Spring is meant to be a time of hope as you look forward to the warm months ahead so a promising run from a debutante is just what you need and we were given just that with Secret Strategy's run at Wolverhampton on Thursday.
Bought at Doncaster sales last autumn, his syndicate of owners have had to be patient to wait until now for his first run but thankfully their horse showed plenty of ability. Slowly away over five furlongs, he sat at the rear of the field and raced on and off the bridle, showing his inexperience. Gradually, the son of Kodiac got the idea of things and overtook the whole field, bar the favourite, to grab second place at the line. There was plenty of good things to take out of the race and he should be winning a similar event very soon.
The spring is also a time to look forward to what the two-year olds in the stable can do and, whilst ours at home are all going about their work very nicely, I will be in attendance at Ascot's breeze-up sale this week to hopefully buy a couple more youngsters. We were lucky at this sale last year after buying Spirit Of Sarwan who has since gone on to do very well and I'm hoping we can pick up a similar type again.
The turf season kicked off this weekend and we were there on the opening day at Doncaster with Gatillo in the concluding apprentice race. We went in the hope that the forecast showers would arrive as he loves soft ground, however, it proved to be a lovely sunny day and the good ground just wasn't soft enough to see him at his best.
The Ducking Stool was meant to be heading there too on Sunday but a pulled muscle in training the day before meant that she wouldn't be able to run. Hopefully she can recover from it quickly with some time off.
We will be out and about plenty this week with a handful of horses entered.
Go On Gal has a couple of engagements, at Southwell on Tuesday and at Chelmsford on Thursday. I will wait to see how many are declared before making a final decision but she has run well at both tracks before and remains in good heart.
Southwell race again on Thursday and we will be there for Pitch High's seasonal reappearance.
The three-year old gelding showed plenty of promise on his debut last year before hitting a growing phase and going a bit weak. He has done really well for a winter break and has come back a much stronger horse. Whether he will handle Southwell's unique surface is an unknown but it is too for most of his rivals. I wanted to get him out on the turf early in the season but there aren't any ideal races nor the soft ground which he handles well.
Accompanying Pitch High to Southwell will be Cuban Queen. I'm not convinced all-weather racing sees her at her best as she is quite a claustrophobic horse and the tight-knit nature of the races seems to scare her a bit but she is bred to thrive on a dirt surface like at Southwell so she is worth another try. She has always shown plenty of ability at home and it is just a case of trying to get her to show it on the racetrack!
Rounding off the week will be Duke Of Diamonds at Leicester. He had a profitable year in 2016 with two wins on the board and he seems to have strengthened up even more after his winter break. This grade will probably be a bit too high for him and the distance a bit too short but he needs a run to get back to full fitness and this should set him up for another successful year.
FOUR TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Julia Feilden 13
Tina Skinner 11
John Birkett 11
Clare Peacock 11
George Evans 11
Mark Jackson 10
Dave Morris 10
Rita Aspland 10
Bill Aspland 10
Sam Feilden 10
Chloe Peacock 10
+ many others on 10 points