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GAVIN CROMWELL: Brand Ambassador and dual purpose trainer Gavin Cromwell reflects on life during lockdown and looks ahead to the Irish Flat Season.

It’s been great to see racing in the UK finally get underway with the Guineas this weekend still to come. We’re not far off things starting up again in Ireland with Naas hosting the first meeting on Monday, which, as you’d expect, has attracted a hatful of entries. 

It will be quite a low-key start for us, with only a few horses entered over the first few days, but things will ramp up as the season gets into full swing, so before that happens here’s a bit on what’s been going on while racing has been off.

Life and training during lockdown

We’ve had to get used to doing things in a different way since the country went into lockdown. It’s been a new experience for us all and we’ve had to adapt to working under different working conditions with the new COVID-19 guidelines. Things have gone well under the new conditions, though, and the whole team has played their part in keeping things going. The way things are doesn’t make things easy, but we’ve all mucked in as best we can and with any luck the results on the track will equal the work we’ve put in off it.

I, like everyone in Ireland, is really looking forward to getting going again. It’s been a long wait and, at times, it’s been very frustrating, but the public’s health is paramount and now that there is some light at the end of the tunnel, everyone can’t wait to get going again. Horse Racing Ireland have done a brilliant job to save as many of the fixtures as they have and let’s just hope everything goes smoothly.

Plenty to look forward to

You can read more about the five Flat horses I’m most looking forward to here, but as well as those we’ve got some nice horses to look forward to across both codes.

With regards the summer jumpers, we have a nice team with Ming Dynasty, Lever Du Soleil and Static Jack the three that we’d probably be most looking forward to. They should all have nice campaigns over the next few months and with any luck one or two of them might find their way into the winners’ enclosure.

We’ve also got a handful of two-year-olds to look forward to and some battle-hardened handicappers that can mix it on both the Flat and over Jumps racing this summer, so there is plenty to keep us busy!

Princess Yaiza

Princess Yaiza is in great form at home and we’re hoping to start off in the Noblesse Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday week and then go from there. We couldn’t have been happier with her since she’s returned to the yard and I actually think she’s a better mare than she was a couple of seasons back.

There’s a lovely programme for her and we’re looking forward to seeing what she can achieve this season. Her main aim would be back at Longchamp for the Prix de Royallieu which she won on Arc weekend in 2018. She could be a real flag bearer for the yard this season.