With just one runner this week, now seems like a good time to introduce you to our squad of two-year olds for 2018. With the annual hotly-contested 'Four To Follow' competition starting next month, many of you will be keen to know which youngsters to have on your side. If that's the case, I doubt I will be much help!
Certainly the biggest of the bunch is Paintball Wizard (Mastercraftsman x Dance Avenue). He is a very flashy chestnut and must have caught someone's eye at the foal sales as he made 70,000 euros. However, the current trend for early, sprinting types meant that he wasn't so popular when returning to the sales ring a year later but, luckily for us, he is just the type owner Carol Bushnell loves and he will flourish in years to come over staying trips if given time to mature now without being pushed too hard.
Reverting to type, Carol also bought a grey horse at last October's yearling sales. Named Highway Robbery (Dick Turpin x Minty Fox) he looks to a much sharper type than his stablemate and should hopefully be making the racecourse in the summer. He comes from a family full of winners so hopefully he can continue the tradition.
Another early-looking type is the filly by Paco Boy x Amy Winehorse. A group of existing owners have got together and formed a syndicate to own her and are currently in the process of deciding a name. I bought her as a foal from Tattersalls and even at that stage she looked like she would be a precocious type. She had to start her pre-training a bit later than the rest but she has soon caught up and will probably be top of the class in a month's time.
Purchased from the same foal sale was Raha (Mukhadram x Cefira). She was an absolute tank when she was younger and she has grown into an even stronger horse now. She looks like she will need a bit of time to grow but I could see her running before the end of the summer and she could be sharp enough to be making an impact at that stage. She is such a kind filly, all she wants is a cuddle! She will race in the orange and white silks of Ahamed Reyaz Farook.
Completing the line-up we have a couple of homebred horses.
Dell's Boy is by Epaulette who made a great start to his stud career with his first runners last year and he is out of the mare Bushy Dell who won loads of races for us. He was only born in June though so is quite a late foal and needs some more time to mature. He is going about his early work with a great attitude though.
The other homebred is out of our prolific mare Bavarica and by Cityscape, making her a full sister to Gas Monkey. She too will race for the N.E.T. Racing Club and she looks likely to be out in the autumn as she is a lot taller than her brother and may need some more time to fully develop. She looks a nice type though.
There will be at least one other youngster in the yard by the time the turf season kicks off as we will be at the breeze-up sales this spring looking for a two-year old to buy and syndicate. We have come away with some nice horses from these sales in the past so hopefully that will be the case again.
Back to the more immediate future. As already mentioned, we have just one racecourse representative this week with Oceanus at Southwell on Tuesday. We have been wanting to run him over hurdles again but the ground has been too soft for him. He ran very well in the circumstances to finish third on the flat last time and if he can repeat that performance on his first try at Southwell, I think he has a good chance. He is a great horse to train as he is so versatile and has a great attitude so he definitely deserves to get his head in front again.