The Firm returned to something like his form at Southwell on 16th March, where we unfortunately ran into the seemingly well-handicapped Red Touch, which was having its first run for the Mick Appleby yard. As expected, Red Touch duly won the race with something in hand, but it was a good run from The Firm, who finished third, only a short head behind the second horse. Another stride and we would have had the forecast up!
We had yet another trip to Southwell on 23rd March, with Khajaaly this time, in a race which was run at a decent pace, so it paid to be handy. Unfortunately he couldn’t get into a decent position and had to come wide round the bend, which totally blew his chances.
The opening meeting of the Flat Turf season at Redcar for the Easter Monday Bank Holiday on 28th March seemed to offer a chance for Khajaaly to show what he can do on grass, and with the ground on the soft side, we expected conditions would be fine for him. However, it was truly desperate ground, far heavier than he could handle. Joe Fanning said that he had run gamely enough, and will be winning again, but the state of the surface in the last couple of furlongs had stopped him in his tracks this time.
We finished the month on a rather tame note when The Firm ran no sort of race at Southwell on 30th March. Mick Appleby’s stable jockey Andrew Mullen was in the saddle, as our regular pilot Rob Hornby was riding at another meeting for his boss Andrew Balding. We were up against Mick Appleby’s Red Touch once again, and on slightly better terms than last time, so we expected to finish rather closer to that one than we actually did. In the end, Red Touch finished 2nd and The Firm was some lengths adrift in 7th. Not his usual sort of race so we can consign that one to the history books.