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  1. We’ve had a good couple of days with a winner on both Friday and Saturday, and our week started well with HI HO SILVER finishing second at Yarmouth on Wednesday. He did everything right and I think we just bumped into a well handicapped winner. He was a good runner-up and if you took the winner out, he would have been a cosy winner. That was a good performance from him, and his turn isn’t far away. He’s suited by this straight mile, but I might also try him over 1¼m on a galloping track. He would also appreciate a bit more cut in the ground. He’s heading the right way and going some way towards justifying keeping him training this year.

    Thursday was a head scratching day with our two runners at Newmarket both failing to perform, and we don’t really know why. It might just have been the ground, which had really quickened up that evening after a breezy day. CARLEEN was making her racecourse debut. She travelled up just behind the leaders for a long way but stopped very quickly three furlongs out. Although I didn’t expect her to trouble the leaders on her debut, I thought she would run a better race than that, so this performance was a bit confusing.

    THE CORPORAL had run well at Newmarket last month in a race that had worked out well and he was one that I thought would run nicely and be competitive here. At the Bushes, he also stopped quickly and got very unbalanced. Nothing has come to light with either of them since Thursday, so we’re scratching our heads as to why they performed as they did on the day.

    Things took a turn for the better on Friday with FOLLOW INTELLO at Newbury. He had run well on his seasonal debut at Windsor over 1¼m and had shown us there that he really wanted to step up in trip. In this race, they went a good gallop in front of him. He was a little bit slow into his stride but was always travelling well, moved up smoothly into contention and won quite cosily in the end. This was a good performance from him, and it was nice to get him to win a race. He looks like a horse with some potential now. He was happy on that ground but could cope with softer conditions. At some point in the future, we’ll probably move him up in trip to 1¾m but he’ll probably stick to 1½m next time.   

    We continued in similar vein on Saturday with BLACK LOTUS at Doncaster. She had run well at Nottingham to finish third on her seasonal debut when she had just needed the run. Although we had a small setback with her in the meantime when she had an abscess in her foot, she had trained well in the previous week and so I was happy to run her here. In the race itself, they didn’t go that quickly in the early stages and from a wide draw she was seeing a bit of daylight, which meant that she didn’t switch off quite as well as if she managed to get some cover. Nevertheless, she travelled well, was the last one off the bridle and moved up strongly into contention. When David Allan said ‘go’, she quickened up readily and ran out a good winner. We always thought she was a nice filly and she is beginning to prove that. The 1¼m trip is right for her and, whilst it wasn’t bad ground at Doncaster with the conditions on the good side of good to firm, she’d probably like a bit more juice in the ground. We’ll see what the handicapper does with her, and we might take in another handicap, but she’s such a well-related filly, so Black Type will be important for her and we wouldn’t want to spurn too many opportunities to achieve that.

    Later in the evening ZEYZOUN made his seasonal debut. We had taken him out of his intended return at the end of April when he was a bit under the weather. He had come good in the last week and so I thought that whilst we had some reasonable ground, we better get a run into him. They went hard in this race and so he was never going to be keen. He started to stay on into the race from halfway until just getting a bit tired inside the final furlong. He’ll benefit for this run, which was a good start to his season. He needs a bit of juice in the ground and, with there being little rain on the horizon, we’ll have to wait and see where he goes next. Pleasingly, he looks like he has grown up a bit more now and was quite well behaved on this occasion. I think he’ll benefit from another furlong and hopefully there will be a race or two to win with him at some stage during the season.     

    Looking ahead to this week, I would like to run PURGATORY at Kempton on Wednesday, but he needs quite a few to come out for him to get a run. We’ll also have to wait and see with THE FIDDLER at Lingfield on Thursday as I don’t want to run him on ground that is too firm. OH IT’S SAUCEPOT will probably go to Chelmsford on Thursday. I would have liked to have run her at Leicester on Monday, but the ground ended up too quick for her there. The Chelmsford race looks much more competitive, but we’ll probably run her as it is an opportunity to get her out somewhere. HAN SOLO BERGER has a couple of entries on Friday but he’s another one that wants some rain. It is going to be one of those weeks where we could end up with runners or circumstances might conspire against us.

  2. Last week was a pretty quiet one with just the three runners, beginning with DELILAH PARK at Windsor on Monday. This was her first start of the season and, for us anyway, her first on the grass because last year we only ran her on the all-weather. She handled the surface well, which is good to know as that opens up a few options for her. I thought on the whole she ran well, just getting a bit tired at the end, which we thought she would do. So, that was a satisfactory start to her season and gives us something that we can build on.

    On Tuesday WALK IT TALK IT made her racecourse debut at Wetherby. I was very pleased with her and she ran well to finish 4th. She’s a filly that is a little bit nervy, but she was very calm in the preliminaries and took it all in her stride. In the race, she was a bit gormless when she first came out of the stalls and it took a little while for the penny to drop. After about a furlong and a half, she was racing on an even keel and got into a nice rhythm. She stayed on pretty well and I would have certainly taken her 4th place first time out. She’s a filly that will probably stay a bit further, but I think we’ll stick at 1¼m for now. She appreciated some cut in the ground which might limit us a little bit through the year. This is a filly we’ve always liked, and she certainly didn’t let us down first time out.

    Our final runner was SPIRITUALLY at Wolverhampton on Friday. Unfortunately, as reported on the evening, she bled and so I think she’ll now go home. Whether she comes back into training, we’ll wait and see. It is a shame because although she’s not a big filly, she does try hard, but we haven’t been able to get her to show on the racecourse what she has on the gallops at home.

    This week will be busier and, all being well, HI HO SILVER will go to Yarmouth on Wednesday although I’m not sure whether he’ll run over 1m or 1¼m. We’re not guaranteed a run in either so it might come down to which race we’ll safely get a run in to make sure we get a run. He ran well enough first time to suggest that, with a bit of luck, we might get competitive this time. 

    On Thursday, we’ve got two entered at Newmarket. CARLEEN would be making her racecourse debut and she’s a big filly who I expect will take a little while to get the hang of things. She has shown us a little bit at home and so as long as she learns a bit, we can go from there with her. THE CORPORAL ran quite well first time back at the Craven meeting and we’ll hope he can build on that.

    On Friday, we have four entries including two at Newbury. ICE LORD was 4th at the Craven meeting in a race that has worked out well. As long as the ground isn’t too firm, he’d go there with a bit of a chance if everything is all right with him. He has been held up in his work at home since Newmarket having had an abscess in his foot, which was why he didn’t run at the Guineas meeting. We’ll hope everything is okay with him. FOLLOW INTELLO ran well at Windsor on his seasonal debut and will run over 1½m here, stepped up in trip which I think will suit him better. He’s another that would like to have a bit of juice in the ground. Hopefully he’s another that can take a step forward and be competitive this time.

    SOLFEGGIO is entered at Newmarket and she ran okay at Leicester three weeks ago so is another you’d be looking to run a better race this time around. She’s a filly with a bit of a future and we’ll hope she shows us a bit more here. DRAMATIC DEVICE will be making his debut for us. He ran in France last year for Godolphin and Andre Fabre, and we’ll hope he can show us a little bit and run well. He’s a bit of a character and slightly has his own ideas about how the game should be played, and we’ll want to see how he goes and learn a bit about him. He was a talented horse in France and if we can build on that, he’ll be a nice horse to go to war with through the summer.  

    Looking ahead to the weekend, ZEYZOUN might go to Doncaster on Saturday if the ground isn’t too firm. He’s taken a bit of time to come to hand this spring and we thought we had him to right to run at Leicester three weeks ago, but he wasn’t quite ready. We’ll see how he goes through this week before making a decision. FOLLOW INTELLO might get another entry at Doncaster but this is an apprentice race and I’m not sure that would be his thing at this stage of his career.  There is also a race for BLACK LOTUS, but we’ve had one or two little niggles with her since she ran at Nottingham. It is nothing nasty and she’s another one that had an abscess in her foot. I’ll probably wait as there is an alternative race at Leicester the week after or even some races after that, so we might take our time with her.