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We had four runners over the past week and, although none of them managed to finish with their head in front, we deserved a winner as they all ran well. 

JUMPING CATS put up a creditable performance to finish third at Catterick on Wednesday, particularly as that wouldn’t be an ideal track for him. His race also had a red-hot favourite and so we knew we were up against it, but he’s a horse that doesn’t have too many other opportunities at the moment. They went quite a good gallop, but he still ran in snatches a little bit, as is his wont. He looked like he wasn’t going to make his presence felt on the race but then he stayed on strongly in the last two furlongs and, in the end, was unlucky not to finish second.  He’ll probably stay further than two miles, but I really think he wants somewhere a bit more conventional to be seen to best effect.

Later on Wednesday, SOLFEGGIO finished fourth at Kempton. We were drawn down the inside and, early in the straight, found ourselves held in a pocket. I had hoped they would fan out and she would get a run, but they all made a dive for the inside. As a result, George had to bide his time and wait for a gap to come and, by the time she got racing room and was rolling, the race was all but over. However, she stayed on well at the end and now that she is settling better, I wouldn’t mind trying to run her over a longer trip. The extended mile at Wolverhampton or even a mile and a quarter somewhere, might be an option. We’ll see on that but, on the whole, she’s running consistently and we just need to find the right opportunity for her.

I took a bit of a punt running HAN SOLO BERGER at Doncaster on Thursday. He was well at home, but we had always thought he was not so good on faster ground. He didn’t let us down and ran well here, travelling very strongly throughout. George waited for the leaders to soften each other up and pounced at the right moment. He looked like he had the race won but the winner came with a wet sail and did us in the last few strides. I can’t argue with the result as the winner was the best horse in the race, but it was nice to see him show his form again and hopefully his turn isn’t too far away.

Finally, we sent ZEYZOUN up to Chester on Friday evening. It is not the easiest of tracks and things didn’t pan out ideally for him. Paul Hanagan rode a canny race on the winner, slowing it down from the front. We were in the right place tracking the leaders but, when the pace quickened, we were caught behind some horses and the winner got first run on us. We ran well to finish second and, as he’s been running very consistently all season, I don’t think his turn is too far away either.

As for this week, THE FIDDLER goes to Nottingham on Tuesday evening. If he runs like he did at Wetherby, he should be competitive in this race. Things didn’t work out for him in his last race at Kempton but he’s in good heart and, as long as the ground doesn’t dry up too much, he should run his race.

We’ll probably run HI HO SILVER at Wolverhampton on Wednesday as long as he gets in. He’s dropping back in trip and we’ll put cheek pieces on to sharpen him up and get him focussed on what’s he got to do. I might also run THE CORPORAL at Yarmouth on the same day. We think a mile and a quarter will be his trip, but we’ll find that out for sure here. 

Beyond that, I need to have a good look at the races before committing to running plans. DRAMATIC DEVICE and FOLLOW INTELLO both have options on Thursday and Saturday. We’ll have to wait and see where they might go.

Finally, TRADE TALKS was sold at Tattersalls on Friday and will now continue his career in Ireland. Hopefully the change of scenery will do him good and he will do well for his new connections.