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The week’s action began at Windsor on Monday where ATLANTA BELLE anticipated the start and was recoiling back when the starter let them go. Although she did her best to get out and get going, unsurprisingly she was caught a bit flat footed. If she had broken well, she would have raced on the heels of the leaders and I suspect that is probably where she would have finished as the order of the race didn’t change very much. In the circumstances, she ran a perfectly decent race but if you miss the break over 5f, then that’s usually game over.

At Yarmouth on Tuesday, HI HO SILVER didn’t finish his race off particularly well. He got a reasonable break, took a nice position and moved up into contention with about 2½f to go. I thought he would remain competitive from there on in but gradually faded out of it in the closing stages, which was a bit disappointing. It had dried up and so we could blame the ground to some extent, but I think there was more to it than that as it wasn’t as firm as when he had run at Leicester on his seasonal debut. He seems fine after the race but he really needs to put in a performance somewhere along the line.

Later in the afternoon, SEYASAH ran a good race. We put blinkers on her for the first time after a series of disappointing efforts where she hadn’t appeared to look too enthusiastic about the game. On this occasion she broke a bit sloppily, but that’s her. She travelled through the race strongly on the bridle and was staying on into contention when she got blocked a furlong out. She finished 6th, not beaten very far, and I felt that with a clear run through she would have finished in the money, filling one of the minor places. This was a much better effort from her and the blinkers seemed to do the trick.

At Kempton in the evening, PURGATORY ran very well on his handicap debut. The race wasn’t really set up for a horse like him. Drawn wide, you can’t get a very good position but he raced in midfield which wasn’t too bad. They didn’t go a particularly strong gallop with the first two pretty much in the same order throughout. It took a little while for the penny to drop once he was in the home straight, not helped by the fact that they were sprinting away in front of him. He stayed on really strongly in the final furlong to finish 3rd, beaten just over a length. It was a good effort and you have to think this run will stand him in good stead now he knows what is expected of him.

ICE LORD had found the ground too quick at Newmarket last time but he enjoyed being back on a slower surface at Doncaster on Friday. He travelled strongly throughout and stayed on well in the last 1½f. I just thought for a moment that he was going to get blocked but a gap opened at the right time and Richard Kingscote delivered him with a well-timed challenge to get up close home by a neck. Having been touched off at Ascot on his penultimate start, it was nice to turn the tables here.   

At Kempton in the evening, SYRIAN PEARL ran very well in the final race of her career. It was the same old story of Kempton, C Wall, stick it on the outside, and then you just struggle to get into the race. I know she is not a fast starter and at least in this race, they did go a decent gallop which helped but it is just too difficult from these wide draws. You can’t race wide, you’ve got to drop in and when you are last of 14 as she was, you are simply left with too much ground to make up. She motored down the final 1½f but couldn’t quite pick up the leaders, finishing 4th, only beaten a length. It was a very good run that deserved better. She is retired now and heads off to Rathasker Stud in Ireland to begin her next career as a broodmare. She’s done everybody proud since arriving as a yearling and has won some nice races in her time. The job would be much easier if there were more like her - she enjoyed every day and tried her hardest every time she went out.

Looking ahead to this week, JUMPING CATS runs at Kempton on Wednesday. He’s up in grade having won last time and so we’ll see if he can show some sort of progression on what will probably be his last race of the season. MARILYN has an entry in a Listed race at Lingfield on Thursday and I’ll have a good look at that to see what her chances are of getting a bit of Black Type. SOLFEGGIO and FOLLOW INTELLO have entries at Kempton on Friday. Solfeggio is quite likely to run if we are happy with her, and Follow Intello will also probably go but I need to have a good look at those races to see what we would be up against.

Before then we have six horses off to the Autumn Horses in Training Sale at Tattersalls. On Wednesday, MOUNTAIN RESCUE, SPRITZIG and WILD MIX will be up for sale, with ATLANTA BELLE, CALM CHARM and SEYASAH following on Thursday. If we find the right one, we might also buy something but we’ll see how the week goes.