A rainy start to the morning but by 10.30am the clouds had shifted, and the sun was doing its best to peak through. It isn't quite splitting rocks yet but if the forecast is to be believed (and we do so with trepidation), we are set for a pleasant week. Wednesday's and Saturday's are our work mornings - meaning, these are the two days of the week that the horses do a quicker piece of work. George always rides out on these two mornings, ever keen to get a feel of the youngsters, especially now that they are in this crucial phase of education, the final weeks before hitting the racecourse proper. It can be a bit of a rude awakening for an unraced youngster, the first time they arrive at the races. There's so much going on, lots of other horses, a strange stable, big and noisy crowds, commentary on the tannoy system to name but a few off-putting factors. Therefore, we chuck our youngsters in at the deep end - it's not quite sink or swim because actually this way, by not 'babying' them, they all very quickly learn to 'swim'. From taking the lead up the gallops and walking through the stalls from day one, to facing the umbrella-laden crowds of our October Yearling Parade, they've seen a lot before they race for the first time. We often take juveniles for a racecourse gallop before they make their debut, but this is very weather dependent - when there's been a lot of rain, tracks will not allow you to visit for fear of making a mess of the turf. There's not many that allow this at all anymore, the two fairly local tracks that we do use are Ripon for the grass and Newcastle for the all-weather. We do as much to educate them as possible and eradicate any debutant mishaps, but there's nothing quite like horses to make a fool of you!
Today being a Wednesday, the horses were put through their paces with tomorrow's runners breezing - a short, sharp 'pipe opener'. Highly Focussed and Rosina (pictured) will head to Chelmsford and Mimic's Memory goes to Southwell. Three former winners...let's hope at least one of them can add another to the tally.