Trainer's Blog

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Last week started well with the victory of PENTLAND HILLS at Windsor on Monday evening. Windsor is not always the easiest track when you are drawn a bit wide, which we were, but he broke well and got into a nice position. There was a bit of scrimmaging 2 furlongs out which would have given him the perfect excuse not to go through with it if he had any doubts but he stuck on really well and won a shade cosily in the end. We’ll see what the handicapper does with him on Tuesday and make a plan for there but it would be nice think that he could get his hat-trick now that he has got his act together.

HI HO SILVER made his seasonal debut at Leicester on Tuesday on ground that was plenty quick enough for him. Unsurprisingly, he was a bit rusty but I thought he ran ok. He was a bit slow out of the stalls and took a little while to get going. Two furlongs out it looked like he was going to stay on and run on nicely, but he got tired at the end and was probably also just feeling the ground a bit as well. Anyway, it has got his season started and we’ll be looking to build on that over his next two or three runs.

On Friday evening at Kempton, nothing really went right for HAN SOLO BERGER. He broke ok but got pushed out wider and wider, didn’t take the bend very well and, to be honest, it was game over at that point. It was disappointing really as he had run a good race at Epsom ten days before and a repeat of that would have had him competitive. That said, I am not sure we would have beaten the winner, who won well and has obviously taken a step forward after a break. However, I thought we should have done better than we did.

The week ended at Ascot on Saturday with ICE LORD. He was in great form going into the race and I was sure we were going to get a good run from him, which proved to be the case. During the race, he was a little bit keen and I don’t think the pace in the middle of the race was as strong as it could have been, which was why he suddenly got a bit strong as they slowed up in front of him. When the gap came, it wasn’t a particularly big one but he went through it readily. He looked all over the winner only to get collared on the line, which was obviously disappointing although, in fairness to the winner, he did make up a lot of ground. I think Ice Lord has improved this year and, physically, he has certainly taken a step forward as he’s much stronger than he used to be. This was a really good effort on ground that was quick enough for him and, with form on slower ground, I would hope he could make amends somewhere once the rain comes. He needs a bit of time between his races and he’s not entered in the big races at Ayr, so we’ll be looking for something after that. I have to say the Programme Book isn’t full of options for him and his next target will also depend to some extent on what the handicapper does to him. As this was a close finish involving so many horses, I would hope his rating doesn’t go up too much.

Looking ahead to this week, MOUNTAIN RESCUE runs at Leicester on Tuesday. He’s in good heart and so I hope he goes well. We ducked one or two races last week that were pretty competitive and, while this certainly isn’t weak by any stretch of the imagination, it probably has less strength in depth than the others. A little bit of rain wouldn’t go amiss.

It is a possibility that ZEYZOUN will run at Epsom on Thursday but he could also do with some rain, so we’ll be watching the forecast this week. As for the weekend, THE FIDDLER might head to Lingfield on Saturday where he would step up to 1m6f. He’s another in good heart at the moment.