Finally, the turf season is back! It has felt like a very long winter, with what seemed like never-ending trips up and down the country to the All-Weather tracks, and we had five yearlings at home to break in and educate. Given the massively enhanced prize money from ARC, and the chance to win monthly bonuses, plenty of owners and trainers decided to keep their horses going this winter. This made for much more competitive racing than you would historically encounter for the time of year. Races were difficult to even get into in the early part of the All-Weather season, which felt unprecedented for the time of year. Any initiative that increases prize money is strongly welcomed from myself, and it was encouraging to see it was well supported. I’d imagine that support will only increase, if the same level of prize money is put up again this year.
I feel we’ve built up a promising team of horses for this year, and I’ve been really grateful for the support from owners both old and new. On the back of a successful first season training, I was in a position to spend a bit more on fresh stock, which has increased the quality we can acquire. I have a lovely spread of 2-year-olds, with a couple more due to join us later in the year with more of a 3-year-old career in mind. It’s an exciting time of year, when the dream is very much still alive with the juveniles. We expect the first runners to be later next month, when the 6f races start. One of the earliest runners is likely to be a filly by Invincible Army, she is owned by my new syndicate ‘Yorkshire Moors Racing’, and really impressed in her first gallop on the turf at Malton last month (pictured). I do still have a couple of shares remaining, I’m thrilled with the makeup of the syndicate thus far, with some lovely likeminded individuals coming together. Details of the getting involved can be found on the ‘Yorkshire Moors Racing’ tab on my website.
My three-year-old division also looks to be particularly strong; I had a fruitful time with the three-year-olds last year so I’m pleased to have half a dozen useful-looking types of this age to go to war with. Vondelpark will be the first of these to run, a lovely Mayson colt who was a wide margin nursery winner over 1m at Ripon last year. They are a lightly raced bunch on the whole, hopefully there’s one as good as last year’s stalwart Mostly Cloudy in among them.
The older horse division isn’t devoid of promise either. We have yard favourite Strawman back, who is still lightly raced for a 6-year-old, and has grown even bigger over the winter! Shahnaz, who landed a hattrick last year has a late developing pedigree, and looks fantastic this year. Freak Out has dropped to a competitive mark after a winter campaign, and Patontheback was beaten just a neck on his seasonal return at Newcastle last week. We also have Highlighter, who’s been running well in handicaps and may appreciate a return to a sounder surface (pictured).
Ultimately, with all the firepower in the world, we wouldn’t be anywhere without a fantastic team at home. We’ve welcomed a new member of staff to the team for this year in Nicole, who joins Charlotte, Alicia, Georgia and Kaz (mum). Thank you for all your hard – here’s to a fruitful year.