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  1. We’ve had a busy few days with ten runners over the past week and, I’m pleased to say, there have been a few ups along the way. It all started with HI HO SILVER at Lingfield on Monday, who ran a satisfactory race to finish 6th. He was in the right position, just behind the leaders, but the first two absolutely bolted up and we didn’t have much of a chance with those. He just became a bitunbalanced about 1½f out, which might of cost him a place, but he ran solidly enough, and it was a bit more experience for Pam.   

    We had five runners across three venues on Tuesday. At Yarmouth, OH IT’S SAUCEPOT ran very well under a good ride from Seb to finish 3rd. I suppose, ideally, we could have done with the gaps down the rail opening 100 yards later as Seb had no choice but to commit when they opened. I wouldn’t say he got there too soon but if it had opened up later, her momentum would have carried her all the way to the line. As it wascarrying top weight told in the last 75 yards and we were caught. Still, she ran very well, and I was pleased with her effort.

    Later on the card, KINGMANIA did well to get off the mark in the nursery. At Pontefract last time, she got herself pretty wound up and things didn’t go quite her way in the race. We were at pains to make sure everything went right for her this time, which it did. She was well behaved and settled nicely. They didn’t go particularly quickly early on and so it became a bit of a dash in the final 3 furlongs. She was caught a little bit flat footed for a while and it also probably took a little while for the penny to drop but, once she got motoring, she quickened up well and ran out a ready winner. In terms of future plans, we’ll wait to see what the handicapper does with her rating. There is a fillies’ nursery at Newmarket in the middle of next month, which would be a possibility, but we’ll see. We’re getting to the time of year when the horses will tell us whether they need to run again or if that’s it for the season.

    We had two horses make the long trip up to Redcar and unfortunately the 1m handicap wasn’t really run to suit TURNTABLE. He needs a good, strongly run race and this was wasn’t, as they went a modest pace to halfway and then quickened. He was also just a little bit keen in behind early on and, then when they did quicken, you are trying to make up ground on an accelerating pace, which is very difficult. In the circumstances, he ran well pretty well to finish 5th but the race just wasn’t set up to suit him.

    Later on the card, THE FIDDLER never looked comfortable, carrying his head a little awkwardlyand never moving well. He briefly threatened about 2f out, looking like he might get involved in the race, but it was a short-lived effort and he dropped out again. He’s not been himself since returning home and so we’ll have to wait and see what is amiss with him.  

    In the evening at Kempton, FLYING STANDARD stepped up to 12f and ran a reasonable race to finish 3rd, albeit without really threatening to land a blow. He looks like he’ll stay all day and, even though he won his last race, I think this was still an improvement as it was a better race. I think we might look to step him up further in trip to 14f next time.

    On Wednesday, I was delighted that BLACK LOTUS got some Black Type when finishing 2nd in the fillies’ listed race at Yarmouth. We were drawn a bit wide, so I was a bit worried that we would get into a good enough position to lay down a challenge, but they went a nice pace, which helped her. Pat had to bide his time because he had a wall of horses in front of him and had to get one or two out of the way before he could get rolling. Once she hit her stride inside the last 2f, she flew home and finished a good 2nd. This was a solid effort from a horse we always thought was Black Type standard. She’s proved that now and I was pleased for her because she deserved it. I’m not too sure where she’ll go next but the Group 3 Pride Stakes at Newmarket in October is a possibility, particularly if we get some rain. If not, she might have to wait for something like the Listed Gillies Stakes but that’s not until the last meeting at Doncaster, which might be asking a lot to keep her on the go until then.

    On Thursday, CASTANA DIA made her racecourse debut at Yarmouth and ran very well. She settled well and they went a nice enough pace in front of her. She moved up and, coming to the furlong pole, thought she might just about win as she was travelling strongly.  The first two fillies, who were travelling down the rail and were a bit away from her, quickened up better. This was a solid effort to finish 3rd first time out and, if we can find an auction race to drop her in grade, you’d think she’d be good enough to go close in one of those next time.

    In the evening at ChelmsfordGREEK OASIS ran very well having been stepped up in trip to 10f, which proved the right thing to do. Her wide draw didn’t help to an extent, although Jack was able to get her forward and we ended up making the running. That wasn’t a bad thing to do and I don’t think it cost her the race as the winner was always travelling well behind and probably beat us fair and square. This was a solid effort to finish 2nd and I’d like to think her turn isn’t too far away if we can find the right opportunity.

    On Sunday, GLEN ESK was another one drawn wide at Chelmsford. This track would be sharp enough for him as he is a horse that takes a bit of time to get going. That proved his undoing here as he was slow to go and ended up out the back. At least the pace was fairly generous, which helped. He was just building momentum nicely 3f out, coming round the last part of the bend, when there was a wall of horses in front of him. Seb had to check and then it was a bit too much to get him going again. I think that if had been able to maintain his momentum, we’d probably run into a place, but he kept onsolidly enough to finish 5th

    After a busy couple of weeks, this week will be a much quieter one as we look to regroup ahead of some opportunities October although we might have a couple of entries at Nottingham on Sunday. We’re now on 18 winners for the year and I’d hope to get into the 20s by the end of season, which would be a fair score for the number of horses we’ve got and following the delayed start to the season.

  2. Last week was a good one with three winners from six runners, taking our total for the year to 17It all started well with CAPLA HUNTRESS at Wolverhampton on Wednesday eveningShe’s been creeping up the handicap having won her previous two races but she’s proving to be a very game filly. These 1½m races at Wolverhampton tend to be a bit two-paced in that they go fast, then slow, then sprint to the line. That all means that if you are not in the right place, you often must overcome a lot of problems to win. That was the very much the case here and, not through the fault of anybody, she ended up in not a very good position. However, she tried very hardwanted to win, and managed to get her head in front in the final stride to win by a nose. We’ll see what options we have for her, but I will consider stepping her up in trip to 1¾m as I think we might find a little bit more improvement at that longer trip.  

    On Thursday, ICE LORD put up a better effort at Doncaster. In his last two races, he’s fallen out the stalls and not travelled at all, making everything look very hard work. In this race, although he didn’t get the best of starts, I was pleased to see him travel strongly for a long way but, as we found out as the week went on at Doncaster, you needed to be prominent to take a hand in the finish. So, I thought he ran a much better race and gave us some encouragement. Indeed, I think we’re getting back on track with him and hopefully his turn won’t be too far away.

    MOLLY SHAW went to Salisbury on Friday and had a bad draw, 14 of 14, which wasn’t where you would choose to be. Nevertheless, Jack got her into a nice position close behind the leaders, travelling well. There was a slower bit of ground where the loop goes out and she lost her action in that ground and it took a little while for her to recover. Things didn’t look very promising for the next 1½f but once she got herself sorted out and Jack was able to get her racing on an even keel, she stayed on very strongly to get up close home.

    On Saturday, HAN SOLO BERGER took his chance in the very competitive Portland Handicap at Doncaster. I wasn’t expecting to win the race but having got into a good position, travelling well 2f out, I thought he would stay on and end up running a nice race. It subsequently emerged he had been struck into behind when he got shoved across one at the start. Although it isn’t a serious injury, I think it explains why he didn’t finish his race, which he usually does. Anyway, he lives to fight another day.

    FRONT OF LINE ran quite well to finish 2nd at Chelmsford on Sunday, particularly as the race didn’t quite work out as we wanted it to. We were drawn five and expected to be able to race one off the rail, tracking the leaders. Instead, we found ourselves racing three or four wide with the eventual winner in the position that we wanted to be in. She stayed on well and, in fairness, even if everything had gone right, we probably wouldn’t have beaten the winner who won quite nicely. She’s now run two good races in a row, and I think her turn isn’t far away.

    GOLDIE HAWK provided us with a good end to the week in another messy 1½m race at Wolverhampton. We had planned to race somewhere near the front so that you don’t have to worry about changes of pace. However, we didn’t have enough speed out of the stalls from her wide draw to get a handy position and so we were stuck in the pack. As normal, once they got around the second bend, they slowed it down and it became a 3f sprint for home. She did very well from her unpromising position, showing a good attitude and a good turn of foot in the closing stages to get up and win. 

    Let’s hope last week’s good form can carry on into this week, particularly as we look like having plenty of runners over the next few days.

    At Lingfield on Monday HI HO SILVER should run his race again. He’s not too badly drawn in 11 and the stands’ side on the straight track isn’t a bad place to be. He should enjoy the faster ground and so will hopefully run ok.

    We’ve a very busy day on Tuesday with five runners across three venues. At Yarmouth, OH IT’S SAUCEPOT has a big weight and faces one or two less exposed rivals. However, she’s in good heart and has run well at Yarmouth before, so I’d expect a good show even though we’re giving a lot of weight away. KINGMANIA runs in the nursery and, although it is a small field, there are two or three in there with some good form, so it will be an interesting race. She’s another in good heart and I’d expect her to run well.

    We’ve got two horses making the long trip up to Redcar. TURNTABLE likes quickish ground and the straight, flat mile that he’ll get here. I just hope with the ten-runner field that they go a good gallop all the way and doesn’t become a tactical race. THE FIDDLER runs up there as well. He’s 2 from 2on the track and reunited with Paul Hanagan, so we’ll hope he puts his best foot forward. If he does, he’ll have a chance.

    In the evening at Kempton, we’ve got FLYING STANDARD, who won his last start at Chelmsford. He’s stepping up to 1½m, which I think we’ll be more his bag and so, although he’s slightly up in grade, I’d expect him to run well and be competitive again. 

    On WednesdayBLACK LOTUS is a possible runner in the fillies’ listed race at Yarmouth. Ideally,we’d like a bit of juice in the ground, which she won’t get here. I’ll probably declare her and then take a view on the conditions once we’ve raced there on Tuesday.

    On Thursday, I’ll probably run CASTANA DIA at Yarmouth. We need to get her underway having been withdrawn on her intended debut when she got herself very upset at the track and had to be withdrawn after she banged her leg. We’ll hope for better things from her this time. GREEK OASIScould go to Chelmsford in the evening. She’ll be stepping up to 1¼m, which I think we’ll suit her. Although she hasn’t shown a great deal yet, we’ll hope she does in the future.