Next week's chilly weather forecast might disagree but it finally feels like spring is in the air with the Craven Meeting at Newmarket last week. It's the time of year when we start to see some of the best horses around come out of their winter hibernation to hit the track again.
Things have definitely stepped up in the yard as we had two lots of gallopers to put through their paces this Saturday and I'm pleased to say all went well, more of which later.
The Wood Ditton Stakes is usually one of the best maidens around and this year's renewal looked no different with some nicely bred horses from the big yards making their debuts. We too were represented and represented well after Tallulah's Quest put in a very pleasing performance. Although she only finished 11th of 14, what was most pleasing was the way she traveled through the race and was one of the last horses off the bridle before getting tired up the hill. We knew she would improve for the run and she is one to follow in handicaps later this year.
We will really be in full swing the week after next with a whole host of runners but this coming week looks to be a bit quieter with a trio of entries.
On Monday, Dakota City heads to Windsor for their ever-popular evening fixture and I think he has a great chance. He has been banging his head against a brick wall on the all-weather but can run on the turf off a slightly lower rating. He has never won on the green stuff but should have done last year when he was unlucky at Yarmouth. He does need a good pace to chase but, if he gets it, he should run well.
Then on Wednesday, hopefully Spirit Of Sarwan can get a run in the handicap he is entered in at Epsom. He won a Class 3 race at Lingfield in January but things look a bit tougher now on the turf as the big yards bring out their unexposed three-year olds. He has won at Brighton so should handle the unique course and remains in good heart so hopefully he can stick it to them.
Completing the week will be Secret Strategy at Chelmsford on Thursday. He has finished second in both of his starts to date and on both times he bumped into a highly-rated odds-on favourite. It looks like he'll find another too good this time as well but it is a valuable race for the grade and he will get a handicap rating after it so he will run if healthy enough.
Avocet and My Name Is Jeff are both big horses who are steadily coming to the boil.
Avocet has had three runs in France and we were very happy with the rating of 55 which the handicapper gave her. We still need to find her best trip but she showed good form around a mile in France so we may start off at that kind of distance.
Jeff is unraced but will be making his debut soon. We haven't got him too revved up at home and he is one who will be improving with every racecourse experience.
We have had a good sort out of our two-year old gang to see who is ready to kick on with and Gas Monkey along with Terri Rules both showed themselves keen for some faster work.
Terri Rules is the Camcho filly we bought from the breeze up sales in Ascot and she should be sharp enough to start over five furlongs in the coming weeks with a few more gallops under her belt.
Gas Monkey was bred by myself and is the second foal out of our tough mare Bavrica. He is bred to need a trip but does his work very easily and may be seen on the track when the six furlong two-year old races start next month.
I'm pleased to say that The Ducking Stool is now back to her usual self after pulling a muscle in behind which saw her miss a couple of races. It's typical now though that the ground is too firm everywhere to run her!
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Julia Feilden 19
Annette Hall 18
John Tucker 17
George Evans 16
Geoff Walton 16
Brad Dines 16
Ken Campbell 16
Ros Taylor 16
Eileen Turner 15
John Chalklin 15