Happy New Year to all and I hope you had a good time celebrating it too. John and myself headed down the lane to a friend's house for a lovely dinner but I couldn't go too wild as my New Year's treat was a trip to Southwell with Limerick Lord! It was clear to see that most trainers had given their staff the day off as I've never seen so many of them leading up their own horses!
2016 was a fantastic year for us with our highest number of winners and amount of prize money since our best ever tally for both in 2010. The horses were in flying form last winter and spring and could do little wrong. All this would not be possible without the loyal support of all my owners as well as the hard work day in, day out from the team at home. I thank you all!
It would be brilliant to try and beat that total this year but I'm not sure we will have quite the same ammunition early on as we had a lot of well-handicapped horses 12 months ago. Horses always surprise you though and we certainly won't miss out for lack of trying!
Some of my favourite pictures from 2016:
Southwell was our first trip racing of 2017 and it will be our second too as we have two runners entered there on Thursday.
Limerick Lord has been running OK at the course recently without setting the world on fire. His best trip looks to be 7f but there aren't any races so we'll keep him to a mile, a distance he has won at before.
Valley Lodge is another who didn't look to stay a mile last time so the drop to 7f should be perfect for him. The cheekpieces seemed to work well last time as he was much sharper in the early stages and I think he could run well.
Saturday could be a busy one with three horses entered at two different meetings.
Dakota City seems to run a bit flat over 1m4f so I think the step down in trip to 1m1f will be ideal as his turn of foot might be more effective. He has been very consistent but suffers as a result with a high rating. He should be thereabouts however.
At Lingfield, Critical Thinking could make a quick reappearance after his run there last week when finishing 5th. He will be stepping up to a mile but I don't think that's a problem and he is capable of winning a little maiden race.
Joining him will be Go On Gal. She was desperately unlucky not to win on a few occasions last year and she never got going last time. It is clear that she has the ability to win a race and hopefully her enthusiastic owners won't be waiting too long.
I'm delighted to report that shares are selling fast in our lovely Arakan two-year old with 60% gone already. He has been doing everything we ask of him with minimum fuss at the moment and his calm temperament should stand him in good stead for when we up the ante and the two-year old races start in April. He is still unnamed so anyone who is part of the syndicate is welcome to make suggestions.