The last month has seemed to go on forever for our apprentice jockey Shelley Birkett but she finally managed to ride her 95th career winner this week and in the process 'rode out her claim'. Only a handful of apprentices manage this feat each year and I think she is about the 16th female rider to do it in the history of the sport here in the UK. Just over half of those winners have been for us so it was very fitting that she could hit the milestone aboard Wilson at Lingfield.
Obviously I was very proud of her for achieving this and it doesn't seem too long ago that she rode her first winner on Bavarica at Folkestone. I can remember it well - I led her up! At the start of the year Shelley jokingly said she would retire on the spot when losing her claim but now the ambition has shifted to riding 100 winners so she'll be around for a bit longer yet!
It was also great to get a win into Wilson having bought him in the summer from Luca Cumani. As a brother to Oceanus, we though he would stay a bit further but it turns out that he is best at seven furlongs and the drop back to that trip saw him at his best. He is owned by a great syndicate of owners and he can hopefully give them plenty more days in the winner's enclosure.
Hopefully Shelley can start life as a fully-fledged professional this week with some decent results as we have a few for her to ride.
Majestic Moon goes to Southwell on Tuesday and I hope he has a great chance. He has had a bit of a break recently with a winter campaign in mind and we know he likes the track after winning there last season. He will come on for the run but he is certainly fit enough to get involved.
Then on Wednesday it might turn out that we run Sea Shack and Maazel against each other at Lingfield. Sea Shack has a few entries that day but the selling handicap looks the best option for him. He joined us in September and has needed plenty of work to get fit as he is a burly horse. He will improve for the run and we should learn plenty about him from this. Maazel, on the other hand, has been with us for a while and is plenty fit enough. He has been disappointing recently but his rating has fallen as a result and his work at home has been the best he's ever done for us so hopefully his attitude won't get in the way and he can start producing some results on the racecourse.
Rounding off things will be Telekinetic at Chelmsford on Thursday evening. This will be her third run on the flat so she'll qualify for handicap races after this and they will probably see her to better effect.
We'll also be at Ascot sales on Monday as Our Cilla goes through the auction ring. She has had a frustrating year due to the lack of her favoured soft ground but I think she'll make a nice hurdler for anyone in the market for one. She is very sound and stays well so should do well in that sphere. She gave her owner Carol Bushnell a lot of fun last year with two wins on the board and I'm sure there is more to come from her too.