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  1. We only had two runners last week, the first being MUSTAZEED at Kempton on Wednesday evening. He has a bit of a problem coming out of the stalls in that he is slow to get into his stride, which we think is caused by a sticking stifle. Fortunately, he was drawn to go in late and that is the secret to dealing with this, so he is not standing in the stalls for too long. He broke well, got into a nice position and was always travelling nicely through the race. He then picked up and looked like he would go and win his race but, at the end of the day, he simply didn’t stay the 11-furlong trip. That surprised us a little as he had previously given every indication that he probably would, but he faded inside the final furlong to finish 5th. Now we know this, we’ll drop him back to 10f or even a stiff 1m in the future.

    On Saturday, CASTANA DIA ran in the fillies’ handicap at Newmarket where she was trying a longer trip. She didn’t really stay the 7-furlongs on this occasion, but I wouldn’t mind trying it again in the future. Although not that soft, the ground had become quite loose on top, and she struggled to get to grips with it. I know she finished last, but she ran better than that might suggest. She tried her best and at least we learnt to stick to a sound surface and not to run her on this sort of ground again.

    Looking forward to this week, BUCEPHALUS has an entry at Nottingham on Wednesday but he is more likely to wait for a similar opportunity at Goodwood on Sunday.

    On Friday, DOUBLE OR BUBBLE has an entry in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket and, as she is ground dependent, we’ll have to see how much rain we get through the week. BAGUE D’OR is in a race on the same card that wants watching because at the moment he would be racing from out of the handicap, which I wouldn’t want to do. If the top one doesn’t run and the weights go up, however, then we’ll have to give this race some consideration.

    Finally, POSH GIRL and RODOLFO are possible runners at Chelmsford on Saturday. We’ll make the entries on Monday and then see what their races look like before making a final decision.  

  2. Having had a frustrating time the week before, it was nice to have a couple of winners over the past few days to take our tally for the season to 21. Things started well on Monday when HI HO SILVER got up close home to win at Leicester on Kaiya Fraser’s second ride in public. We were drawn on the wide outside but didn’t break too badly and so were able to get a mid-division position. Kaiya had him well positioned throughout and produced Hi Ho Silver at the right time 2 furlongs out, pushing away without going for his whip. He had a willing partner and the horse got up to win by a head in a thrilling finish. Both horse and rider did very well, and they should become a good partnership together.

    At Wolverhampton in the evening, THE THUNDERER was a little slowly away which has become a bit of theme for him in his races. Once he got going, he travelled along smoothly but was forced to challenge wide around the home turn and was then carried even wider still into the straight, forfeiting more ground. Once in the straight, he stayed on well and was only beaten just over 3 lengths, so this was a solid enough run from him. He proved that he stays 12 furlongs, which gives us a few more options, and I would like to get him back on the turf, ideally on a more galloping track.

    Later on the same card, SWEET EXPECTATION returned to action having been off the track for a little while and she probably needed this run, mentally more than physically. She was taken off her feet in the early stages but stayed on in the latter stages of the race. Although she finished last, she was only beaten just over 4 lengths. All being well and if the ground isn’t too firm, I would like to run her in a little race at Yarmouth over 10 furlongs as I think a step up in trip would suit her.

    BUCEPHALUS put up another good effort when finishing second at Newmarket on Thursday. He was nicely positioned by James Doyle throughout and moved up into contention, he looked as though he briefly got his head in front going down into the dip. The winner proved to be a well-handicapped, improving 3yo and so this was a solid effort to finish second, on ground that was quick enough for him. This was another decent performance following on from the solid season that he has had.

    We ran two in the closing race at Newmarket on Friday, where GLEN ESK found the drying conditions too lively for his liking. He didn’t run too badly, doing his best work in the closing stages. I wouldn’t be surprised that, if not this year, next season we might step him up to 12 furlongs. That isn’t what his pedigree suggests he needs but his running style indicates that he isn’t short of stamina. He’s a big heavy horse and a bit more cut in the ground would also be ideal for him.

    TURNTABLE returned to form and did very well to run out a decent winner. We had targeted this race a little while back and in his last two runs things hadn’t gone his way. He had bad ground at Goodwood and there was no pace at Newbury. They went a nice gallop here and Callum Shepherd was able to get him nicely settled. At the bushes, he was improving and making up ground. I just thought for a while going down the hill that he was booked for a place, but he showed plenty of tenacity and enjoyed the extra furlong, staying on strongly to win going away. He’s another one who we can think about stepping up in trip, in his case to 10 furlongs, now he is settling better in his races. He’s had a good year and things have gone well for him.

    We were back at Newmarket on Saturday where two of our 2yos made their racecourse debuts in the 7f fillies’ maiden. In the first division, YOU’RE ON MUTE got a bit upset in the preliminaries and I don’t think she was totally focused on what she was meant to do during the race itself. Funnily enough, because she came from the Breeze Ups, I thought that of the two we ran on Saturday, she would be the more switched on. She got a bit tired in the closing stages having travelled well for a long way. There will be improvement from her once she has realised what it is all about.

    In the second division, CHIPS AND RICE ran very well and I was happy with her. She was a bit green early on but got the hang of things by halfway and was staying on nicely in the closing stages. She is bred to stay a bit further in time and we think all of our 2yos will want at least 1m, if not 10f next season. This was a pleasing first effort from her in a race where there were probably one or two nice fillies on show.

    Looking ahead to this week, MUSTAZEED and FLYING STANDARD have entries at Kempton on Wednesday. We’ll make a decision on those at declaration time on Monday morning when we see how their races are shaping up.  I would think the former is the more likely of the two to run as, judging by the entries, Flying Standard’s race looks competitive enough.

    Later in the week, and depending on the ground, DOUBLE OR BUBBLE could go to Ascot for the Bengough Stakes on Saturday. On the same afternoon, CASTANA DIA may run in a fillies’ handicap at Newmarket where we would step her up to 7 furlongs to see if she can cope with that. She has given the impression in her races over 6 furlongs that she might stay a bit further.