The horses and staff alike were blessed with a fairly mild winter, more so for the Guv’nor, who made his regular trip Down Under to visit his family who are currently doing great things in Australia. As most of our followers will know, Matt has now officially taken out his training license in Australia and is, at the time of writing, in charge of a string of twelve with a similar number of youngsters waiting to come in to the newly built barns at the Ballarat Turf Club. All hands were on deck as the latter were meticulously selected from some of the premier horse sales in Australia and New Zealand by family, friends and a brilliant group of bloodstock agents who worked at both the Magic Millions and Karaka Sale to ensure that Cumani Racing Aus secured some exciting young stock. The final result was the purchase of five yearlings from the Gold Coast and five from New Zealand. The former will hopefully turn out to be speedy, precocious two year olds while the New Zealand bred youngsters resemble the more familiar Bedford House stamp of a horse and should develop into nice middle distance horses.
Back in Newmarket we are now beginning to focus on stepping the horses up and the season ahead. The horses have, overall, wintered well with the older horses ticking along throughout the winter while the babies went through their basic education. The most forward of our older horses and three year olds had their first proper piece of fast work a couple of weeks ago on Racecourse Side which all went smoothly and as planned. Hopefully, the aim will be to have our first runners during Craven week which, traditionally, marks the beginning of our season, with some of our big guns eyeing races at the opening Newmarket meeting.
The two year olds are also coming along nicely. Having bought a few more speedier types than usual, we have also begun to increase their work and, while they are nowhere near being ready to run, they seem forward enough and we are very excited about their prospects this year.