Trainer's Blog

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Well, I thought that we might get a winner or two last week, but we certainly exceeded expectations with four winners over the past few days. That has taken our total for the year to 21, our highest score since 2015, and the horses are obviously still in good heart.

Things started at Kempton on Monday, which was a tale of two bad draws. GLEN ESK, drawn 10,ended up having to race wide.Jack had him well positioned in that we weren’t too far back, but he just couldn’t get in. Also, the one in front of us halfway around the turn wasn’t travelling very well and so we had to make a move to get past that. He made his ground up and got his head in front briefly, but I felt that those factors meant that when push came to shove in the straight, he didn’t have much left to repel the winner and we got beaten half a length. He ran very well, and it was just a shame for the horse that he didn’t manage to get his head in front.It did confirm, however, that he’s got plenty of promise for next year.

It was the same story for CAPLA HUNTRESS, also drawn wide. You try not to give away too much ground as you can’t get too far back at Kempton. George initially had her in a half decent position. He didn’t want her out too wide and so dropped her in, and we got shuffled back, which meant we were left with a lot of ground to make up. She ran on well to finish fourth but was never able to get competitive. I felt that if we were able to have been in a better position, we would have featured more prominently but she ran well. That was her first run in a handicap, and it has shown there is hope for her in this company. She goes on the all-weather and so there should be some opportunities for her during the autumn.

Onto Tuesday and THE FIDDLER followed up his recent win at Redcar with another victory over the same course and distance. My main concern with him was the ground up there because he wouldn’t want it too firm and it had been dry. Pleasingly, they had done a decent job with the watering and Paul Hanagan said it rode pretty well on the day. He raced in midfield before staying on well. Paul felt he had to go to the front a little earlier than was ideal because they weren’t really leading him and he didn’t want to get stuck behind something. He stayed on resolutely and won nicely in the end. He’s clearly suited by the trip and track, and it is just a shame there aren’t any more races up there for him this year!

Ten minutes later we completed an across-the-card double at Yarmouth when HAN SOLO BERGER made amends for an unlucky day at Doncaster the week before when things didn’t go right for him. In this race, Tom Queally gave him a nice ride, he picked up well and in all honesty was never going to get beaten. Once he got in front, he was there to stay, and this was another decent performance from him.

We were back at Yarmouth on Wednesday with FLYING STANDARD, a two-year-old making his racecourse debut. He is a bit gormless and wasn’t helped in the paddock when, just as we were about to leg the jockey up, the horse behind him got loose and ran into the back of him, which distracted him quite a bit. He was then a bit mulish as the start although I think that was just through a lack of concentration and greenness, rather than being bloody-minded. In the race itself, he jumped out smartly and travelled well for a while. He got a bit flat footed at halfway and just as he was starting to stay on again, got a bit tired and dropped away. The standard of Yarmouth maidens at this time of the year is pretty good and so this was a reasonable enough start for a big horse who is sure to improve with age and experience.

The following day it was the turn of GREEK OASIS to make her debut in the 2yo fillies’ novice, also at Yarmouth. She didn’t run too badly in another decent race run in a good time. She did everything right, jumped well, travelled nicely for a long time before just getting a bit outpaced. She might want a bit further in time. Her half-brother is Houlton who runs over 1m6f. I don’t think she is going to want that sort of trip, but she’ll certainly be moving up to 1m at some point. She ran a tidy race for her first start, did nothing wrong, and we’ll feel our way forward with her.

OH IT’S SAUCEPOT has had a good summer but took her form to a different level here. Jack had her well positioned throughout the race, she took herself to the front plenty early enough but was never going to get caught. She ran all the way to the line and clocked a very good time, which I think was the best time of the day relatively. This was a really good performance and it is pleasing to know that she’s remains on the up at the age of five.

Later on the same card, I thought THE CORPORAL ran well in the 10f handicap. He had to make his own running and, although he can do that, it isn’t ideal for him. William Buick got the pace right, the horse quickened up nicely and didn’t get himself in a pickle like he had at Sandown last time. The only thing he did was drift off the fence a furlong out and let the winner up his inside, but we wouldn’t have won the race anyway as we ended finishing 3rd. I thought this was a solid effort from a horse that still has a fair bit of strengthening up to do. In addition, although he was only placed, he probably ran to a mark that was better than in any of the races that he won.

Onto Friday and LUCKY CHARM got off the mark up at Newcastle. There are occasions when you give yourself a pat on the back and this was one of those occasions because she has given us a lot of trouble with the stalls. It was a terrific team effort and I must particularly mention Erin who looks after her and rides her nearly every day, and had done a lot of stalls work with her, along with Yarmy. She enjoyed the benefit of a recent run, and was always going to make the running as that is her style. George got it right with her and didn’t let her over do things too much. She quickened up 2f out and although she was probably running out of a steam a little bit in the last 50 yards, the second horse was never going to get to us.

The week ended with JUMPING CATS at Newmarket on Saturday. He was up in grade, but I wanted to see how far he might stay because he always seems to be doing his best work at the end of a 2-mile race, and so here was an opportunity over 2m2f. He saw it out well and, although he’s not that sort of class, he didn’t run badly. He got pushed back when the one in front of him hit a flat spot about 6f out, and we ended up dropping back and having to make up the ground. But for that, I think he would have finished a place or two closer, which is probably as good as he is.

This week will be quieter and begins with SMART SAMBA making his belated debut at Leicester on Monday. Like a lot of horses by Intello, he’s a bit of a slow learner which probably won’t help him much here. However, he needs to get on the track and do something, and this seems to be a good opportunity to do it. Later on the same card, HI HO SILVER is a first ride for Pam Du Crocq, who works for us. This is a great opportunity for Pam to learn as much as anything. He’s in good heart and should run well.

We might run DRAMATIC DEVICE at Newmarket on Thursday and on the same day SEPHIRA PARK has an entry at Chelmsford, although I am not sure whether she’ll get a run. At the weekend, we could send ZEYZOUN up to Chester because he would like a bit of cut in the ground. We’ll have a look at the entries for that race before deciding whether to go or not.