It's the 1st March, dear reader, and - implausibly - Spring appears to have veritably sprung in my neighbourhood, as the incessant rain (and snow and ice) of the last many weeks has subsided and given best to glorious bright sunshine.
Of course, it is highly likely that the sun will soon revert back into the cloudy shadows. However, for now, no matter how briefly, my thoughts turn towards the longer, warmer days that will inevitably follow.
Before then, and now just two weeks ago, there's the small matter of the Cheltenham Festival to consider.
There weren't really many clues over the weekend, with the exception of the Newlands Chase at Leopardstown on Saturday, where Tranquil Sea underlined his chance with a most comfortable verdict over some reliable yardsticks.
Personally, that race was pleasing for two reasons:
Firstly, I'd tipped the winner on my free Irish racing tips page over at http://horse-racing.ie. Obviously a 4/6 shot is not the greatest piece of tipping the world has ever known, but it made it two on the bounce after the nomination of Kempes, a 9/2 winner earlier in the week.
Secondly, and most encouragingly, my Grand National ante-post headline selection was beaten only three lengths in third, staying on all the way to the line as you'd expect over this far from ideal 2m1f. Snowy Morning, who was tipped (and backed!) by yours truly at 40/1 when the weights were published two weeks ago, is now a best priced 25/1, 20's generally, and as low as 16/1 in a place. I hope some of you followed me in, as this one has a really obvious chance on any means of studying the race. (The full article is here).
For those of you following Betfair Conspiracy, here are the races I'll be tracking today:
Hereford's 4.30 and 5.00
Wolverhampton's 4.10 and 4.40
Finally, in this short post, Geegeez Racing Club horse, Always De One has her second start in the Geegeez.co.uk colours tomorrow at Lingfield, where she'll contest a 1m2f handicap.
There's 13 in the race and, whilst she's never raced at Lingfield before, the likely stronger gallop should suit better than her most unlucky third place last time out.
We're hopeful rather than confident, and I'll be there cheering her on!
That's it for now.
p.s. If you've been emailed about Betfair Wizard, don't bother. The free system is worse than bad...