So, on reflection, staying up to watch all of the Masters in Augusta was not the best idea, but going into the final round I genuinely believed my favourite sportsman Rory McIlroy was going to do it.

Sadly, it was not to be and he finished up tied fifth. A late night for nothing then, but I am not too worried as looking ahead there are not many weeks as big or as exciting as this one in our calendar.
To be honest with you, the thing I am most excited about is actually having a good deal of runners this week as these last couple of weeks being starved of jump racing and stable runners has not been the most fun. I can hardly believe we are now into the last three weeks of the season down to the situation we are in – I will explain.
Usually at this time of the year there are plenty of horses finished for their season with an awful lot having given their all by this time and ready for a break, however this year compared to the norm we are in and around 100 runners down on normal due to the underfoot conditions and, as a result, we still have a multitude of horses still in full training and ready to run in the next couple of weeks.
I hope this fact means two things for us; firstly I am optimistic of a good end to this season but I am also confident we can hit the ground running coming May when the new season arrives. I think trainers are endeavouring to get a good start to their season these days and it would be great to do the same with some nice runners through May.

Valour the Fakenham Master

In terms of my week just past although there were no trips to the races to speak of I thoroughly enjoyed watching Act of Valour get back to winning ways under a confident Sam ride having put in an excellent display of jumping throughout before dispatching two good rivals in the process. Val was also a good result as it is nice to have another winner for the McNeill family who have joined us this season and are all thoroughly kind and warm people who it is a pleasure to train for.
Fakenham is not a journey that anyone really wants to make in all truth so shout out to Kate Nutt, Andrew Doyle and Charlotte Ward who spent most of the week in the lorry getting there and back, I am sure bringing home a nice winner helped somewhat.

Not going racing for a week is most certainly not all bad however as it meant I was able to spend most of my week in the saddle, and when you are riding nice horses like Modus (of course) Politologue, the legend that is San Benedeto and My Way (more on him another time) there is not many better ways to pass the time.
We have also had various visits to the yard this week including an Axom visit to see their unraced Lucarno filly Ellarna, who is exceedingly beautiful and one day will hopefully be a smart horse. The Jockey Club racing group were also present to see the dual winner The Last But One and Owners Group to see their horses which is now quite a large number of horses, including yard favourites like Alcala, Bagad Bihoue and Moabit.
Syndicates are becoming more and more of a big part of racing and in my opinion that can only be a good thing, it gives a wide variety of racing fans access to racehorse ownership while not breaking the bank and if things like that can attract people to our sport or affirm a love for someone then that is something I am all for.

Hectic Aintree promises fun and excitement

So looking ahead to this week, well it is pretty non-stop, with entries everyday and the small matter of Aintree to deal with come the end of the week. We will travel up Wednesday afternoon to where we stay and of course like everyone else hope for some luck through the week with some nice chances along the way. Our Aintree week includes many traditions, from the Italian food, the big trip to the Chinese restaurant and the stay in the hotel, evenings can quite often result in a good amount of table dancing depending on the company.
Aintree also plays host to a tradition that Dan Skelton started and that is the assistant trainer’s speech, something that when I was younger I always enjoyed Dan doing his, but now that responsibility falls to me I am not so sure enjoyment is the word. Hopefully I can throw something together that will get a laugh or two.
As with this time on a Monday morning every week Clifford has just come in from feeding and that marks my start time so I must head on. As I said earlier in the blog this is a busy and important week for us so hopefully in seven days time I will be telling you all about it, a Warriors Tale if you will.