What a truly awful week weather-wise we had to put up with; snow, hail and ice made life in the yard particularly unpleasant but full praise must go to the team who carried on working like it was a lovely summer's day. I know Newmarket got a good covering of snow on Sunday but surprisingly, just across The Heath in Exning, we received very little.
Over in the sunnier climes of Meydan, Dubai, there was a welcome result in the Classic Trial after Nobellium finished a nose second to Godolphin's Top Score and can hopefully go one better in the Listed Meydan Classic itself. This was significant for us because only last week we bought Nobellium's year older half-sister Avocet from The Tattersalls February Sale. Fillies from Juddmonte like her are always worth having because they are so well bred that any good horse can come out of the pedigree and so it might prove in very quick time in this case.
It was a stroke of luck for her owner Peter Foster as he bought the filly to race and then breed from afterwards so hopefully she can do well on both fronts.
The second horse I bought from Tattersalls last week, Oceanus, has settled in well too and is enjoying a few weeks out in the paddock to freshen up. My source at his old yard said he just needed sweetening up after being campaigned quite fiercly last year. He seems to be enjoying his time off and will hopefully show some of his old form when coming back into work soon. He is only a three-year old so there could well be lots of improvement to come.
On the track this week we look set to have a quartet of runners with the first three all coming on Thursday.
At Lingfield, Critical Thinking looks to have a good chance of running a big race under 7lb claimer Finley Marsh. The colt has been steadily improving through the winter and showed last time that he stays 1m2f no problem when fourth in a good course maiden. He's back down to claiming company this time and, with Finley's allowance, looks to have a great chance at the weights.
Over at Chelmsford that same day, we have Limerick Lord and Cuban Queen. Limerick ran well enough at the course last time but needs everything to go his way if he is to win. Likewise with Cuban Queen, she is a bit quirky but has more than enough ability to win a race like this.
Then on Saturday, good old Silver Alliance is at Kempton as he bids to make the most of his falling handicap mark. Two wins in the summer saw him go far too high in the weights but the handicapper is starting to show him some leniency and he is back down to a decent rating. We're stepping him up in trip but I think he should stay, the one concern would be his lack of form when racing on a right-handed track.
We've had a great couple of years sponsored by Vokera but I am delighted to say that MY PURCHASING PARTNER Ltd will be taking over the reins and sponsoring the yard in 2017. Experts in procurement, they will negotiate very low fixed prices for smaller or less well-known catering companies or organisations.
Check out the website at: http://www.mypurchasingpartner.co.uk/
The good news is that the yard will keep its recognisable 'racing green' colours but now with a cool-looking gold logo. Look out for it at the races!