Trainer's Blog

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It was a busy week with runners every day and it all began with CHISANA making her debut at Windsor on Monday. She was drawn wide and so we had to drop her in to give her a chance of learning something. I think it all happened a bit quickly for her, not helped by the fact that the ground was firm enough for her and she was just a little reluctant to let herself down. I’ve seen better than that from her at home and so will give her the benefit of the doubt after this first run. On reflection, she might want to come back to five furlongs as I thought she showed speed once she realised what was expected of her, but she didn’t finish her race off and the last furlong was a long one for her.

On Tuesday, we ran PURGATORY at Nottingham. It was a somewhat bizarre run from him, and he gave the impression that he wasn’t really focussed on the task in hand. It was a race that he could have been competitive in, but he fell out the stalls, didn’t really pick the bridle up early on and got himself into a position that was too far back. He stayed on quite well at the end but was never going to get close enough to throw down a challenge. We’ll think seriously about the application of some headgear to get him focused on what he’s got to do. He doesn’t lack ability, but we need to do something about his focus and concentration.

Our trip to Kempton on Wednesday evening was not a very enjoyable one. WALK IT TALK IT ran badly and we don’t know why. In the race, she travelled well for about six furlongs but was then the first one off the bridle and was beaten a very long way out. I hadn’t expected her to win a class 3 maiden but, on the evidence of her first race, she should have finished closer than she did. She’s qualified for handicaps after this run and I think we’ll now go down that route with her.

JUMPING CATS’ race looked like it could become a tactical affair because there was nothing likely to make the running. As a result, we decided to sit handy in case it became a crawl and a sprint. They didn’t go that slowly but sitting up close to the pace, always seeing daylight didn’t suit him. He’s a horse who isn’t always the most focussed and is best off covered up to come with a run. I think when horses started go past him early in the straight, he waved the white flag and dropped away pretty quickly. In future, irrespective of anything, I think we’ve got to hold him up and let him do the finishing, rather than trying to force it.

On Thursday, DOUBLE OR BUBBLE made her debut at Yarmouth. She’s a full sister to Mix And Mingle and a filly we like. She ran very well. She was quite green in the early stages, took a little while to realise what was expected of her but finished her race off very nicely against a horse with previous experience; she was the only filly in the race too. We’ll look to see if we can find her a fillies’ only race next time and we’ll stick at six furlongs for now. She’s a nice prospect.

ICE LORD left us puzzled with his run at Newmarket on Friday evening. Normally he’s pretty keen in his races but on this occasion, didn’t travel terribly well and looked like he was just going through the motions. He was rather scrabbling along and, when let down, was starting to hang. James Doyle wisely eased him up and let him come home in his own time. He went into the race in good heart and we were expecting a good run from him.  It is the only time he has ever run a really disappointing race for us and so we’ll have to draw a line and start again. On the day, we didn’t get as much rain as we were forecast and with a very strong wind all day, it just might be the ground was getting lively enough for him. Then again, he has run well on quickish ground in the past and, as we can’t find anything obvious amiss, I must admit that I just don’t know what Friday was all about.

The week ended well with THE FIDDLER finally getting everything right to get off the mark at Redcar. He raced in a decent enough position not too far off the leaders, the early pace in the race wasn’t very strong and I thought that might pose problems for him later on. Paul Hanagan was able to ease him to the outside halfway up the straight and he came home well to run out a ready winner. We’ll have to wait and see what the handicapper does and make a plan from there, but it was good to see him getting his head in front.

We’ve got plenty of entries this week although running plans remain somewhat uncertain. On Wednesday at Kempton, we have SEPHIRA PARK in a fillies’ novice. She needs a third run to qualify for a handicap rating and I would like to see her make some sort of progression from her first run for us at Doncaster, where she didn’t run too badly. We’ve got ZEYZOUN and DELILAH PARK entered in the seven furlong handicap, and, of the two, I’m more likely to run the latter at the moment. We’ll have another good look at the race on Monday morning before declarations close.

It is back to Yarmouth on Thursday. SOLFEGGIO and PURGATORY are entered in the one mile handicap, and neither would want it too firm. I’m hoping that this region will get its share of the rain forecast this week because we’ve missed out a bit lately. THE CORPORAL has an option at Yarmouth and also at Newmarket on Friday, so we’ll have a close look at both of those events. He wouldn’t want it too firm but would get away with faster ground than the other two.

At Newmarket on Friday, GLEN ESK has an entry. He wouldn’t want it too fast and so we’ll hope we get the rain. He ran well on his debut on slowish ground at Doncaster, and as he’s a big horse he wouldn’t want to hear his feet rattle. So, it will depend on the ground, but I would like to run him at Newmarket if we can as it seems a logical step to go there. HAN SOLO BERGER is also likely to run on the July course on Friday.

As for the weekend, it will depend on the conditions and what his race looks like, but we might run DRAMATIC DEVICE at Newbury.