“Well, our good start to the year has continued, but not at quite such an impressive strike rate as previously. We have added to our 7 early winners with another 5, one of which came over hurdles.
The revelation of the year so far has been Intomist, who managed to complete a quick-fire treble in the space of 27 days, at 3 different tracks, under 3 different jockeys. Having only won once previously, it appears that the gelding operation over the winter has really done the trick with this horse, as he is so much more focussed in his races now. He won easily at Lingfield, followed by a hard-fought victory at Salisbury, where he hung on grimly in an apprentice race for Dan Cremin. That victory meant I could run him the following week without a penalty, and despite being drawn in the car park, he again won nicely, this time under our own apprentice Nathan Alison. The handicapper has made him pay for those victories, so it is going to get harder from here, but hopefully he can find a little bit more improvement from somewhere to keep the run going.
Final Delivery managed to follow up his Wolverhampton victory with another win back at the track, before proving somewhat disappointing back on turf. It may be that he needs the all weather to show his best, but we will give him a few more chances on turf to see if we can get to the bottom of him.
Our latest victory gave me a lot of pleasure, as it was our first winner over hurdles for a little while (admittedly from only a handful of runners). Marcus Antonius had shown on his comeback run that his hurdling technique had improved markedly since last year, and he duly improved for that first outing over hurdles to win next time out at Fontwell. For a horse that doesn’t like to hit the front too early, he was left in front at the second last flight when the leader made a mistake, so it was a long last couple of furlongs, but depsite looking a little awkward in the last 100yds he was never going to get beaten under Leighton Aspell. We will probably have a mixed campaign with him over the summer now – he does not want the ground too quick, so we may have to be patient with him, but you may well see him running on the flat at Epsom at some point this summer, as we’d love to have a local win with this horse, who has provided us with a lot of fun over the last couple of seasons (along with a bit of frustration!).
We are well into the season now and I just hope we can keep the yard healthy, and keep the momentum going. We only have around 20 horses in full training at the moment, so I’m pleased to have got to 12 winners already this year, particularly as our first runners weren’t until March. The recent weather has helped to put a smile on everyone’s faces, but not nearly as much as a few more winners would do, so fingers crossed…………”