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Well, we’ve had a very busy week but I have to say that it proved a bit frustrating.

Things kicked off with SEYASAH at Leicester on Monday afternoon. She is proving frustrating and, having started her season so positively, it has been downhill ever since. We’re searching for the key to getting her to operate properly and, although we’re beginning to run out of time with her, we’ll keep trying. It was a bit of a disappointing effort here, particularly as they went nice and fast in front of her, setting the race up for a closer. She seemed to be travelling quite well and began to close, but her effort in the final furlong and a half was lacklustre, so this was disappointing.

FOLLOW INTELLO, who has been a backward sort both mentally and physically, made his racecourse debut at Windsor in the evening. He still has some way to go as he was awkward to load although he was fine once in the stalls. In the race itself, he didn’t do much wrong. He got tucked in, settled well and travelled round nicely. They didn’t go very fast in the race as you would expect in a maiden race at Windsor, so it turned into a bit of a dash down the straight. Being tucked in isn’t the best place to be in such circumstances but he stayed on fairly resolutely, running on to the line. He was beaten 10 lengths but it was a satisfactory debut. I don’t think he is good enough to win a maiden and so his future lies in handicaps, where I’d like to see him make some progression and show he is going in the right direction.

On Tuesday, we had two runners at both Kempton and Yarmouth. In the 6f handicap at the former, OH SO SASSY got involved in a speed duel up front and so predictably fell into a bit of a heap once into the home straight. It was a bit of a shame as we were nicely drawn and, as there wasn’t much obvious pace in the race, it had looked a race where a well-drawn horse getting on the front end would be able to dominate. Unfortunately, there were two or three others that decided they wanted to make it from wider out and so rather than being able to get a nice comfortable lead, she was taken on all the way and simply ended up doing too much.

Also at Kempton, JUMPING CATS was a bit disappointing. I know he hadn’t shown us a huge amount on his handicap debut at Newbury but I blamed the ground a bit there. Back on a surface and over a distance where he had run well before, I expected him to do better than he managed. He seemed to travel round well but faded out of it down the straight. Based on his pedigree, he should have been doing his best work at the end and perhaps this race came too soon after Newbury, particularly as he’s had two or three races in a fairly short space of time. He might just want a bit of time to strengthen up further before we launch him again.

At Yarmouth, THE FIDDLER ran well. We were drawn out quite wide and so getting him into a good position was going to prove a bit tricky. However, Hollie Doyle managed to get him into midfield and he travelled round well. Once into the straight, he was beginning to pick up but then got squashed by the favourite as it went past, which unbalanced him for a little while before staying on again. I think we’re learning with him that he wants to go further still than a mile and a half. With a trouble free run, although he certainly wouldn’t have the won the race, I think he would have been challenging for a place. He’s a horse that is running consistently, albeit just out of the money, and I’d hope that before the end of the year, we can find a race where we can step him up in distance and he can get his head in front.

CALM CHARM continues to baffle as she works well at home, showing more ability than where she is handicapped at present. We put blinkers on here and hoped that we could bounce her out and make the running. Again, there were two or three others that made a determined bid to win the race from the front and so they went too fast, setting the race up for a closer. For a little while, it looked as though she would run on and show some of the promise we’ve seen from her on the gallops but I’m afraid she flattered to deceive and weakened out of it in the final furlong.

On Wednesday, we had a bit of a disaster with LUCKY CHARM at Brighton. We got drawn out wide and didn’t break all that well. Tom Queally allowed himself to get sucked into a speed duel up front, which was disappointing as I had given him the option to drop her in if that was the way the race was going to pan out. As it was, she went too fast, too soon and didn’t get home. It was a disappointing effort as we had only been a neck behind the winner on our previous meeting and although I think we had it all to do to reverse that form, we should have been second or third. She’s better than she showed here and probably needs a sharper track to show her best as she has got a lot of speed but we’ve got to try to harness it.

At Newmarket on Friday, BLACK LOTUS did everything right but, sadly, just bumped into one. She was in a good position, settled well, moved up going into the Dip. However, the eventual winner was always travelling well and when it picked up it was a no contest and we simply couldn’t give that one a stone. So, we had to settle for second place but she ran well.

SUMMER THUNDER had her first run for us at Chelmsford in the evening. She didn’t really stay the mile but we were drawn wide and so only had two options, to go forward or drop in, and if we took the latter option she would have got a face full of the surface and so we thought we would let her bowl along. She travelled round quite well and I thought turning into the straight she might take a hand in the finish but she got tired and faded out. As I say, she probably didn’t stay the mile and, in addition, probably needed the run after a bit of a break since her last run. It was a good enough run and showed there is a bit of something there, and we’ll see if we can find a suitable event to prove that to us.  

Back at Newmarket on Saturday, HACKNEY ROAD went there with a favourite’s chance but got beaten by one that had no form for umpteen runs and had been withdrawn from a race the day before when the ground hadn’t been all that different. Make of that what you will but she did nothing wrong, ran well and simply got beaten by one that looked like it had jumped into the race at the 2f marker.

In the evening at Windsor, FIRST SITTING ran a bit flat in the Winter Hill. He usually travels round quite strongly but on this occasion he was never on the bridle, only doing enough to hang on in there and couldn’t show his usual finishing kick. It was only ten days after his run in France and so we probably ran him back just a bit too soon. There aren’t many suitable options for him in the latter stages of the season and so our hand was forced to run him here. I’d hope to run him again although I am not sure where. We’d have to carry a penalty in listed races, which doesn’t make life easy, and there are only a couple of Group 3’s in France over his trip of 10 furlongs.

The week ended with HAN SOLO BERGER at Epsom on the Bank Holiday afternoon. He ran very well. We were a bit unsure about how he would handle the track but he had his easy ground, which he enjoyed. I thought his wide draw could prove a problem but at least when it is slow ground you know they will come across to the stands rail. We looked like we were coming to the win the race but it was the same story as for the past few days, as we just found one to beat us. It was disappointing that we didn’t win but he ran well and I can’t grumble with this effort. 

After a busy fortnight, things will be much quieter this week with our only possible runner being FOLLOW INTELLO at Wolverhampton on Saturday. However, there is still plenty to do especially with the domestic yearling sales kicking off this week in Doncaster. I’ll be heading up there to have a look at what’s on the market before going on to visit one or two homebred yearlings that I hope will be heading our way.