Well, we made it. We’re through the winter solstice, so now, even if the temperatures drop further, the day gets a little longer from here on out. About one more minute of sun (or what passes for it) every day gives me something courage to get through the weeks ahead. I do hate winter. We managed to get Turfani, Belle and George (Email) down to the fibersand for some good work today. Turfani runs Thursday, and possibly George, too, and maybe even Versaki, which we didn’t really intend, but it looks like he might make it into a race we had counted on being eliminated from. It’s only a few days from his last race, but he seems in form and could go, so if he makes the cut he’ll take his chance. It’s a much better race for him than last time; this one is 1,300 meters claiming, which is just about perfect. George will have another crack at 1,900 meters; it is probably too long, but since we couldn’t judge anything from last time, I’d just like to see how he handles the distance if ridden correctly. We are lucky in that all of the races this time are not restricted to inexperienced jockeys. On Friday, four of the races on the card were for either young jockeys/apprentices, jockeys that hadn’t won 15 races this year or lady jockeys. The stewards had apparently taken on the role of schoolmaster, because the next day there was a huge list of fines handed out for things like unbuckling the chin strap of their helmets before dismounting, misusing the whip, failing to guard their line in the stretch and other basics. There was a total of 2,000 euros in fines, so we decided the stewards must have needed to pay for their Christmas party. In any case, we will not have to be subjected to the jockey school on Thursday. Now let’s hope the experienced guys are properly motivated!