A very good work morning with many of the string going through their faster paces and progressing nicely for when the ground eases.  Most of our horses could do with some rain but the string should be ready once it arrives.

Luca Cumani has announced his retirement from the training ranks.  He had a lucky escape in the nineties when despite being odds on favourite for the job, Phillips was advised to travel the world a bit more before coming back to be Luca’s assistant.   Instead though, I took up my trainers licence.

Luca has always been a brilliant trainer and my first memories of him were when he rode in the Moet et Chandon amateur derby at Epsom when I was in my youth.  Since then he has trained horses at the highest level for decades and no doubt Fittocks Stud will go from strength to strength now he can devote more time to it.

Thank you for all the messages concerning Bertie and Mick Barnes.  Pleased to report that Mick appears to be progressing and although still in Gloucester hospital, hopefully he will be out soon.

Today’s horses for your five to follow competition entries are:

SHADOW WALKER

Shadow is a promising four-year-old purchased at Doncaster last year.  He is a half-brother to two winners and is by the very successful jump stallion Stowaway.

He showed promise on the gallops last season and has strengthened up after a summer break.  Hopefully he will be running in a bumper before the New Year and is also entered in the Newbury Sales bumper in March.

He looks like giving the Pocock family some exciting times in the coming seasons.

STONEY CROSS

Stoney Cross is a home-bred of Sue Welch’s from a very good jumping family.  She has taken time to strengthen and had one run in a bumper for experience in May.

She will go novice hurdling this season and will probably appreciate running in handicap company and looks the type to progress through the season.

TIMETOBENEFIT

‘Tipsy’ won a point to point in Ireland and is a full sister to the useful Timeforben.  She had a wind op over the summer but will hopefully be running shortly when stepping up in trip in handicap company and certainly has the ability to do well this winter in three mile handicap hurdles.