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  1. Last week was pretty busy, starting with THE THUNDERER at Wolverhampton on Monday evening. He was drawn wide, and it was also Kaiya’s first ride on the all-weather. We told him to drop him in and take his time, which he did before wriggling his way through and running on to finish 5th, which I thought was a decent effort in the circumstances. To make his mark on the all-weather in the future, he will need to be better drawn so he can get a more prominent position as it is not easy coming from the back around sharp tracks like Wolverhampton. He has been running consistently recently but is now finished for the season and will be off on his holidays shortly.

    Onto Tuesday at Yarmouth and GLEN ESK probably had a bit of ‘end-of-season-itis’, running a bit flat. He travelled round well enough but simply didn’t find anything when put under pressure. He’s had a successful season having won three races and been placed a couple of time, and he’s another one that can go away and have his holiday now.  

    They had a fair bit of rain on the night before racing at Yarmouth and the ground came up a bit too soft for HI HO SILVER. He just doesn’t pick up and finish like he can on this slower ground.

    YOU’RE ON MUTE had run a little bit disappointingly on her racecourse debut where she did a lot of things wrong. She ran much better at Newmarket on Wednesday, seeing the race out well and putting up a solid enough performance. CHIPS AND RICE had run a better race on her debut but probably didn’t build too much on that here on her second start. I don’t think she liked the ground which was much softer for this meeting, and she got quite unbalanced going into the dip, so she had excuses. We’ll see how both fillies come out of their races but I would like to run them both again in the coming weeks so they can return in handicaps next season.

    The week ended well with MUSTAZEED winning at Doncaster on Friday. He had won earlier in the year and then we had a couple of races where I thought he could nearly win again but for one reason or another, he didn’t. It was the ground or, last time, he probably didn’t quite get home at Kempton over 1m3f. On this occasion, he was given an excellent ride by Hollie Doyle, settled in, got into a nice rhythm, and delivered at the right moment. He showed a willing attitude to get the better of the second and he won quite nicely in the end. He clearly enjoyed the softer ground and got the job done well.

    Looking ahead to this week, we’ve got some two-year-olds to run. COMMANDER HECTOR will make his debut at Newmarket on Friday. He is a nice big strong type who will be much better as a three-year-old. He needs to get some experience and has been going nicely enough at home, and so hopefully won’t be disgraced.

    RODOLFO has couple of options on Friday and we’ll wait and see where best to run him. He has had two starts this year and ran ok both times. I would expect him to run another satisfactory race without troubling the judge, and he’s another one that will be a better horse next year.

    We also might have two fillies making their debuts on Saturday. FREE STEP is quite a backward filly and I think a run will help wake her ideas up. ROSE CAMIRA is a nice filly and is bred to get a trip next year but is another one who would benefit for some experience of the racecourse this season.

    Finally, we have a couple of horses going to the Horses in Training Sales this week with BUCEPHALUS due to sell on Wednesday and POSH GIRL on Thursday. We’re also looking for one or two horses to join us, and so we will hopefully find something we like and can afford.

  2. It has been a slightly frustrating week with things not always falling our way. At Yarmouth on Monday, BAGUE D’OR was drawn wide, and we opted to drop in to get some cover as I thought that him seeing daylight at Newbury from a wide draw last time out hadn’t helped him very much. As Jack challenged down the outside, he got taken wider and wider until we were nearly in the car park. We were only beaten half a length by a horse who we probably should have beaten if we hadn’t taken a tour of Norfolk to get there! He ran very well though and has had a good year. It looks like he’ll stay in training next season, and I think he is a nice prospect as a staying handicapper.

    Later on the same card, SWEET EXPECTATION stepped up in trip and I thought she would appreciate both the extra distance and better ground. She looked like she might get on terms about 2f out but never did and so I suspect the reality is that she hasn’t quite got what it takes.   

    DIVINE COMEDY’s most recent runs had been on the all-weather, where she had been a little disappointing. Both the surface and the nature of staying races on the all-weather probably didn’t play to her strengths and so she went to Leicester on Tuesday as I wanted to run her on slower ground on the grass just to prove to myself that was the right thing to do. Although the 10f proved to be too short for her, she was staying on well at the end of race. I think we can conclude that turf racing, slow ground and at least 12f is what she wants. She stays in training next year and we just have to hope that when she is in good form, that we have the right ground for her.

    On Wednesday at Kempton, MOLLY SHAW was another drawn on the wide outside. She did a bit too much early on, racing with the choke out. Having looked like she would take a hand in the finish, she ran out of petrol inside the final furlong and faded out of contention. I think she can handle racing on the all-weather but we just want a better draw for her so she can jump and get some cover straight away, rather than seeing daylight.

    Finally, FLYING STANDARD ran very well to finish second at Wolverhampton on Saturday evening. The way we ride him to get the best out of him is to drop him out to get him to settle so that he will stay. That is often quite difficult on the all-weather because they get a bit strung out and you end up having to make up a lot of ground. That is particularly difficult at Wolverhampton where you end up trying to make up ground around the bend. I thought George Wood did a good job here and the horse ran on strongly in the straight. Even if we had got first run, I got the impression that the winner, who was unexposed at the trip, won with a good deal in hand and we would have struggled to beat him. He has now finished second on five occasions this year and was beaten quite narrowly on two or three occasions, so he has deserved to win one. He has proved himself to be pretty consistent.

    Looking ahead to this week, THE THUNDERER runs at Wolverhampton on Monday evening. Although he copes with the surface, he isn’t always the fastest of starters which can make things difficult on the all-weather. Kaiya Fraser is having his first ride on the all-weather and so hopefully they can do something together.

    Onto Tuesday at Yarmouth, GLEN ESK will appreciate returning to 10f and the easy ground. He has a wide draw but he is in good heart, and should give a good account of himself. HI HO SILVER also runs and we’re never sure which version of him will turn up on the day. It will be another ride for Kaiya and we’ll see how they get on.

    At Newmarket on Wednesday, CHIPS AND RICE and YOU’RE ON MUTE will have their second starts and they will hopefully both get a run. The former ran well first time out and has come out of her race well. I’d hope she will improve again. The latter was a bit disappointing on her debut and I’d hope she can get herself back on track here.

    MUSTAZEED has a couple of entries at the end of the week, but he is more likely to head to Doncaster on Friday. He didn’t quite get home last time but, if he can get away from the stalls well, he’ll hopefully go well here.