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Although the horses have all been running well, I have to say that it has been a bit of a frustrating week. We started with FLYING STANDARD at Lingfield on Monday. Drawn wide, he is a horse that likes to use his stride and so, without rushing him up to the front, George Wood was able to get him onto the lead. He floated around there quite nicely but, as George says, the horse can’t multi-task and he got himself in a bit of a muddle as things quickened up around the bend. He then got tired on the run to the line, but this was a satisfactory first effort and something on which I’m sure he can build as the season goes on.

GOLDIE HAWK didn’t do anything wrong when just touched off at Windsor in the evening. Jack Mitchell had her nicely placed through the race. The leader went off a bit quick and we had everything covered. The way the race developed, however, she probably ended up hitting the front a bit too soon. She looked all over the winner approaching the final furlong before getting a little bit tired in the last 50 yards and was then collared on the line. We were a long way clear of the rest and so, although it was a frustrating to be beaten, this was a good seasonal return.

Onto Tuesday and it was a story of three runners in three races with no pace in them, and all of them finishing third. BLACK LOTUS ran in the Nottinghamshire Oaks, a fillies’ listed race at Nottingham. Beforehand it looked like there was some pace in the race and they would go a half decent gallop, but as things turned out they went pretty steady. From an awkward draw, we ended up being shuffled back and sitting second last, which wasn’t how we planned it. They didn’t go a very strong gallop and it took her a little while for her to wind up and get going. Once we got going, she finished the race off very well to finish in the places and this was a good first effort. She’s in foal to Nathanial and so we have a limited time to race her. The purpose to keep her in training was to supplement her black type efforts and we’ve done that with this third place. We’ll see if we can build on it and she’ll probably run next in a fillies’ listed race at Ayr later this month.

At Yarmouth, TURNTABLE ran well on his seasonal debut. He is a horse that has previously run his best races in biggish fields where they have gone a good gallop on easy ground. Here he was running in a small field with no pace on fast ground and so conditions weren’t in his favour. He settled nicely and wasn’t keen, something which has ruined his chances once or twice in the past. Once they quickened up, he took a while to get going but he finished with a flourish and wasn’t beaten that far. We were left to rue what might have been if they had gone a stronger gallop early on. He’s done well physically from 4 to 5 and so I would hope he could show an improved level of form as the season progresses.

At the same venue, HI HO SILVER ran in a race where they went even slower. He’s another one who is better suited to when they go a good gallop and it all collapses in front of him. He ran on well to finish third and I can’t fault what he did. This was a promising effort on his return.

Finally, HAN SOLO BERGER was another to run very well when finishing third at Ascot on Wednesday. The way the race developed didn’t help him too much either. We were tracking the favourite and Jack couldn’t see what else was behind him. He went and beat the favourite, but the winner came with a wet sail and we then got done by another one on the line for second. If the race developed closer to where we were and not away from us, I think it would have helped our cause although I am not saying we would have won as the winner won well.

Looking ahead to this week, we’ve got MODERN BEAUTY entered at Nottingham on Friday. I haven’t looked at the race yet, but I am anxious to run him somewhere where the ground isn’t too fast as he hits the ground a bit hard. On the other hand, I don’t want too much rain around because I would like to run DOUBLE OR BUBBLE in the Chartwell Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday. She can go on softer ground but a slick surface suits her well. She has improved in her coat and condition since winning on her return at Newmarket and she’s doing all the right things.