Trainer's Blog

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It was another good week with a big team effort, and it all started at Windsor on Monday evening where BLACK LOTUS was on the comeback trail having won well earlier in the year but then running disappointingly in her next two races. She got back on track here, winning well. I had thought by the backend of the season we would be looking to run her in a listed race for some black type and I still think that is the case after this performance. I know this was only a 0 to 80 handicap, but she was in a different league to the others in the race and despite being baulked badly 2f out, won quite commandingly.We’ll see what the handicapper does with her rating but there’s a fillies’ listed race at Yarmouth at their three-day meeting in September and I would think that is where we will head with her.

Later in the evening, CAPLA HUNTRESS had her second start and ran quite nicely. She got badly interfered with down the straight on more than one occasion but once she got some racing room, stayed on again at the finish. This was a run with a bit of promise for a filly whose future is in handicaps. Although still a bit backward, she is going the right way.

On Tuesday, we had HI HO SILVER at Yarmouth, and he didn’t run badly to finish third. We were drawn on the outside and he could have just done with being drawn in amongst them so that he could have some cover early on. He raced with the choke out for the first couple of furlongs and then paid the penalty for that at the finish when he emptied out inside the last furlong having taken himself into contention. It was a good run all things considered and, having had a couple of disappointing efforts after showing a bit of promise earlier in the year, it looks like he is getting back on track. The key to him is just being able to get a little bit of cover so he switches off early on and then he’ll have more to finish with.

Onto Friday, which started with DRAMATIC DEVICE at Newmarket. I have been toying with the idea of stepping him up to 12f, but we had planned to run him at Newbury last week. When the ground came up soft there, we decided to run him over 12f at his local track.  It looked a competitive enough race on paper, and he would have to be on his A-game to win it. However, he won quite decisively and clearly improved for this step up in trip. He settled nicely, showed a nice turn of foot, and was still running strongly at the finish. He clearly has stamina and a little bit of speed to go with it. We’ll see if we can get him to win in slightly better company next time, but we’ll wait to see what the handicapper does before making a specific plan.

 ICE LORD ran at Goodwood, but the race didn’t quite work out as we hoped. He was another horse drawn on the outside in a race where they didn’t go a particularly strong pace early on. He is at his best when they go a good gallop in front of him, you settle him in, and he then finishes strongly. On this occasion, he was just seeing daylight and racing with the choke out early on. When the pace quickened, he went with them for a while but tired out close home. So, this wasn’t his thing, but it was a better run than last time and, although he’s not back to his best yet, this was a step forward.

Also on Friday, LUCKY CHARM reappeared at Chelmsford. She doesn’t make it easy for you as she gets herself in a bit of a stew on the racecourse compared to at home, where she is a pretty straightforward filly. She consented to go in the stalls with a little bit of encouragement. She then stood and half-reared once but at least she raced, and Josephine Gordon gave her a nice ride. The plan had been to get her to settle and then finish, but she showed us she wants 5 furlongs and then let her bowl along, as she has plenty of natural speed. We’ll look for something over the minimum distance on a suitable track.

We were back at Chelmsford on Saturday with ZEYZOUN. He ran well and, although he was a little bit unlucky, I am not sure I agreed with the newspaper’s verdict that this was a ‘missed opportunity’. George had him settled in nicely from a wide draw and we were tracking the eventual winner who had been drawn on the rail. Coming around the bend, we had a horse in front of us that was going nowhere, and George had to make the decision whether to switch out or in. He wisely switched in, which didn’t cost him any ground. Just as he was picking up and looking like he would be a threat to the winner, he went for a gap between the winner and another horse, and the winner rolled in on him and shut the gap, so we had to switch round. He only lost momentum for a couple of strides and soon got going again. We were only beaten ¾ length and with a clear run, I think we would have finished upsides the winner. Whether we would have nailed him I don’t know as I thought the winner won with a little bit up his sleeve. It was a good effort, and, after a disappointing effort last time, he’s bounced back to run to his form again.

The week ended in the best possible fashion with HAN SOLO BERGER wining at Newmarket. I thought the outside draw might scupper him as he’s another one that appreciates a bit of cover to give him something to aim at. He was all right though and Tom Queally managed to get him sat on the quarters of the eventual second, who gave us a good lead into the race, and he picked up well in the dip. Briefly I thought we might get run down again like he has been before, but he stuck his neck out well and kept going. That must allay any thoughts of him not being totally committed as he did really well to win here. It was a great thrill for his owners as this was their first winner.

That took us to 14 winners for the season and we’ve just got hope that when these horses come around to run again in ten days’ or so time, some might win again.

Looking to this week, SEPHIRA PARK heads to Kempton on Wednesday evening and will be qualified for handicaps after this third run. She seems to be going in the right direction.

We’ve got a few entered up on Friday, including recent winners THE CORPORAL at Sandown and PURGATORY at Thirsk. We’ll wait and see on ground and a few other factors before deciding whether to run. GLEN ESK might run again as well. As for the weekend, CAPLA HUNTRESS looks like being our only entry at Wolverhampton on Saturday. So, this week will be pretty quiet but that will give us a chance to re-group and re-organise. We’ve got a bunch of two-year-olds that aren’t too far off running so they need to have the finishing touches put to them, spending a bit of time at the stalls and things like that. The week after through until the middle of September look like being busier and we’ll be working hard to keep the momentum going.