It's been a very busy time for the yard and you do struggle to find the time to fit everything in but keeping our owners and the racing public updated with what's going on is important to us, so apologies for the lack of a recent blog.
We've had plenty of winners over the last three weeks or so which is great and one horse who is starting to make up into a real nice chaser is the progressive Bishops Court. He's a horse that has always shown plenty of ability at home and it's a great pleasure to see him finally putting it all together on the racecourse. It took a couple of runs for him to get the hang of chasing but he's now won his last two and holds an entry at Wincanton later in the week where he can hopefully continue to improve. He can be a little difficult to ride at home and regularly needs his routine changing to keep him happy but we seem to have found the key to him now so it's onwards and upwards with him.
Walt is another who could make a quick reappearance as we were delighted that the drop back in trip paid off in good style at Fontwell. He jumped well and finished his race off strongly so he is another that should now continue to improve. He's come out of his race very well and he too holds an entry at Wincanton on Thursday. Impulsive Star is the sort of horse that would gallop all day long as he showed when toughing it out up at Catterick last Thursday. It was only a small field but he did it well and we'll see what the handicapper makes of that run before making any concrete plans, though he is very much a chaser in the making.
Thankfully the good run of form shows no signs of stopping and a few of our stable stars are back in work ahead of their Spring campaigns including Shantou Village who will have a run in handicap company soon before a tilt at a Festival race in March. Those who know me know how much time I have for this horse and my faith in him remains as strong as ever. Southfield Royale has put one or two little niggles behind him and I'm delighted to say he is back in full work and has become something of a forgotten horse. He holds an entry at Doncaster in just under two weeks time and I'm looking forward to seeing him back on the racecourse. The form of the four-miler at last years festival has worked out extremely well and he is one we are all still very excited about. As for The Young Master, we could take a similar route with him as we did last season with the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham a possible target. The Grand National Trial at Haydock is another possibility provided everything goes to plan but our main goal remains the big one at Aintree in April.
Away from the jumps we've also had a couple of winners on the level, in the shape of Seven Clans and one of our new recruits Maverik, at Wolverhampton and Lingfield respectively. Seven Clans is very well bred but has had one or two niggles and can race lazily but the blinkers seem to have worked the oracle with him. He's come out of his race well and we'll see what the handicapper does now. Maverik received an enterprising ride from the saddle in the form of All-Weather specialist Adam Kirby and it was great for him to win on his first start for us. He was useful in his prime and may end up trying his hand over hurdles in the future.
We had a nice juvenile entered up at Fakenham on the weekend but unfortunately it was abandoned due to frozen ground. Most Celebrated was bought at the sales by stablemate Harley Rebel's owners, Gloria and Stephen Seymour and being a son of Derby winner New Approach he was certainly bred in the purple. He won his maiden for Godolphin and has schooled very well at home so he is one we are looking forward to getting to the racecourse in the near future and is one to keep an eye out for.
Finally I was happy to welcome back Mark Quinlan as my assistant trainer this week and he is a familiar face around the yard, having been with me for many years as my conditional jockey when I first started training. It's a new role for him but the lads are very supportive and we are all looking forward to a succesful future together. I've made plenty of entries over the next week so hopefully we can keep making a push towards our 100 jumps winners target for the season of which we currently stand at 73 - a total we are very proud of already.