On the back of a particularly successful start to the year Norah, with a word or two from Gemma and Tim, thought she’d mark our cards with a rundown of the current kennel strength, noting one or two interesting prospects for the year ahead.

“Before I talk about our younger brigade I want to let everyone know that our mature dogs are all well enough and I hope they will have another good season.

Cloheena Cash, Zodiac Zeus and Rathglass Hero will be the mainstay of my senior runners and will be aimed at the top level competitions around the country.

Our Coronation Cup ‘Hero’ will be aimed primarily at trips beyond Derby distance though I’m considering taking in the Arc at Swindon. There’s some decent competitions at Hove over 515metres and of course Romford over 575metres.

Of the younger brigade we rate French Blue, who is Tim’s tip for the top, very highly and expect him to make his mark in distances up to 480 metres in top class Opens.

Droopys Patsy and Droopys Darwin are pups full of promise. Both are still learning the game. Patsy is still clumsy whilst ‘Charley’ Darwin needs ‘the penny to drop’ to avoid first bend trouble and, in time, will stay beyond the Derby trip. Gemma thinks he’ll be a force to reckon with as he matures and gains experience.

We recently purchased very lightly raced Druids Gaffney. He’s had one or two niggles but is on course for a shot at the Springbok (hurdles competition) at Wimbledon next month. He’s still a novice but jumps fast and low in the main. Whatever happens in the Springbok is a bonus and he’ll be campaigned in hurdle competitions and Opens.

With prize money tight at my home track, Wimbledon, we’ve found ourselves with an embarassment of riches with our graded strength. As well as the Norahmac club dogs Horse Outside and Fleetwood Rocker I’ve  the likes of Coolavanny Rock, Rally Town, Broadstrand Bill, Ballymac Soul and many others, who are more than capable of picking up small Opens, competing in A1’s which is sometimes quite difficult. For instance the kennel had four of the six finalists in the John White Christmas Cracker final in December – though we still couldn’t win it!

Of the graders coming through Gemma and Tim note Cloheena Mickey (owned by the Cloheena Cash group) and Ballymac Benefit (June 10 pup) who are likely to make very decent performers at Wimbledon in the months ahead, and Open racers beyond that.

A couple of pups that were showing up well Coolavanny Keira and Coolavanny Kayla have gone into season – they’ll go through the grades well enough come the Spring. In the more immediate future Roseville Maeve, a September ’10 pup, has been showing up really well in trials.  Yet to race in public, she’ll soon be paying her way.

We’re hoping to buy some other useful sorts over the next few months and you never know we might nick a top six place in the Trainer’s Championship especially if we continue this upward trend with our runners.”

Norah – January 2012