Last week was a good one with three winners from six runners, taking our total for the year to 17. It all started well with CAPLA HUNTRESS at Wolverhampton on Wednesday evening. She’s been creeping up the handicap having won her previous two races but she’s proving to be a very game filly. These 1½m races at Wolverhampton tend to be a bit two-paced in that they go fast, then slow, then sprint to the line. That all means that if you are not in the right place, you often must overcome a lot of problems to win. That was the very much the case here and, not through the fault of anybody, she ended up in not a very good position. However, she tried very hard, wanted to win, and managed to get her head in front in the final stride to win by a nose. We’ll see what options we have for her, but I will consider stepping her up in trip to 1¾m as I think we might find a little bit more improvement at that longer trip.
On Thursday, ICE LORD put up a better effort at Doncaster. In his last two races, he’s fallen out the stalls and not travelled at all, making everything look very hard work. In this race, although he didn’t get the best of starts, I was pleased to see him travel strongly for a long way but, as we found out as the week went on at Doncaster, you needed to be prominent to take a hand in the finish. So, I thought he ran a much better race and gave us some encouragement. Indeed, I think we’re getting back on track with him and hopefully his turn won’t be too far away.
MOLLY SHAW went to Salisbury on Friday and had a bad draw, 14 of 14, which wasn’t where you would choose to be. Nevertheless, Jack got her into a nice position close behind the leaders, travelling well. There was a slower bit of ground where the loop goes out and she lost her action in that ground and it took a little while for her to recover. Things didn’t look very promising for the next 1½f but once she got herself sorted out and Jack was able to get her racing on an even keel, she stayed on very strongly to get up close home.
On Saturday, HAN SOLO BERGER took his chance in the very competitive Portland Handicap at Doncaster. I wasn’t expecting to win the race but having got into a good position, travelling well 2f out, I thought he would stay on and end up running a nice race. It subsequently emerged he had been struck into behind when he got shoved across one at the start. Although it isn’t a serious injury, I think it explains why he didn’t finish his race, which he usually does. Anyway, he lives to fight another day.
FRONT OF LINE ran quite well to finish 2nd at Chelmsford on Sunday, particularly as the race didn’t quite work out as we wanted it to. We were drawn five and expected to be able to race one off the rail, tracking the leaders. Instead, we found ourselves racing three or four wide with the eventual winner in the position that we wanted to be in. She stayed on well and, in fairness, even if everything had gone right, we probably wouldn’t have beaten the winner who won quite nicely. She’s now run two good races in a row, and I think her turn isn’t far away.
GOLDIE HAWK provided us with a good end to the week in another messy 1½m race at Wolverhampton. We had planned to race somewhere near the front so that you don’t have to worry about changes of pace. However, we didn’t have enough speed out of the stalls from her wide draw to get a handy position and so we were stuck in the pack. As normal, once they got around the second bend, they slowed it down and it became a 3f sprint for home. She did very well from her unpromising position, showing a good attitude and a good turn of foot in the closing stages to get up and win.
Let’s hope last week’s good form can carry on into this week, particularly as we look like having plenty of runners over the next few days.
At Lingfield on Monday HI HO SILVER should run his race again. He’s not too badly drawn in 11 and the stands’ side on the straight track isn’t a bad place to be. He should enjoy the faster ground and so will hopefully run ok.
We’ve a very busy day on Tuesday with five runners across three venues. At Yarmouth, OH IT’S SAUCEPOT has a big weight and faces one or two less exposed rivals. However, she’s in good heart and has run well at Yarmouth before, so I’d expect a good show even though we’re giving a lot of weight away. KINGMANIA runs in the nursery and, although it is a small field, there are two or three in there with some good form, so it will be an interesting race. She’s another in good heart and I’d expect her to run well.
We’ve got two horses making the long trip up to Redcar. TURNTABLE likes quickish ground and the straight, flat mile that he’ll get here. I just hope with the ten-runner field that they go a good gallop all the way and doesn’t become a tactical race. THE FIDDLER runs up there as well. He’s 2 from 2on the track and reunited with Paul Hanagan, so we’ll hope he puts his best foot forward. If he does, he’ll have a chance.
In the evening at Kempton, we’ve got FLYING STANDARD, who won his last start at Chelmsford. He’s stepping up to 1½m, which I think we’ll be more his bag and so, although he’s slightly up in grade, I’d expect him to run well and be competitive again.
On Wednesday, BLACK LOTUS is a possible runner in the fillies’ listed race at Yarmouth. Ideally,we’d like a bit of juice in the ground, which she won’t get here. I’ll probably declare her and then take a view on the conditions once we’ve raced there on Tuesday.
On Thursday, I’ll probably run CASTANA DIA at Yarmouth. We need to get her underway having been withdrawn on her intended debut when she got herself very upset at the track and had to be withdrawn after she banged her leg. We’ll hope for better things from her this time. GREEK OASIScould go to Chelmsford in the evening. She’ll be stepping up to 1¼m, which I think we’ll suit her. Although she hasn’t shown a great deal yet, we’ll hope she does in the future.