We're firing plenty of darts at the board early this week with six runners at two different meetings on Monday. It has been a bit of a logistical nightmare to sort out but we have thankfully sourced two other horse boxes to use and we can now get all the horses and staff to where they need to be.
Approve The Dream will be kicking things off at Yarmouth and he will be wearing blinkers for the first time in the hope that they can make him try a bit harder. Dylan rode him last time and felt that he jacked it in when the others came to challenge so hopefully the step down to 7f and the headgear can see him to better effect.
There's a breather for us before we have five runners in the space of 80 minutes.
Staying at Yarmouth, Oud Metha Bridge will be trying to maintain his great record at the track and hopefully there has been enough rain there for him. Last time it was a bit too firm and he doesn't give 100% as a result which is the difference between winning and losing. Yarmouth apparently got plenty of rain yesterday and another shower or two before we go would not hurt his chances.
After that we have two in the same race as Limerick Lord and Spanish Mane take on each other.
It's a bit of a one-sided contest though as Spanish is race fit and Limerick will be in need of the run as he has got a bit of middle-aged spread during the lockdown! I really fancied Spanish to win last time and she was a bit disappointing but we will ride her more patiently this time and hope she can come with a late rattle at the finish.
Meanwhile at Windsor, Valletta Sunset will be making his long-awaited return to the racetrack after some time off. He had one run last year when he was very green and colty so we soon had him gelded. He was due to run in the spring but then the lockdown came and then he couldn't run two weeks ago because he wouldn't load into the horse box! He has since had a session with the brilliant Gary Witheford who now has him walking onto the horse box by himself so hopefully there shouldn't be a problem this time. He is still a big, green horse so I suspect he will need the run for experience and handicap races will be his game further down the line.
Heading to Windsor with him will be Alibaba who made the best possible racecourse reappearance when winning at Yarmouth last time. I wasn't expecting it as I thought the race looked quite competitive but he loved the rain-softened ground and was pulling away at the end after making all the running. He went up 5lbs in the ratings which was a bit harsh but there should be more to come from him and he seems well at home. Windsor suit fronts runners so I hope he can give it another bold bid.
We're back on the road the following day with Winter Snowdrop at Leicester. She has a great attitude and not many would try harder than her but we have struggled to find her best distance. She will improve for the run after the lockdown break but I think 1m2f is right for her and I'm interested to see what she does.
I keep getting asked when owners will be allowed to go back racing and the truth is that I don't know because nobody knows yet. The BHA said they would make an announcement on the matter soon and in Ireland they are allowing two owners per horse to attend. I know that isn't the best scenario but it would be a step towards normality for us and hopefully there will be some news on this soon.
It was great to have the time to enjoy watching Royal Ascot this week and in hindsight holding the meeting was the right thing to do as it broadcast horseracing onto the world stage and hopefully attracted some new fans to the sport. The action on the track was exceptional and my highlight was seeing Hollie Doyle get her first winner at the meeting. I have followed Hollie's career from an early stage and she has been brilliant on the few horses she has ridden for me. As well as being a great rider, she is also a lovely person who hasn't let the success go to her head and always has time to say hello to everyone. At least another girl riding a winner at the meeting will keep my neighbour Gay Kelleway quiet as she has been telling everyone that she was the only person to do it for the past 30 years!
We've got a quiet week with runners and just some entries at the weekend.
On Friday I've got Gas Monkey entered at Doncaster and Newmarket and where he goes will depend on where the best ground is as we're set for a scorcher of a week in the coming days. He needed the run for fitness last time and he probably still needs to drop a couple of pounds in the weights until he can win again.
On Saturday we will have a couple of entries at Lingfield. Noble Account ran well there last time and it is well known that he has lots of ability but doesn't tend to show it on the track. The hold-up tactics we tried last time seemed to suit him but it does mean he needs lots of luck to win. They probably didn't go fast enough early on for him last time so a bit more pace in the race will see him finish closer.
I'll also have Ride and Prejudice entered there after she passed a stalls test two weeks ago. It has been almost a year since she last run thanks to her stalls issues and the lockdown but I hope we have got on top of her problems now and that she can finally start a race!
Also on Saturday I may enter Divine Queen at Newmarket. She showed promise on her first run for us earlier this month and she will be qualified for handicap races after this run.