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  1. It was another a good week and, although there were a couple that got away, two winners took our total for the season to fifteen.

    George Wood gave FLYING STANDARD a good ride at Nottingham on Tuesday. He bowled along in front, got the fractions right and had a right tussle through the final two furlongs with the eventual winner, who just nabbed us on the line.  This was a good effort, and he did everything right bar getting his head in front on the line. His turn can’t be too far away

    NASHY rather blew his chance at the start at Lingfield on Wednesday. We had planned to sit behind the leaders, but he walked out the stalls. We ended up racing in last place and Kieran Shoemark was always fighting a losing battle. He did the right thing and went the shortest way, saving ground. That put him in with a bit of a chance up the straight, but he just ran out of petrol in the last 100 yards. He ran alright but we needed a better early position for him to be competitive.

    Thursday was a good day with two winners from two runners at Yarmouth. MOLLY SHAW broke well as usual and raced prominently all the way, travelling strongly.  She challenged throughout the final furlong but was carried a long way left and almost put into the rails on the far side by the first past the post. Inevitably there was a stewards’ enquiry, but I wasn’t sure we would get the race as we were beaten ½ length. The stewards took a different view and handed us the race I suspect partly because the first past the post had wiped out another before it had even got to us. A win is a win, and we’ll take that. She is entered again at Lingfield on Saturday although the ground looked fairly soft at its meeting on Monday, so we’ll have to see what the weather does through the week.

    It was only a four-runner event but the race featuring CASTANA DIA was a competitive one, with all her rivals having some sort of chance. Seb Woods gave her a nice ride. They went a nice gallop all the way, she settled in behind the leaders and was delivered with a well-timed challenge to win by a neck. It was a smooth enough victory and proves that she is progressing well. The runner-up won the ladies’ race at Ascot on Saturday and gives the form a very solid look.

    POSH GIRL made her handicap debut at Newmarket on Friday evening. She broke the stalls well but nothing else really wanted to go on and so James Doyle was left out in front on her. She ran a bit free and, without any cover, raced with the choke out. As a consequence, she didn’t get home and, in the circumstances, finishing a reasonably close sixth wasn’t too bad an effort. She is a very laid-back filly at home and so it was unusual for her to do that, but I might drop her back to 7f as I’ll want to make sure she has a lead next time.

    We were back at Newmarket on Saturday with HAN SOLO BERGER. I knew our fate before the race as the rain failed to arrive at Newmarket and, by the time of his race, the ground was getting pretty quick. Although he can go on fast ground, he doesn’t really let himself down to quicken on it. When James produced him to make his challenge, he wouldn’t open his stride up in those conditions and we finished second.

    This week we have HI HO SILVER back at Yarmouth on Tuesday. He likes it there on quick ground and hopefully they’ll go a stronger gallop than last time. If they do, they could set the race up for him and he can be on the premises again.

    We’ve got two declared at Leicester on Wednesday, but both will need some rain. If it doesn’t come and the ground is quick, we will need to consider whether they should run. MUSTAZEED has won a race this year and was a bit unlucky on his last start so he would go there with a bit of a chance. SWEET EXPECTATION makes her handicap debut and hopefully can show a bit of form, after which we can make a plan for the future.  

    DIVINE COMEDY has an entry at Newmarket on Friday but will only run if we get some rain. Sadly, it doesn’t look like we’ll get very much here but that might change as the week goes on.

    On Saturday, we’ve got entries scattered about including, as I’ve already mentioned, MOLLY SHAW at Lingfield, who would need the ground to dry up to run. TURNTABLE is in the apprentice handicap at Goodwood and he’s one that would be favoured if the ground stayed on the slow side. BUCEPHALUS is entered at Newmarket just in case the rain comes, and I’ve made a rather speculative entry for GOLDIE HAWK in the fillies’ listed race at the same track. We’ll see how the race looks before deciding whether she’ll take her chance.

  2. After a few weeks of near misses, it is nice to be able to talk about some winners over the past few days with the first being THE THUNDERER at Yarmouth on Wednesday. He had to put a disappointing effort at Newmarket last time behind him but, on this occasion, everything went right with them going a good gallop in front of him. He got into a nice rhythm and moved up to take over from the leader who, to his credit, kept going and finished second. We ran out quite a comfortable winner in the end and I was very happy with this decent performance.

    Later in the day, I was a bit disappointed with the effort of POET’S PARK at Wolverhampton as I went into the race thinking she had a solid each way chance. On the evening, however, unless you raced in the first three, you were struggling to make your presence felt and certainly in her race I don’t think the order changed very much from start to finish. We started in the middle and finished in the middle, and I think we’ll see better from her in the future, possibly back on turf or on a more galloping track.

    On Friday evening, MANGO BOY made his racecourse debut at Newmarket. The race was run ridiculously slowly for the first furlong and a half, and it took a little while to get settled. Once they got racing properly, he found a nice rhythm and then stayed on well. There were a couple of decent sorts in here, so I thought this was a solid effort for his debut run and he should be able to build on this effort in the future.

    BLACK LOTUS found the ground too fast at Newmarket on Saturday. Much as she can go on quickish ground, she simply wouldn’t let herself down on this surface. That was her final race as she is already in foal and is now off to the stud, where she’ll hopefully have a successful second career.  She’s had a decent career on the racecourse finishing placed in a couple of Listed races. Things were a bit stop and start with her at times through no fault of her own. Her 3yo career went the right way but the second part of her 4yo career was rather blighted having been struck into. There have also been times when her targets have ended up being run on ground that was either bottomless or rock hard. On the whole, however, she’s been an admirable, tough filly showing plenty ability over a variety of differences.

    We finished the week with another winner with GLEN ESK following up his recent Windsor victory at Haydock.  It was a funny old race in that they didn’t go very quickly to begin with, and we then got into a bit of barging match with one on his inside in the home straight. The ground was also getting firm enough for him and so he did very well to tough it out, showing a really good attitude to prevail in a close finish. This was another pleasing effort.

    Looking forward to this week, FLYING STANDARD is in at Nottingham on Tuesday and will run as long as it doesn’t get rock hard. He’s been running consistently without winning and I would hope he would go well again here. We’ve then got NASHY in a seller at Lingfield on Wednesday. He’s come over from Ireland and, although he is not the most straightforward character, hopefully he’ll go well at this level.

    On Thursday, we might have two runners at Yarmouth beginning with MOLLY SHAW, who has been waiting for the ground. The other is CASTANA DIA who hasn’t done much wrong finishing first and second in her two starts this year. Hopefully, they will both go well. On the same day, OH IT’S SAUCEPOT has an entry at Sandown, but the race looks competitive enough and the ground could be on the quick side for her.

    I don’t think we have anything for the weekend, but we’ve got a couple entered at Newmarket on Friday evening. We’ll see how POSH GIRL goes this week before making a decision about her participation, whilst SWEET EXPECTATION could run but wouldn’t want it to get too firm.