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  1. Last week was a busy but, ultimately, frustrating week.

    On Tuesday, MOLLY SHAW ran very well to finish 2nd at Yarmouth. Although Yarmouth got far less rain than Newmarket, there was still enough to blunt her speed. I couldn’t fault her effort thought and Hollie Doyle was very pleased with her. Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t to be the Hollie and Molly show on this occasion!

    HAN SOLO BERGER put up a flat effort later on the card, particularly as he is one that should have appreciated the cut in the ground. I didn’t feel he was ever travelling with much conviction, and he failed to pick up when asked for his effort. I think he needs a nice long break, and we can then see if we can rekindle his enthusiasm.

    FLYING STANDARD ran very well to finish 2nd at Wolverhampton in the evening. We wanted to drop him out to make sure he got the trip, but it was one of those frustrating races where at half-way, they weren’t even going a normal canter. It then turned into a sprint finish, and he was left having to make up a lot of ground from the rear. What was even more frustrating was that a lot of jockeys didn’t lay up to the ones at the front so there was a long gap from the front to the back where we raced. The upshot was that we didn’t get beaten very far having made up a lot of ground in the straight and, if they had a gone a more honest gallop, I feel we might have won the race. I can’t fault the horse’s effort though and, although he has yet to win this season, he has run some jolly good races in defeat. 

    We were back at Yarmouth on Wednesday with four runners. POSH GIRL was another one that could have done without the rain although it had dried a little bit by Wednesday. She was well positioned and as the favourite came to join us, I expected her to go with it and give it a race. She seemed to get a little bit intimated when she was the meat in the sandwich, and she hesitated and lost some momentum. Once she was in the clear, she ran on again and I think she probably still has a bit to learn about racing. 

    RODOLFO was our first 2yo runner of the year and he did everything right on his racecourse debut. He behaved himself and travelled well at the back of the field. He was no match for the well-bred colts he was running against, but I thought it was a competent and satisfactory debut. He will learn on the job and improve in time. 

    GOLDIE HAWK didn’t have the best of the draw and we had to forfeit a better position to get some cover. Even though this was a listed race, they didn’t go a particularly strong gallop and, as she was dropping back in trip, that didn’t helpher chances. In the circumstances, I thought she ran well and has now proven that she can be competitive at this level given a bit of cut in the ground and stepped back up to 1½m. She stays in training in next year and, as we weren’t far away from it here, her main aim will be to get some black type. 

    CASTANA DIA ran another good race. We opted to follow one down the stands’ rail as that was the freshest part of the track. Unfortunately, the others came across from the middle of the track at halfway and closed off our route through. Seb had to switch her out around the ones in front of him and she ran on very well to finish 2nd. We clearly could have finished closer with a clearer run although, the way the winner won, I can’t think we would have matched that. She has had five races this season and hasn’t been out of the first two. Shedoesn’t know how to run a bad race and has put up a good performance on every occasion.

    We had just the one runner at Yarmouth on Thursday. This was another race where they crawled which really didn’t help MANGO BOY. We were drawn out wide and so we had to drop him in to get some cover. He broke too well to do that and so Jack quite rightly let him follow the leader, hoping they would go a good gallop. He was always racing a bit keenly and he saw a lot of daylight. As a result, he didn’t have a lot left in the tank when push came to shove inside the final 2f. So, we’ll have to draw a line under this race and start again.

    On Saturday, I was a bit disappointed with BAGUE D’OR at Newbury, particularly after he had won well last time. He had given every impression at home that he had improved for that run, and he also looked very well. The sticky drying ground at Newbury probably wasn’t in his favour but he was never really travelling with that much conviction and didn’t threaten to get involved. I am sure he is better than he showed here,but he might need better ground to prove it, even though, being a son of Belardo, I thought he would ok with some cut in the ground.

    Finally, I don’t what happened with DIVINE COMEDY at Wolverhampton in the evening. The way the winner won, I don’t know that Stradivarius would have beaten it but nevertheless she folded up rather tamely a long way out, and we don’t why. I am not convinced that the all-weather is her thing, but I thought she would be able to be competitive and run a race here. Unless something obvious comes to light, we’ll have to scratch our heads with her and go back to the drawing board.

    Looking ahead to this week, we’ve got THE THUNDERER at Wolverhampton on Monday evening. He was a bit disappointing last time but we’re hoping he can bounce back to run a better race here. He has run quite well at Wolverhampton in the past. Later on the same card, we run SWEET EXPECTATION who has been off for a little while. She needs to show she is going the right way and then we can persist with her through the autumn. Earlier in the day, HI HO SILVER runs at Leicester. He doesn’t have the best of the draw, but it is another opportunity to give Kaiya some race riding experience. This will be his second ride and we’ll see if they can do a little bit better than at Yarmouth last time.

    BUCEPHALUS has entries at Goodwood on Wednesday and Newmarket on Thursday, but we’ll wait to see if the ground is soft enough at either venue to let him take his chance. TURNTABLE is also entered at Newmarket on Thursday, but I would prefer to wait until Friday over 9f at the same course with him.

    GLEN ESK has a couple of entries on Friday, but he is another who would need some rain to run anywhere. Finally, if the race divides, we may run a couple of 2yo debutants in the fillies’ race at Newmarket on Saturday. YOU’RE ON MUTE and CHIPS AND RICE are ready to go but both wouldn’t want it too firm, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the ground for them.

  2. DOUBLE OR BUBBLE was our only runner last week and she ran a gallant race when finishing runner-up in the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster on Wednesday. She did everything right, but the winner just proved a little bit stronger in the closing stages. I couldn’t help but feel that if we had been drawn a bit closer to her, we could have raced in its slipstream rather than having to get past a few and then move across to make a challenge. That might have allowed us to throw down a more serious challenge, but she still put an excellent effort. Her last three runs have been out of the top draw and to be first and two seconds in black type company is a commendable record. We haven’t too many more options for her this year, but we’ll keep her ticking along for now. There is a 6f race at Ascot at the beginning of October or even something like the Challenge Stakes might be a possibility.That said, if the ground goes, that would be her season done.

    This week is going to be a busier one and we have three horses declared on Tuesday. MOLLY SHAW and HAN SOLO BERGER go to Yarmouth. The former likes fast ground and has run consistently through the year. If she runs to her best, she’d certainly have a chance in a race that doesn’t look as competitive as it might have been. The latter hasn’t run quite as consistently this year as you would have likedhim to but if he runs his race, he would certainly go well in this field. FLYING STANDARD heads to Wolverhampton in the evening. He is stepping up to 2m having stayed on well over 1m6f at Salisbury last time. He has gone pretty close on a couple of occasions this year and so wouldn’t be winning out of turn if he is able to get his head in front here.

    We have a number entered at Yarmouth on Wednesday, starting with POSH GIRL in the opener. She is not certain to go there as she has one or two other options coming up. However, if the race looks like it might fall apart, we could let her take her chance. RODOLFO would be our first 2yo runner of the year and, if he goes, it will be interesting to see how he gets on. CASTANA DIA hasn’t been out of the first two all year and will probably run here. We’ll see how she gets on. GOLDIE HAWK has an entry in the listed race, but I would need to be guaranteed that we would get some rain which doesn’t look very likely, so she might sit this week out.

    On the same afternoon, we have MUSTAZEED and THE THUNDERER entered in the same race at Sandown, but I don’t think either is likely to go. The former wants some cut in the ground, whilst the latter has a more likely option on the all-weather the week after.

    MANGO BOY has entry at Yarmouth on Thursday, but healso has a few other options coming up. I think this is one of the less likely ones that we’ll aim for.

    Finally, on Saturday, BAGUE D’OR could run at Newbury as long as the ground isn’t too firm.