We were delighted to see James ride out his 7lbs claim at Market Rasen on Wednesday with his victory on the admirably consistent Highbury High. The grey needed plenty of help from the saddle but he galloped on resolutely and came home to win quite comfortably in the end. He's now finished in the first four on ten of his last eleven starts - just the type of horse you would love to own. That win ensured that James remains clear in the amateur title race and we'll be doing our best to help him come home in front.
Despite one or two jumps out to his left, Bishops Court was foot perfect at Wincanton and continued the winning groove in style, cruising home without coming out of second gear. He was entitled to win on form but he still had to go out and do it and it's another win to his name - his third on the bounce. It's now over to the handicapper to see what he makes of it all but we've really found the key to him now and hopefully it's onwards and upwards from here.
The weights for the Betfair Hurdle were released this week and the progressive Peter The Mayo Man will carry 10st 13lbs if he runs. He's enjoyed a mid-season break but has come back in full of life and we'll see how he gets on in the next few weeks before deciding if he will head to Newbury. He remains a horse with significant potential and I'm looking forward to seeing him back on the racecourse in the near future.
Another horse who has come back from a mid-season break this week is the improving chestnut mare Indian Stream. She is a real favourite on the yard and her sheer size and strength never gets any less impressive. She is being aimed for the Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and now it's all about getting her fit and ready to do herself justice on the day. With no mares chase over the four days, reverting back to hurdles looks the best option for her and she was successful on her only visit to the course so there are plenty of reasons to be excited about her prospects.
We had a few entries over the weekend but ended up with just a couple on the all-weather in the end as the jumps meetings were called off due to the frozen ground. We have a couple at Bangor later today including Owners Day who has taken to hurdles really well. This is her toughest test to date but she remains in good heart and can hopefully run well again while Ochos Rios will need to settle a bit better this time around. Our other runner goes on the tapeta at Wolverhampton and is a horse we are still learning about. That said, American Patrol can hopefully build on a more encouraging run last time and finish in the frame with Adam Kirby up for the first time. Our flat string are a vital part of the yard and Adam has a good strike rate for us on the all-weather so there are reasons to be hopeful.
We have some nice horses entered at Doncaster later in the week including Southfield Royale who is coming together nicely so we aren't taking our foot off the pedal in the pursuit of our 100 winners target for the season and thankfully the string remain healthy and in good form at home.