The Heath is a lovely place to be when the sun is out amid clear blue skies and it certainly is reward for grafting through the darker days.
Even though it was 25C across the country last week, the mercury only got up to 16C when we were at Yarmouth last week but hopefully the sun will be out when we head there again on Tuesday.
Honeymoon Express has been one of the yard surprises of the year after her two great runs in maidens last month. She makes her handicap debut off a mark of 65 and I think that is a competitive rating. She loves Yarmouth and the form of her last run is working out great so hopefully she can maintain our great strike rate by the seaside.
Unfortunately Believe In Me, who was entered on the same day, missed the ballot to run by one so will have to sit this race out. It will infuriate me though if there is a non runner on the day as it would mean we could have run.
|Believe In Me (Alfie) & Honeymoon Express (Shelley)|
The Thursday night concert evenings at Epsom are always popular and we're back for Mike and The Mechanics this week.
Both runners ran at the course a fortnight ago and hopefully with that experience under their belt, they can run even better.
Spirit of Sharjah is back in top form and was unlucky not to win last time. Our apprentice Shelley Birkett will be taking a valuable seven pounds off his back and we know he loves the track. Hopefully he can record career win number nine.
|Spirit of Sharjah (Reno)|
Richard Hughes blamed himself for No Such Number's defeat last time so I hope the horse can prove his well being with a good run in the Ladies' Derby. The race is for lady amateur riders so it is crucial to have a talented and experienced rider in the plate. We have been lucky enough to secure the services of Hayley Moore to ride. She is not only the younger sister of champion jockey Ryan but also a highly successful and skilled rider in her own right. We have also put cheekpieces on the horse just to help him travel a bit better in what is likely to be a fast-run affair.
|No Such Number (Billy)|
With most of the older campaigners race fit and running regularly, it gave us a good opportunity to gallop some of the less experienced horses.
Lea Valley has had six months off after fracturing her leg but she has come back bigger and stronger since. She is only two weeks off running but needs soft ground so we'll have to wait until the heavens open.
Bethan is yet to run but is coming closer and closer to the track every week. She is still very green but clearly has an engine so it will be interesting to see what she's got.
|Lea Valley (Ross) & Bethan (Cat)|
With only three two-year olds in the yard, we haven't made much impact on the juvenile scene yet but hopefully things can change soon.
Tolly McGuiness is only small but his attitude is faultless and he acts like a real pro. He's pretty fit now but still needs to go through the stalls so he should be out in a couple of weeks.
Bushy Glade has only had one run but the form of that couldn't have worked out better with the winner coming first in a Group 2 at Newmarket on Friday. She still needs to grow a bit but she is going great.
|Tolly McGuinness (Shelley) & Bushy Glade (Alfie)|
I was running around like a headless chicken all week looking for bargains as the annual July Sale rolled into Tattersalls. This is where we get a lot of our older horses, especially from the Juddmonte dispersal, so it always pays to keep your ear to the ground.
It seems as though the recession has well and truly finished though as some of the prices were way above usual and meant I couldn't have all I wanted. I was very surprised to see a filly who is half-sister to our No Such Number sell for £110,000, especially since we bought him just 12 months before for a fraction of that price.
I didn't come away empty-handed though. The Feilden transfer record was smashed on Thursday night as I bid for the most expensive horse I've ever bought as Never Another was knocked down to me for £35,000.
He's an unraced four-year old who was trained in France as a juvenile but given time to grow. My sources reckon he is fully matured now and has an engine too. He will be running in the green silks of owner Graham Johnson.
At the bottom end of the price scale was my other purchase Hamble. He won at Newmarket three weeks ago for Marco Botti and I couldn't believe I only had to pay £6,500 for him. He will be a fun handicapper to own and should be running very soon.
With some new faces in the yard, it's time to sell off a few of the older ones and on Tuesday morning, Khajaaly will be heading to Ascot sales. He's been a grand servant, winning three races for us, but I think we've had the best out of him and it's time to move on. He is still perfectly sound and will no doubt win races for his new connections when conditions suit.
The trouble and strife we've had with Automotive over the years has been well documented but in amongst some of his mad moments, he does make you smile. He has a funny habit of burying his head in his bed when fresh straw is added with the result being him wearing a fetching head piece that could be sold to Royal Ascot ladies as a stylish fascinator!
|Automotive: style icon|