Unbelievably Christmas is here once again and as ever it is a busy time in the yard.
It also provides us with the strangest two days of the year - no racing on the 24th and 25th December means that there is no racing to watch in the afternoon so I have to put up with daytime TV and it's safe to say I'm not a fan of Homes Under The Hammer or similar programs!
The work doesn't stop on Christmas Day as the horses still have to be cared for and there is plenty to do with the staff enjoying a well-earned break. We will be riding a few out over the festive period too as there are a few runners around that time, more of which will be said later.
The team all had a good knees-up at the weekend with the yard Christmas party in town and everybody had a great time. The secret Santa present-giving was as hilarious as ever and a game of charades where you had to impersonate another member of staff didn't cause any fights!
A massive thank you must go to those of you who contributed to paying for the party, it is extremely kind of you and is much appreciated by the team. I'm sure you know how hard they all work in sometimes difficult conditions so for them to have a good night out is much deserved. Thanks also go to those who have dropped off wine and food for us in recent weeks. I can say with confidence that the wine won't go to waste!
Before we can dig into our turkey next Monday, there are still a handful of runners to hopeful bring us some Christmas cheer.
On Thursday we will probably have three runners.
At Southwell, Candesta and Limerick Lord are entered in the same race which will hopefully divide so they won't run against each other. Candesta ran an OK race at the track last time and probably wants a bit further but he is handicapped to win now.
So too is Limerick Lord but he has his own way of doing things and trying to catch him on a going day isn't easy.
The same day at Chelmsford we will run Pitch High. He was a winner at Newcastle before finding the extra distance a bit too much at Wolverhampton last time. The step back down to 7f is ideal and I think he will run a big race. It is an amateur race and, with Ross away, we have booked the highly promising Jess Cooley for the ride.
Go On Gal has entries on Thursday and Friday but the latter day would be her first choice and it will be her first run since winning in the summer. We gave her a break after that to save her for Southwell fixtures this winter as she seems to do best at the track. I think she will improve for the run but she is in good order at home and is sure to give her enthusiastic owners another run for their money.
Although not definite, we could be busy in the days after Christmas as a hectic time for racing kicks in.
On Boxing Day, Maazel may make his debut for us since being bought from Roger Varian in the autumn. He has settled into the yard very well and will be plenty fit enough for the day. He was second when last seen on the racecourse but may just be a bit too high in the handicap at present. He is a lovely and tough horse though who will give the N.E.T. Racing Club some great days out this winter and into 2018.
It is not too late to buy a N.E.T. Racing Club membership as a Christmas present and I'm delighted that many of you have done so via our OWNERSHIP page already. You can pay safely and securely on there and I will then send out a membership pack to whoever you wish.
Wolverhampton race the following day on 27th December and we could have a pair of runners there. Best Example looks like a horse ready to win when things go his way and he will be hoping for a strong pace and luck in running this time.
Lulu Star may also be going there and it will be her first run for us since being bought from Richard Fahey's yard. She is a sweet little filly who has had just one run to date and will be one to watch in handicap races next year.
We will be back with another blog post on Wednesday 27th December so I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and I hope you get everything you ask for as well as enjoying some quality time with friends and family.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD (ends 31/12/17)
Julia Feilden 99
John Chalklin 99
Kevin Case 93
Christine Sparham 92
Clare Peacock 92
Colleen Pyrke 91
Paula Smith 90
George Evans 90
Trevor Mather 89
John Tucker 88