There might not have been any success on the track from our two runners this week but I think most trainers can consider themselves winners as the threat of boycotts forced ARC racecourses into increasing the prize money they offer.
If you haven't read it in the press, since last month ARC (who own 40% of UK racecourses) had slashed the prize money on offer at their tracks, claiming that betting turnover will be reduced this year. Obviously unhappy, a number of owners and trainers started a campaign to boycott all ARC meetings this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and the action gathered huge momentum with barely any horses entered on the first two days. Finally on Saturday just gone, ARC agreed to raise their prize money levels to acceptable standards from Wednesday onwards.
Obviously the entries for Wednesday and Thursday had already been made so the cards there will be pretty ridiculous if the meetings even go ahead with so few runners. However, Friday's races were still open for entries when the deal was announced so I entered the horses I was going to run there after Ralph Beckett (the trainer who has been leading discussions) said it was ok to. However, messages seem to have been lost in translation as a few other trainers thought the boycott was still on for Friday. I do feel some sympathy for these guys and the result is that Friday's cards aren't very popular but, unless there is an unanimous decision between all the trainers, I will go ahead with my runners as I see a number of bigger yards have also entered some there too.
I have four entered at Lingfield on Friday but only three will get declared as Limerick Lord only ran last week and his race looks competitive enough despite the low number of entries.
Majestic Moon's best form is at Southwell nowadays but he won at Lingfield years ago so hopefully he still remembers how to come down the hill there. He is well handicapped on old form but that's probably because age is catching up with him a bit. He still has plenty of ability though and should be competitive.
As should Terri Rules who has her first run back after a winter holiday and her first for her new owners, the N.E.T. Racing Club. She isn't 100% fit yet but sprinters can get away with that and hopefully she can start her season with a good run.
Completing the trio will be Winter Snowdrop in the novice race. There is a high rated rival in there who will be hard to beat but, with only four entries in the race, she will at least get some prize money wherever she finishes.
Before that, we also have three entries at Chelmsford on Thursday but only two will go with Winter Snowdrop now running the day after.
Sea Shack has been very consistent since the turn of the year so his last run was a bit disappointing but he may have just gone too fast in front early on and paid the price for it. He hasn't run at Chelmsford for us but I think the place should suit him and I hope he can get back into the places as his work at home has been very good since last time.
Going with him will be Gas Monkey who has also been hitting the crossbar recently. The last twice he has bumped into a well-handicapped rival so hopefully there aren't any this time as I thought the handicapper was very generous not to put him up in the weights after his last run. He likes the track and the distance is perfect so fingers crossed he can get a well-deserved win.