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Trainer's Report

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We’ve had a busy week which started with our highest and lowest rated horses in action on Wednesday. FIRST SITTING ran in a Group 3 at Deauville and I know they go pretty steady in French races but they took this to a whole new level. They didn’t do anything more than a normal canter and so it turned into a bit of a dash down the straight. He ran very well but that type of thing doesn’t suit him and he’s better coming off a true gallop. He stayed on strongly for third, only just failing to get second. We would never have beaten the winner but I felt we were the second best horse in the race and with a stronger gallop would probably have proved that. I am not sure where he’ll go next but I will enter him for the Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor on Saturday.

VANTASY ran at Kempton in the evening and we thought the step up in trip might bring about some improvement in his form but it didn’t. Sadly, he just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be a racehorse.

We had four runners at Yarmouth on Thursday, kicking off with ATLANTA BELLE in the 5 furlong handicap. She broke well and sat just a couple of lengths off the pace. At halfway, I thought she looked to be going well but when she came under pressure didn’t seem to find anything and emptied out fairly quickly. Whether that was just the ground, which was on the slow side, I don’t know, but it was a disappointing effort from a filly that had been going well at home. I was expecting better of her.

A bit like on his debut at Leicester, PURGATORY got a bit stewed up in the racecourse stables beforehand although he was good in the preliminaries. He ran a bit flat and, having travelled well until 2 furlongs out, didn’t have anything to finish with. It was a bit disappointing and he now has an appointment with the vet this week to have his wedding tackle altered.

We got going after that and PENTLAND HILLS got a first and deserved success having had a couple of near misses. He was always travelling around nicely and James Doyle had him in a good position throughout. He went clear approaching the final furlong but was headed about 100 yards out and looked as though that might be that. At Thirsk last time, he gave the impression that he wasn’t too bothered whether he won the race or not. Here, once he was galvanized, he stuck his head down and really wanted to win. He got back up and I thought he won a bit cosily in the end, so this was a good performance from him.

OH IT’S SAUCEPOT is having a bit of a frustrating run and she ran second again. She appreciated the softer ground, travelled round strongly and I thought she looked likely to win at the furlong pole. Credit to the winner, which did find a bit more under pressure and we had to accept second place, beaten half a length. This was another good effort and she remains in good form. I feel that a victory for her is not too far away.

 At Newmarket on Friday evening, we ran two in the same race as both want some cut in the ground and such options are a bit limited at the moment. ZEYZOUN didn’t get the cover that we wanted but, that said, he wasn’t too keen. He ran well, staying on nicely to finish third. I think he has clearly shown that he wants further, which is what we have always thought. He seems to be much more relaxed at the races now and a bit more grown up. We’ll be looking to step him up in trip in the future.

HAN SOLO BERGER had cheek pieces on for the first time and ran a lot more positively, putting in a proper shift for the first time this year. If anything, he probably came up a bit short having been taking the mickey a little bit in his previous races this season. This was a good effort from him and we’ll make a plan for him. There is a 3-year-old only race at Ripon on the Bank Holiday Monday and he might turn up there next.

Back at Newmarket on Saturday, SYRIAN PEARL was disappointing in the grey’s race. I think we can attribute most of it to the ground. When she has run on sticky ground in the past, it has never gone very well and it was the same story here. Also she had anticipated the start and banged into the stalls before they opened, which wouldn’t have helped her too much. So, a disappointing effort but all is not lost and we’ll keep going with her.

SPRITZIG made a belated seasonal debut at Newbury. She clearly didn’t stay 12 furlongs but I thought showed that she has got a little bit of ability, running well for quite a long way before she ran out of stamina. Now she’s handicapped, racing her back over 10 furlongs is probably the thing for her and a sound surface somewhere will do her good.

We’ve got horses here, there and everywhere this week. On Monday, FOLLOW INTELLO makes his racecourse debut at Windsor. He’s a big baby still and we will just hope everything goes right with him. He has a tendency to be his own worst enemy. SEYASAH goes to Leicester and we’re hoping to get her back on track following a few disappointing efforts. We’ll see how she goes.

We’ve got four runners on Tuesday. OH SO SASSY looks well drawn in her race at Kempton and she’ll be able to jump out and be in a good position. Whether she is quite good enough these days in an 85, we’ll see. She’s won well at Kempton before and so we know she can do it there. I still don’t think JUMPING CATS is particularly well handicapped but at least he is down to a more realistic mark, off 70. We’ll hope he can run a bit better in his race.

At Yarmouth, THE FIDDLER should hopefully go well. He didn’t run too badly at Windsor and wouldn’t have to improve an awful lot to take a hand here. I would have thought the main one to beat is a horse of Tom Clover’s who finished just in front of him at Windsor. CALM CHARM hasn’t really shone so far and we’re hoping the application of blinkers might help. You never know with that until you try.

LUCKY CHARM runs at Brighton on Wednesday in a race which was originally scheduled to take place at Bath. I think Bath would have probably suited her better but we don’t have that many options so she’ll have to run here. There’s a couple of decent rivals – a filly trained by Richard Hughes that just pipped her for second at Sandown, and one of Ralph Beckett’s with a bit of form – and so this might be a tough ask, we’ll see.

I am not sure yet about the backend of the week. We’ve got a few entered up but some of them, such as BLACK LOTUS at Newmarket on Friday, are a bit ground dependent. We’re due a warm, dry week and if it starts to dry up, we’ll have to look elsewhere for those like her.