It would be the honest truth to say that Our Cilla cannot beat a horse at home on the gallops and her owner Carol Bushnell sees it with her own eyes on the gallops every weekend but thankfully the three-year old comes alive on the racecourse and yesterday at Lingfield notched her second win from her last three runs.
Whether it's the soft ground, the blinkers, running over 1m6f or all three, I don't know, but luckily she shows bundles of improvement at the racetrack and looks a fast-progressing filly. Chloe rides her out every morning and does a great job as Cilla can be a handful at times.
Milly Naseb is a good match for the excitable filly as she keeps very calm on her and takes her time at the back of the pack before making a move in the home straight. With soft ground looking set in for the remainder of the season, hopefully the pair can give us a few more surprises.
The win kept up the great run of form the yard has been showing over the past month or so to make it eight winners for the year - half of which have come in the last four weeks.
Hopefully the good stretch continues into this week as we have a raiding party of four runners heading down south to Brighton on Monday.
Unfortunately Gas Monkey has had to be withdrawn due to a leg infection but a little time off will see him back to full health.
First up will be Oceanus. He was a head away from winning over course and distance last time and the horse which beat him then takes him on again off 2lbs worse terms. All looks in place for a big run so hopefully he can reverse the form.
Next up will be Brighton regular Limerick Lord. A mile on soft ground was a bit too much for him last time so the step down to 7f will suit more, however the soft ground again won't be much of a help. He needs luck to run well but is well handicapped now and ran a great race the time before that.
Third to go will be Majestic Moon. He struggled in a competitive sprint at Doncaster last week so things should be a bit easier for him here. He too is on a great handicap mark and is ready to win.
Rounding off the day will be Appease. He got his head back in front on his second run for us at Yarmouth last time but, despite a rise in the weights, it has been hard to get him in a race with his low rating so we're having to run here despite the ground being softer than we think he'll like. He might surprise us though and seems happy in himself at home.
The following day we will be at the seaside again but a bit closer to home in Yarmouth.
It just shows you how much rain we've had recently when the usually fast-drying track is soft and that will be an unknown for Mungo Madness there. His best form has been at Southwell which is very deep so there is hope for him but he doesn't move like a horse who will thrive in it. There's only one way to know for sure though and he has been going well at home.
We're back on the road on Wednesday with Pitch High at Beverley. He runs in the same apprentice race that we won last year with Candesta and I think he has a good chance of bringing the trophy back to Exning. He ran out of puff up the hill at Chepstow last time but has shown some OK form at Beverley before so it shouldn't be a problem. He has started to go a bit woolly in his coat already but it shouldn't slow him down with Milly Naseb on board.
Milly will be riding for us again on Thursday when Avocet goes to Chelmsford. She ran a career best last time when looking an unlucky third so you would hope that with identical conditions this time, she can go one or two places better. She is bred to be best on the all-weather and that run last time showed it.
Thank you to everyone who turned up to the yard this morning as part of Newmarket Open Weekend. We are always open to owners but it's great to see some new faces come and see what we have to offer as well as getting hands on with some of our stars. Numbers were slightly down I feel this year but that was the same all across town and the dodgy weather probably had a lot to do with it. Thank you too to Dillys, Sue and Nick for the delicious baking.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
John Chalklin 86
Clare Peacock 81
Geoff Walton 76
Brad Dines 75
Julia Feilden 75
Ken Campbell 75
Ros Taylor 75
John Tucker 74
Eileen Turner 72
George Evans 72
J Rogers 72