Like the whole country, we have this week been battling with the 'Beast from the East' as snow storms battered the UK.
We definitely didn't have it as bad as some people but we certainly had our fair share of the white stuff and temperatures got down to -12 with the wind chill. We are blessed with great facilities on the Heath in Newmarket and the heathmen work tirelessly to ensure that the tracks and paths are usable. What did hold us back was the lane to the Heath as the council never grit it and by Thursday it was like an ice rink so the horses had to have a day on the walker but it was in everyone's interests of safety. One easy day won't kill them and it is not like we have the favourite for a race at the Cheltenham Festival to get ready!
The weather also put paid to our intended runners as Kempton and Lingfield were both abandoned. What it does mean though is that our last runner was a winner thanks to Oud Metha Bridge so I'm still walking with a spring in my step.
Let's hope there can be another winner soon as we have a good few entries and the snow is starting to melt now so it looks as though things can get back to normal.
On Monday, Candesta heads to Wolverhampton and goes there on the back of a win after cruising home at Southwell in December. He had some issues with his foot after then so has had a bit of time off and we have also had to take things easy with him as he recovers so I don't think he is fully fit but it is not a great race anyway so maybe he could still land some prize money.
Also that day we have Champagne Reef at Kempton. We were all set to run her on the flat for the first time at Kempton last week before it got abandoned so we are making the most of this additional 'jumpers' bumpers' meeting that has been put on at the last minute. She was disappointing in a bumper last time but the soft ground and racing too keenly saw her get very tired so we will get her settled this time and hopefully the more suitable ground can see her fare better.
Southwell hosts a couple of meetings next week and we'll be there on both days with a handful of runners.
On Tuesday, course regular Limerick Lord races again and, as per usual, things will all depend on what mood he is in but he is very well handicapped now and a good run wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world if he feels like it.
Accompanying him will be Go On Gal. She is usually ultra-consistent but ran a bad race last time at Chelmsford. That can be forgiven though as the surface there at the moment is terrible and she could never get in a good position. If she can get back to her usual form then she should be in the prizes again.
The second Southwell trip will be on Thursday and we could have three representatives.
Maazel couldn't run last week due to Lingfield being off but this is probably a more suitable opportunity anyway. He has never run at the track before and his slow starts will be a concern but if he can stay out of the kickback early on, I can see him staying on well at the finish.
Another horse making his first visit to Rolleston will be Sir Fred. He has needed time to develop and needed the experience on his debut too. His family all improve with time so I imagine this will be another stepping stone for him to build upon.
Completing the trio is Oceanus. He has had a taste of the fibresand and ran well enough when finishing fifth there. I think the drop down a furlong in trip will help him out and hopefully he can be in with a shout although it looks a very hot race for the grade at the entry stage.
**DON'T MISS NEXT WEEK'S BLOG AS WE WILL BE LAUNCHING THE 2018 FOUR TO FOLLOW COMPETITION!**