We have had to endure a trying start to 2012, with several of ours not performing to their best on the racecourse, which after three consecutive, record-breaking months for the yard had come as quite a shock!

However, despite our recent run it has been a fantastic season and, after a recent drought, I was delighted to see Aland Islands extend his unbeaten record with an impressive victory at Doncaster on Saturday.

A bumper winner at Exeter last year, he was subsequently purchased by J P McManus, for whom he is our first horse in training. Though he won cosily on his hurdling debut at Hexham in November, I felt there was a huge amount of improvement to come and the manner of his victory in the 2m3f novice hurdle at Doncaster therefore came as no surprise.

He really is a horse for the future and I am sure he will come into his own over fences in time, though on Saturday’s effort he is possibly worth a try in a Graded contest over hurdles before he goes novice chasing in the autumn and I will be discussing plans for him with JP McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry this week. Aland Islands is entered in the Neptune Investment at the Festival next week and he could be the type to go to Aintree or Punchestown, but nothing will be decided until we have spoken to Mr Berry.