WITH rain forecast for the end of the week it seemed favourite to pick Wednesday to pop down to Barbury Castle, and the horses looked in great nick as many of them did their first canter of the new season.

Smad Place seems to get whiter every time I see him, and he also looks better physically as the days tick by, and Alan was happy as he came up the all-weather gallop together with two French-imports.

Others who caught the eye doing their first canter were Yanworth, who is developing into an impressive specimen, Chosen Well and L’Unique, while Shadapour, who only returned from his summer holiday on Monday, also looked in good order.

Alan said:” We won’t be getting too involved until mid-October, but I am pleased with the way the team are shaping, and the numbers are up, which is also encouraging.

“We were able to get on the grass when we had those thunderstorms last month, which is unheard of at this time of the year, so it is a case of so far, so good.”