TO say we are flat out at the moment would be the understatement of the decade.
This is the time of year where you really earn your crust as a trainer as we head into the madness of sales season.
But we still have a yard to run and lots of big races to target, while there are also some tough decisions to make about which horses will be on the team next year and who will be off to the sales.
It will be last-chance saloon for some of ours over the next couple of weeks, as they will have one more run to determine whether they make the cut for 2024 or head off to pastures new.
Next week is going to be especially manic, as I’ll be racking up the air miles going to and from Ireland for the big Goffs Orby Sale.
Myself, Richard Hannon and Ralph Beckett will be chipping in and flying over together, like we do every year.
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But it’s far from a jolly boys outing – we will each have long lists of potential targets that we will inspect and bid on on behalf of our clients.
We’ll be in County Kildare for a couple of nights and then rushing back home, with some massive races around the corner.
Talking of big meetings, it was a bit of a mixed bag for the team at Donny last week.
I was chuffed to bits to see Sandrine get her head back in front in the Park Stakes, and Flora Of Bermuda bounced back from a bad run at York to finish second in the Flying Childers.
But Coltrane ran a rare bad race in the Doncaster Cup – they went a muddling gallop but it was a bit of a head-scratcher. Maybe he was still feeling the effects of his win at York.
He has come out of it in good shape so we will regroup with him, as we will The Goat, who was disappointing but I still have plenty of faith in.
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I’d say, though, that the one horse of ours that I took out of the Leger meeting was See The Fire.
She ran an absolute blinder on just her second ever start in the May Hill Stakes, finishing a clear second behind the winner Darnation who had a good bit more experience than us.
If I had to pick one, she would be our great white hope for next season.
She is beautifully-bred and has the world at her feet. We are going to run her in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket next month.
Talking of next month, it’s when our champions will be crowned and it is such a shame we don’t have a more interesting jockeys’ title to sell to the public.
William Buick is set to coast to the championship again, and I see Tom Marquand essentially conceded the race the other day.
He says the one-meeting a day rule for jockeys means he has too much ground to make up – I don’t buy that as it is the same for all of them.
But the jockeys’ championship badly needs a shake-up, as far too often it’s of little to no interest to anyone bar the riders themselves.
If we rewarded jockeys at the biggest meetings with bonus points for winning our major races, that would surely be a way to keep the race alive until Champions Day – when there could be everything to play for. Just a thought.
It’s going to be tough going at most of the tracks around the country today after the monsoon we had midweek.
I’m very hopeful that either ARRAY or SPANISH PHOENIX (3.15) can win the Mill Reef at Newbury – a race we badly want to win given the horse it is named after.
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Our best chance, though, is probably NYMPHADORA (1.30) in the opening race on the same card.
She absolutely loves soft ground and she has been in good form at home – I expect her to run a big race.
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