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Our first runner last week was CHEESE AND WINE, who ran ok to finish 7th at Lingfield on Tuesday. In some ways it suited us to be making the running and I thought Pam did a good job of that, going a sensible pace, neither too fast nor too slow. However, she didn’t show much of a response when challenged over 1f out. I think we’re going to end up running her over further as she looks pretty one paced. I’ve also been wondering whether she is like her half-bother Purgatory and would benefit from some headgear to make her concentrate, as she doesn’t seem to respond when she is given the hurry-up.  

On Wednesday, DELILAH PARK was back at her favourite place, Kempton, and she ran better this time than on her previous visit when she didn’t fire at all. Having travelled round behind the leaders in a good position, at the cut-away when you think she’ll change gear and get involved in the finish, she could only stay on at the one pace. Whether it is because the handicapper has got her number or whether it is that she is past her best for the year, I suspect it is probably a combination of the two. 

CAPLA HUNTRESS has been in great form this season and we went to Chelmsford on Thursday expecting her to be competitive, but she was a little bit disappointing in only finishing 5th. She ran a bit flat and just didn’t fire on this occasion. Whether it was that she didn’t like Chelmsford or whether she is another one that is past her best after a longish season, I don’t know. She doesn’t owe us anything this year, however, so we mustn’t be too critical. 

Moving onto Friday and we had three runners at three different venues. HAN SOLO BERGER was up at York and was travelling along ok up close to the pace. However, the tacky ground found him out and he just couldn’t accelerate on it, getting quite tired in the closing stages. I think he is more of a summer horse than an autumn horse, as he likes the better ground. 

BLACK LOTUS ran in the Group 3 Pride Stakes at Newmarket, where the ground is as bad as I’ve known it for a long time. She was never travelling and could never go a yard on it. Fortunately, Pat Cosgrave realised that this was a lost cause at a fairly early stage and so wasn’t hard on her and let her come home in her own time. That was her final race, and she is now off to stud having achieved the Black Type that we were looking for. We had hoped we would get her that last year, but she got struck into at Windsor and then missed out on some Black Type opportunities. Then, in the autumn last year, the ground was awful and so she stayed in training this year. She’s done well and achieved her objective for the season when she got her Black Type, proving herself a decent filly in doing so. 

GOLDIE HAWK gave us a good end to the week when winning at Kempton in the evening. She’s a progressive filly, having won her last two ahead of this. She was also in the deeper end here, taking a step up in grade to Class 4, having been eliminated from a Class 5 on Wednesday. She did it well, quickening up nicely. She’s a versatile filly, having won on different surfaces and different trips, and is clearly a filly with a decent future. We’ll see how she is and might think about running her again but, if not, she stays in training next year, so we don’t have to persevere this season if we have any concerns about her. 

Looking ahead to the next few days, OH IT’S SAUCEPOT runs at Yarmouth on. She doesn’t mind cut in the ground and I just hope it is not too soft for her. She usually runs well here and, if she runs to her best, I would think she’ll be on the premises. That said, there are some progressive 3yos in the race and so you never quite know what you are taking on. 

THE FIDDLER runs at Wolverhampton in the evening. These aren’t his ideal conditions as he prefers the turf, but we have nowhere else to go so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope he runs a tidy race. 

We’re back at Wolverhampton on Tuesday with CASTANA DIA, who ran well on her debut. This is a different kettle of fish, around a turn on the all-weather, but she has no other options. Based on her debut form, she should go well and have a chance. On the same card, FLYING STANDARD runs over 12f. He ran well in similar company on his last start at Kempton. If he can repeat that form, he should be competitive. 

Later in the day, TURNTABLE runs up at Newcastle, avoiding the soft ground on the grass. He’s a hold up horse so you’ve got to hope they go a decent pace in front of him. He’s in good heart and so fingers crossed for him. 

On Wednesday evening at Kempton, FRONT OF LINE and MOLLY SHAW are both entered in the fillies’ handicap over 7f. The former is the first choice but, if the race looks like it will divide, we might declare the latter as well. 

Finally, on Thursday, GREEK OASIS needs a miracle to get in at Lingfield, which is frustrating as she is in the sales and this is the ideal race for her. BAGUE D’OR is likely to get into the novice auction at Chelmsford in the evening and so we’ll probably run. I am not sure Chelmsford is his bag but he wants a third run for a handicap rating, so we want to get that out of the way and see what he can do including whether the can handle the all-weather. He’ll then be put away for the winter. 

Whilst all this is going on, we’re back at the Sales this week and have one or two to buy. I know prices are down, but I still don’t think it will be easy to buy the right ones and it will be competitive enough. The market has re-adjusted but, thankfully, it hasn’t collapsed.