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Last week was a quieter one with JUMPING CATS the first of our runners at Wolverhampton on Monday where things didn’t go for him in his race. He got a bit squeezed out at the start, so he ended up at the back. They then didn’t go very fast and he really needs a stronger gallop to get involved because he is a thorough stayer and it takes him a little while to get wound up. Just as he was beginning to get rolling as they left the back-straight, one in front of him stopped quickly and he had to pull up to get around that, which stopped his momentum. It was game over once that happened and it clearly just wasn’t his day.

HAN SOLO BERGER was another that didn’t have much luck at Doncaster on Wednesday. Although the Racing Post reported that he dived left coming out of the stalls, the reality was that the one next to him jumped into him and unbalanced him early on. As a result, he was further back in the field than we wanted to be and then, in the closing stages, he had a wall of horses in front of him with nowhere to go. On the positive side, he didn’t have a hard race and we’ll hope he can make amends at Yarmouth on Tuesday.  

On Wednesday evening, PURGATORY became our second winner in a close photograph within a few days and I must admit that on this occasion I didn’t think we had won. He got a decent position from a wide draw in the early part of the race. Having followed the leaders, he picked up well and looked like he would go and win. However, from the grandstand, it looked like the horse that finished second had stumbled in the closing stages but then had got back up to win the race. When they called us the winner, I thought it was a miracle although, having seen the head-on and how the second horse hung violently across the track, even if we had lost the photo, we might have got the race in the stewards’ room. It was good for him to win again and this confirmed he is tough.

We were back at Doncaster on Thursday with FIRST SITTING.  On his last start at Goodwood, we had been drawn wide and we had used him up to get somewhere near the front. He did too much that day and got tired. On this occasion we were determined to hold him up and with a couple of confirmed front runners in the race, we thought there would be a genuine pace. In fact, they crawled for much of the way and the race turned into a sprint finish, and he could never get competitive. On the plus side, he ran a solid enough race, running through the line and showed he retains his enthusiasm. We’ll probably get one more roll of the dice with him towards the end of the month.

This week will be busier, starting with two handicap debutantes at Kempton on Monday evening. Both GLEN ESK and CAPLA HUNTRESS have shown enough in their maidens to think that they will run all right and be competitive in this sort of company.

On Tuesday, we have HAN SOLO BERGER at Yarmouth and THE FIDDLER at Redcar, which I hope will be well watered. Both are in races where they can run well.

FLYING STANDARD will make his racecourse debut in the 2yo maiden at Yarmouth on Wednesday.  He is very green and will need a race to wake his ideas up and get him concentrating on what he has got to do.

On Thursday we’ll probably run MOLLY SHAW and GREEK OASIS in the 2yo fillies’ novice at Yarmouth. Both will be making their debut but have been working ok so will hopefully run nice introductory races.  THE CORPORAL and OH IT’S SAUCEPOT could also both run here on the same afternoon, although it might be a bit firm for the latter who could wait for a race on the all-weather next week.  The former, meanwhile, has an option at Newbury on Friday. LUCKY CHARM will probably go up to Newcastle on Friday, whilst the weekend looks like being a quiet one.

With seventeen winners on the board, we’ve equalled our score for last year and if we can get another three winners that would take us to twenty, which would be our best score for a few years. It would be great if we could manage that and let’s hope one or two can add to the tally this week.