We went on to enjoy two further successes with well-related bumper horses Swing Bowler and Barney Cool. Swing Bowler completed a double for Conor at Wincanton and the daughter of great mare Lady Cricket (and by Galileo, sire of Frankel!) put up a pleasing debut performance when easily accounting for her rivals.

Barney Cool, a half brother to a long line of winners including Mr, Miss and Very Cool continued family tradition when winning at Fontwell under A P McCoy. A home bred gelding (and the last from the great broodmare Laurel Diver) Barney Cool showed distinct signs of greenness on his racecourse debut, but he clearly possesses much of the family’s ability. Both he and Swing Bowler will have a break over the summer and they look like nice long-term prospects.

I was very impressed by Carlton House in the Dante at York last week. Despite only making his third start on the racecourse and pulling far too hard in the early stages, he still had more than enough to see off the challenge of last season’s Racing Post Trophy runner-up Seville. He looks to be a worthy favourite for the Derby and looks as though he will improve yet further for the experience and step-up in trip. It would be fantastic if Her Majesty The Queen could have a long overdue winner of the Epsom Derby.

I fly out to France today (Tuesday) to see Notus de la Tour compete in the Prix Melinoir at Auteuil this afternoon. Notus travelled over on Sunday and arrived safely and in good form. Our Totesport Trophy third looks to have a solid chance in the 3600m hurdle in which he will be ridden by Anthony Lecordier, one of the leading jump jockeys in France. Anthony schooled him yesterday over ten hurdles and I am pleased to say that he jumped nicely and his preparations have gone well.

With the race worth a total of €48,000 I can only see more trainers sending their horses abroad in search of better prize money. Indeed, as I stated last week we intend to send Grand Crus over for the Grade One Grand Course de Haies d'Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle) at Auteuil on 18th June.   There will be no Big Buck’s in opposition (which is obviously a bonus!), while one of the leading French hurdlers, Questarabad sadly passed away. Grands Crus has just been kept ticking over since Aintree and he is very well at present – this looks to be a good opportunity for him, so we are looking forward to an exciting few weeks.