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As was the case last week, our week began with two runners at Windsor on Monday evening. THE FIDDLER had been off since May, having been off colour and not quite right since his previous run at Wolverhampton. This race would have blown the cobwebs away and, although he lacked a bit of a zip at various stages of the race, I thought he ran well enough to finish sixth. I hope he will now run into a bit of form so that we’ll see what he can really do over his next two or three starts. The plan is to head to Thirsk or Yarmouth at the beginning of next week. 

In the next race, SOLFEGGIO was a bit disappointing in the fillies’ maiden auction fillies, not least because she had been galloping like a filly with a future ahead of making her racecourse debut. Although she behaved herself in the preliminaries, she was never moving well during the race when she displayed a scratchy action and was hanging to the right. I can only think she was feeling something although I am not sure what as nothing has shown up since we got her home. I suppose it is possible that she knocked herself coming out of the stalls. Anyway, we’ll go back to square one with her, see how she goes and make a plan. 

At Newbury on Tuesday, JUMPING CATS made his handicap debut off what is a pretty stiff mark, having run respectably in a useful novice at Newmarket. He travelled round well but, rated 75, this was simply beyond him. To be competitive, I think we’ll need to see him in a lower grade. It had been a very hot afternoon at Newbury and the ground had quickened up further by the time we got to his race. He’ll benefit from easier ground. Although this race was over 12 furlongs, he may go further still.  I think we’ll need to see him down in grade and on better ground before we see what he can do.  

On Thursday, we had two runners at Yarmouth and it was a shame that our races weren’t run the other way round. The ground was ok for BLACK LOTUS, who needs to get her toe in, and she confirmed that she had improved since her Haydock victory. This was a race that didn’t take a lot of winning but she still did it really well and was much more switched on than at Haydock. She is a filly that is improving but we’ll see what happens to her rating before making a plan. There is a 10 furlong race at Newmarket in a fortnight which would be a possibility unless the handicapper does something silly.  

Unfortunately, by the time MARILYN ran later in the afternoon, the rain had come and changed the ground. I had declared her at Newmarket the following day but Carole called me to say that the heavens had opened at home and so, with conditions likely to be even softer at Newmarket, we decided that we should let her take her chance here. She did everything right but finds it difficult to quicken on rain softened ground. However, she ran a competent race to finish 4th. 

At Newmarket on Saturday, MOUNTAIN RESCUE ran well to finish 3rd, particularly as he could have done with a stronger pace. We had planned to track Lake Volta who was drawn next to us and, as expected, made the running. Having gone a nice pace for the opening furlong, P J McDonald eased it up and went very steady, turning the race into a 3 furlong dash. As ever, our boy tried hard and saw off challengers to finish 3rd, but he couldn’t quicken up like the first two in a sprint finish. A stronger pace would have suited him and so he ran well again in the circumstances. 

This week looks like being a busy one. FIRST SITTING runs at Deauville on Wednesday in the Group 3 that he won last year. He ran a nice race at Newbury last time and I’ve been at pleased at home with him since. He’s in good heart and as long as he travels well, he should run a nice race. Andre Fabre has Breeders’ Cup winner Talismanic in the race and, if he turns up, he would take the beating but I would hope he should go well. Later in the day, VANTASY could possibly run over 12 furlongs at Kempton. 

We could send as many as five runners to Yarmouth on Thursday. There is an obvious race for ATLANTA BELLE and so she is an intended runner in the 5f handicap. PURGATORY has been waiting for some juice in the ground and so could go for the novice race. He needs one more run and then he’ll be qualified for a handicap rating. We’ll be looking to make amends for PENTLAND HILLS’ close defeat last time out. OH IT’S SAUCEPOT and OH SO SASSY are others that would appreciate juice in the ground and so could also run on the Yarmouth card. I wouldn’t say they are all going there with winning chances but they have chances of running well and hopefully we might get a winner somewhere along the line. 

On Friday, PURGATORY has an entry at Newbury which is an option if he doesn’t go to Yarmouth. HAN SOLO BERGER and ZEYZOUN are both entered in the same race at Newmarket. They both want a bit of juice in the ground but I haven’t made my mind up yet about this race. 

On Saturday, SYRIAN PEARL is on target to run in the grey’s race at Newmarket, a race she won two years ago.  SPRITZIG may make a belated seasonal debut at Newbury. I’d hope to see her run a decent race and then she’ll be qualified for handicaps.