You know the turf season isn't far away when the Jockey Club opens up the grass gallops in Newmarket for the first time of the year and that was the case this weekend as the horses could do some faster work on the green stuff after a long winter.
Anyone who has been on the gallops with us will know that we are spoilt with miles and miles of grass gallops which are kept in pristine condition by all the Heathmen and I'm sure the horses enjoy the change of surface after so long on the all-weather tracks over the cold months.
We have quite a team for the upcoming season and they are all not far away from being fully fit now. A couple have already had a run just to get them in tip-top shape. There is a good mix of old faces and young, unexposed types so hopefully we can have a winner or two from amongst them.
Keeping the ship going over the winter have been a handful of horses and the most reliable of the lot has undoubtedly been Sea Shack who collected a bit more prize money at Chelmsford on Friday night. Since being bought for just £800 by David Haddrell of Koya Equine in September, he has been placed five times with two of those being in second position. He deserves to get his head in front but is usually vulnerable at the finish as he tends to make the running. Hopefully he can get his reward soon.
Boxatricks was another to rattle the till this week with an encouraging comeback third at Kempton on Wednesday. I thought he would need the run after some time off but Shelley had him in a lovely position at the front of the race and the others found it hard to peg him back. He should be in store for a successful year now he is back in business.
This week will be a quiet one as flat racing takes a four day break to provide jockeys with some time off. After the flu outbreak and the boycotts of recent weeks I didn't think they needed any more time off but I doubt they saw any of those things coming. Sadly all of us working in the yards can't have such a luxury as the horses still need to be exercised and looked after!
We have a couple of entries at Newcastle on Friday but I will have a good look at the declarations before deciding whether to go as I would only travel all that way if I thought they both had a chance of winning.
Keep your eyes peeled because this week we will be launching the 2019 "Four To Follow" competition. which will have its own dedicated page on this website with up-to-date leaderboards. Once again, Great Yarmouth Racecourse have provided an excellent first prize and there will also be a runner-up prize this year too. All the details will be in next week's blog as the competition starts on Monday 1st April.