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  1. We had four runners over the past week and, although none of them managed to finish with their head in front, we deserved a winner as they all ran well. 

    JUMPING CATS put up a creditable performance to finish third at Catterick on Wednesday, particularly as that wouldn’t be an ideal track for him. His race also had a red-hot favourite and so we knew we were up against it, but he’s a horse that doesn’t have too many other opportunities at the moment. They went quite a good gallop, but he still ran in snatches a little bit, as is his wont. He looked like he wasn’t going to make his presence felt on the race but then he stayed on strongly in the last two furlongs and, in the end, was unlucky not to finish second.  He’ll probably stay further than two miles, but I really think he wants somewhere a bit more conventional to be seen to best effect.

    Later on Wednesday, SOLFEGGIO finished fourth at Kempton. We were drawn down the inside and, early in the straight, found ourselves held in a pocket. I had hoped they would fan out and she would get a run, but they all made a dive for the inside. As a result, George had to bide his time and wait for a gap to come and, by the time she got racing room and was rolling, the race was all but over. However, she stayed on well at the end and now that she is settling better, I wouldn’t mind trying to run her over a longer trip. The extended mile at Wolverhampton or even a mile and a quarter somewhere, might be an option. We’ll see on that but, on the whole, she’s running consistently and we just need to find the right opportunity for her.

    I took a bit of a punt running HAN SOLO BERGER at Doncaster on Thursday. He was well at home, but we had always thought he was not so good on faster ground. He didn’t let us down and ran well here, travelling very strongly throughout. George waited for the leaders to soften each other up and pounced at the right moment. He looked like he had the race won but the winner came with a wet sail and did us in the last few strides. I can’t argue with the result as the winner was the best horse in the race, but it was nice to see him show his form again and hopefully his turn isn’t too far away.

    Finally, we sent ZEYZOUN up to Chester on Friday evening. It is not the easiest of tracks and things didn’t pan out ideally for him. Paul Hanagan rode a canny race on the winner, slowing it down from the front. We were in the right place tracking the leaders but, when the pace quickened, we were caught behind some horses and the winner got first run on us. We ran well to finish second and, as he’s been running very consistently all season, I don’t think his turn is too far away either.

    As for this week, THE FIDDLER goes to Nottingham on Tuesday evening. If he runs like he did at Wetherby, he should be competitive in this race. Things didn’t work out for him in his last race at Kempton but he’s in good heart and, as long as the ground doesn’t dry up too much, he should run his race.

    We’ll probably run HI HO SILVER at Wolverhampton on Wednesday as long as he gets in. He’s dropping back in trip and we’ll put cheek pieces on to sharpen him up and get him focussed on what’s he got to do. I might also run THE CORPORAL at Yarmouth on the same day. We think a mile and a quarter will be his trip, but we’ll find that out for sure here. 

    Beyond that, I need to have a good look at the races before committing to running plans. DRAMATIC DEVICE and FOLLOW INTELLO both have options on Thursday and Saturday. We’ll have to wait and see where they might go.

    Finally, TRADE TALKS was sold at Tattersalls on Friday and will now continue his career in Ireland. Hopefully the change of scenery will do him good and he will do well for his new connections.

  2. As expected, we didn’t have any runners last week but we should be back on the racecourse again over the next few days. JUMPING CATS is entered in a 2m handicap at Catterick on Wednesday and I think we will run here as we don’t have too many other options for him. There are one or two others in there that would make it a competitive race, but we’ll have to see if they turn up. Although he has shown his best form on the all-weather, where he has won twice, I’d hope we could get him off the mark on the grass. He’s gone up a bit in the weights and so life isn’t going to be easy for him, but he’s in good heart and so hopefully he’ll go there and run well. 

    On Wednesday evening, we have three entered at Kempton. All of them are in quite competitive races and so we’ll wait to see how those races develop when declarations are being made on Monday morning. DELILAH PARK, who won last time, is in the apprentice handicap and that looks competitive enough, although it is a race that might just cut up a bit and so we’ll wait and see with her. To get a run, SOLFEGGIO will need her race to divide, which I think it probably will. OH IT’S SAUCEPOT, however, is unlikely to go as her race looks too competitive, involving some improving three-year-olds that would take a lot of beating.

    HAN SOLO BERGER has entries at Doncaster on Thursday and Chester on Friday. He’ll need a bit of rain but the forecast gives us some hope on that front, particularly towards the backend of the week, so we’ll hope we get his ground somewhere. I’d prefer to run him at Doncaster but we’ll have to wait and see. He is always a bit limited by the ground and ZEYZOUN is the same as he needs a bit of rain, but he may go to Chester on Friday evening.

    FIRST SITTING is entered in the early closing John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup Handicap at York on Saturday but I don’t think we’ll run him there as I would like to wait and run him at Goodwood at the end of the month. So, I don’t think we have anything for the weekend although we are looking busier for the following week. 

    Finally, it is the July Sales at Tattersalls this week and TRADE TALKS is due to go through the ring on Friday.