Much milder today; dull, dampish and a welcome chance to regroup and catch up in the office.  Our good fortune continued yesterday with an across the card double at Ayr and the point-to-point at Dalston, hard to believe that we have had ten winners in two weeks, no doubt that is our ration for the next six months!  Hope not, shouldn’t really be the case as the horses seem in great form and whilst we have a quieter week in store there is plenty of racing coming up.

The Bishop makes it four in a row for the team at Ayr (pics courtesy of John Grossick)

Let’s not get greedy though but enjoy these winners, I was delighted that the switch back to hurdles did the job in reviving The Bishop’s enthusiasm and he ran out a convincing winner on the heavy ground that suits him well.  He holds an entry over hurdles at Hexham on Thursday but is more likely to wait for a race there over fences at the end of the month.

Royal Chatelier (Jamie) getting up to beat Sounds of Italy (Kit) – a family affair in the wilds of Cumbria

As I hoped the “heavy, very heavy in places” at Dalston was perfect for the mud-loving Royal Chatelier who was produced late by Jamie to deny his nephew a double, Kit having scored earlier on the card on My Lady West for Victor Thompson. Bertie Milan was still travelling sweetly when unseating Crawford with a mile to go and a 3rd in the Maiden capped off a good day for Kit.

The mud was flying – pictures courtesy of Grace Beresford

Third was also the position filled by Up Helly Aa King in the bumper at Ayr, I was delighted with his performance which was pretty exceptional for a horse who had only had two or three bits of work in his life, fingers crossed he should have a good future.

Up Helly Aa King after his race yesterday – he might just be the horse to take out of the last week’s runners

A great spell for the yard, and some pictures from Friday below, but frustrating for Lucy who but for a kick in the face from a following horse at Musselburgh on 4th Feb would have enjoyed a dozen or so winners. This was pure bad luck but feeds the false impression that she is prone to being injured and taking falls, 3 of those from 96 rides this season is less than half the statistical average but perception counts for a lot and the difference between another six weeks on the sidelines and a dozen winners is huge in her eyes and the eyes of the media and racing public.  She should be back very soon playing her vital role in our team and hopefully having a much deserved chance to put the record straight; it’s hard to believe that a few years ago she had half a dozen rides at the Festival, she’s a much better jockey now, the fickle hand of fashion…

Marlee Massie bounds on to win his 6th race in the last 15 months

A quieter week looming so I am looking forward to a quick excursion to the first two days of the Cheltenham Festival, despite so many high profile absences it looks as enthralling as ever, we’re not quite there yet horse wise but that will come soon I hope, more meagre pickings await perhaps at Hexham on Thursday or Newcastle on Saturday but as the late WA Stephenson said when watching his horse The Thinker win the Gold Cup from Hexham – “little fish are sweet”.

Buffalo Ballet (nearside)

Gold Opera – ended up having to jump the last 3 fences alone – not as easy as it sounds!

Another Mattie

Kit – 7lb claimer no more – with Mattie, Kelly & Trainer