weeks so it looks likely to be another quiet week with just a couple of runners.
On Thursday, Limerick Lord will be out in action again at Chelmsford. He is in good heart and we just keep him fresh at home in between his runs as he is very keen when on the gallops. He has gone well at the track before and will no doubt be in the prize money again.
Then on Friday, Spirit Of Sarwan will head to Lingfield in a bid to follow-up his win at the track last month. He struggled at Wolverhampton last time but that was quite a hot race and he should appreciated stepping up to a mile. His homework is never very flashy but the form of his last win is working out well so you would think he still has room in his handicap mark to win again when things fall right.
There is plenty happening at home with a yard full of horses and the turf campaigners are now back in the full swing of things as they up their fitness regimes.
Secret Strategy is an unraced three-year old we bought from Godolphin last year and will hopefully be ready to make his debut at the end of the month. By top sire Kodiac, he has plenty of speed so will start off over five or six furlongs.
The Ducking Stool needs no introduction and she will be back in action at Doncaster's Lincoln meeting in a fortnight's time. She usually needs a run or two to get back to full fitness but it will be great for her and the N.E.T. Racing Club to be back for another season.
Duke Of Diamonds improved markedly last year and he seems to have strengthened up some more over the winter. He needs some cut in the ground and opportunities look a bit sparse for him so we will pick and choose where he goes but he should be in for another successful year.
Pitch High and Tallulah's Quest have been on the comeback trail together after winter break and I couldn't be happier with them.
Pitch showed plenty of promise as a two-year old last year but went very weak towards the end of it and has muscled up over the winter. He has a handicap mark so will be ready to rock and roll next month.
Tallulah never made the track last year as she was too weak in her massive frame but is going the right way now and should be hitting the track soon. She will be even better next year but hopefully we can get some form into her now and can look forward to more things to come.