Every yard relies on one or two horses to bring home the bacon year after year and we have a lot to thank Limerick Lord for after he got us on the scoreboard for the year at Wolverhampton on Wednesday evening. He is usually a regular at Southwell and won three races there in 2018 so it had been disappointing to see him run some flat races there recently. The saying goes that 'a change is as good as a rest' so I thought he might just want a switch of tracks and he went to Wolverhampton as an unconsidered 16/1 shot. With no front-runners in the race, Shelley did the perfect thing of getting to the front and setting her own pace which meant that he could quicken clear in the straight and win by a cosy couple of lengths.
Limerick's owner Steve Clarke loves the horse to bits and never misses a race so it is a great reward that he could enjoy a memorable night and hopefully another won't be too far away as the horse should be full of confidence again after getting his head back in front.
It was a successful evening all round as Sea Shack wasn't far off making it a double when finishing second earlier in the evening. He has steadily been coming back to form and hopefully he can continue to build on things when he heads back to Wolverhampton on Wednesday. We will keep the apprentice Scott McCullagh on him as he gave him a nice ride and his 7lb allowance is very handy too.
Also on Wednesday we might have Lulu Star at Kempton. She made a very pleasing comeback after a short break when fourth last time and she should have come on for the run. We're stepping her up in trip as she looked outpaced last time and I'm pretty sure she will stay the extra distance so hopefully she can improve a bit more.
The remaining entries for the week come at Newcastle on Friday. It's a long way up the A1 to get there but our raids to the track have been pretty successful in the past year so I hope we can bring home a bit more prize money this time.
Gas Monkey is on an upward curve and ran another cracker last time when second at Kempton. The wide draw that day meant that he had to sit almost last during the race so he had a lot of ground to make up but he almost did it and probably bumped into an improving rival too. The uphill straight mile at Newcastle should be ideal for him and I think there is still some more to come from him.
Majestic Moon should appreciate the course too and I hope that he can make the most of his low rating as he certainly has enough ability to get competitive.
This week saw a somewhat subdued Tattersalls host their February Sale but I think that may have meant that I got a bargain as I was very happy to come home with a horse called Noble Account from the Godolphin draft. He is an unraced three-year old by one of the best stallions around in Dansili and he looks like he has just needed time to develop. His mum was placed in the Irish 1000 Guineas and his half sister was also a Group race performer so he certainly has the pedigree to be decent. We will give him a bit more time to develop but he will eventually be seen racing in the colours of owner Carol Bushnell.
Earlier in the sale we also sold Go On Gal but she hasn't gone far as one of her syndicate members bought her back and she is currently back at the yard in the paddocks whilst plans are made for her.
The good thing about racing is that there is always something to look forward to and get you out of bed in the morning. Whether it be a runner you fancy or a horse you like having its first gallop, racing has a way of getting you out and about and leaving yesterday's disappointments behind you.
This week I'm looking forward to the Tattersalls February Sale here in Newmarket as over 400 horses pass through the ring on Thursday and Friday.
We will be contributing one of those lots as Go On Gal is set to sell on Thursday morning and I hope she can find somewhere nice to continue her career. She has given her syndicate of owners a lot of fun since they bought her as a yearling with two wins on the board and a load of placings too - she finished second seven times before winning her first race! Just recently she has been showing signs of losing interest in racing so she could be perked up by a change of scenery but I imagine with her good breeding that she will be ideal as a broodmare for someone.
Another departure from the yard this week was Maazel who ran another eye-catching race at Lingfield on Wednesday when looking very unlucky. The following day, I received a call from an owner who was looking for a horse of his type and made me an offer it would have been silly to turn down so he has now moved to the `Epsom yard of Lee Carter. I know Maazel will win a race soon but he needs everything to go right to do so and it made good business sense for the N.E.T. Racing Club to accept the offer and try to find a replacement who can race at a slightly higher level. I'll be trying my best to find such a horse this week!
Ross has made an update on the Club's current team of four horses which you can watch below:
Before the sales start, we have a few runners to keep us busy this week too.
On Monday, Lulu Star heads to Wolverhampton as she comes back from a short winter holiday. The race is probably a grade higher than she would like and I think she will improve for the run anyway but the small field should suit her as she doesn't like to be crowded so hopefully she can pick up some place money. She looks fantastic at the moment and I hope she can win before the turf season starts in the spring.
On Wednesday we'll be back to Wolverhampton with a pair of runners, starting with Sea Shack in the apprentices' race. He ran his best race yet for us when fourth over the course and distance last time and he did well that day to overcome a very wide draw. Hopefully he is drawn a bit lower this time and doesn't have to use up as much energy early on. He is well handicapped and fit now so fingers crossed he can run a big race.
Accompanying him will be Limerick Lord. He usually does all his running at Southwell but his last few races there have been a bit disappointing so we're hoping this change of venue will perk him up. He has some good form at the track a few years back so hopefully he can be revived with a return to it.
Rounding off things will be Candesta at Southwell on Sunday. He was a winner there two runs ago before running bit flat soon after. Hopefully the longer gap between races this time sees him a fresher horse and he can get involved again.
The yard is pretty full of horses at the moment with most of those being ones who have enjoyed a winter break and are now on the comeback trail to get fit again in time for the new turf season.
After two weeks trotting, they will start doing steady canters again from Monday and they will slowly increase their length and speed of work until they are hopefully ready to gallop again by March. There are lots of unraced or lightly-campaigned horses coming through the ranks so fingers crossed they can give us some fun in the summer.