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As our season draws to a close, we had just the two runners last week. FLYING STANDARD ran at Chelmsford on Thursday in what turned out to be a very messy race. The plan had been to take a lead from others but stay handy. Unfortunately, the horses at the front didn’t really want to take the lead and it all became a game of cat and mouse at the head of affairs. That really didn’t suit Flying Standard, who got keener and keener, pulling too hard early on, and not giving himself the chance to last home over this longer trip. In the circumstances, he probably did well to stay in contention for as long as he did. This is very much a race to draw a line through and forget all about. 

TURNTABLE ran very well at Newmarket on Saturday. He’d run very keenly in his last two races and so we tried some gadgets on him here - a hood and a net muzzle. At one point, they combined a bit too well as he flopped out the stalls and was too relaxed. As a result, he got a bit detached early on, but the leaders went pretty quick for the conditions and he stayed on well catching them all the time, even though this wasn’t his ideal ground. He ran a nice race to finish 4th and we learnt a lot, including that the gadgets worked and that he can handle sloppy ground if necessary. 

Both of these horses are now finished for this season and will be off on their holidays shortly. 

As for this week, HAN SOLO BERGER has a couple of options on the all-weather on Wednesday. I’m not sure which one he’ll go for yet and we’ll keep a close eye on the declarations on Monday morning before finalising plans. CASTANA DIA is in at Chelmsford on Thursday but the race looks fairly competitive and so we might be able to find something more suitable for her. We’ll see how the declarations shape up on Tuesday morning. We’ve also got some of the 2yos that ran at Yarmouth a couple of weeks ago to run. POSH GIRL and POET’S PARK will have an entry at Doncaster on Saturday, but we’ll wait to see what the ground is like. If it isn’t suitable, we’ll find them an alternative on the all-weather. 

Finally, much of last week was spent at Tattersalls for the Horses in Training Sales. We offered five horses and all of them were sold. FOLLOW INTELLO joins Nick Gifford to go jumping, which should suit the horse. THE FIDDLER will continue racing in Belgium, whilst PURGATORY has gone to Bahrain. WALK IT TALK IT has gone to Ireland, I think to continue racing. I believe GREEK OASIS was purchased principally as a broodmare but might continue racing on the all-weather over the winter. 

In terms of buying horses, although there were a lot of horses on the market, trying to find things that fitted the bill at the right price was tricky. Although we managed to buy BUCEPHALUS from Ed Walker, we weren’t able to buy a second which had been the plan. We’ll have to see whether the upcoming Sales are affected by lockdown but the plan is to now see if we can find something suitable at the December Sales or any other little horses in training sales in coming weeks at places like Ascot or Doncaster.