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Our first runner last week was MUSTAZEED who made his handicap debut at Wolverhampton on Tuesday. Although he broke ok, he was slowly into his stride and ended up towards the back of the field. That is never ideal around Wolverhampton and he was on the back foot most of the way. He finished the race off strongly, running on into third place, not beaten far. That was a good run in the circumstances, and it looks like a step up in trip wouldn’t go amiss. He should remain competitive off this sort of mark.

Our other runners last week were all on Wednesday, with four horses in action across three venues. BLACK LOTUS headed up to Ayr for the fillies’ listed race and she was another one that ended up further back than we wanted to be. That wasn’t through her own fault though as there was a horse that went wrong after a furlong which slightly interfered with her. In a race where they didn’t go a particularly strong gallop, things didn’t really suit her. She took a while to get going in the straight but, once she did, finished her race off very strongly in 4th place. We were left to rue what might have been with a better field position and stronger gallop, but that said I don’t think we would have beaten the winner who won quite well. We might now think about stepping her up in trip to 12 furlongs.

At Yarmouth, FLYING STANDARD was a bit disappointing. He broke well and had a good position, sat in third place. He looked as though if he had plugged on he would have remained third as the first two quickened up very well. However, he didn’t see his race out terribly well and was eased in the end. The jockey seemed to think it was the ground. I am not entirely convinced on that as I thought it was what he would want although perhaps it was slightly odd ground as it was starting to dry out and might have become a bit tacky and sticky. It was a bit of a baffling one though as I thought it was a race he would be competitive in. 

Later on the same card we weren’t sure whether to run CASTANA DIA as she probably wants faster ground. Her race was late in the day and the weather had improved with the track drying out all the time. So, we decided to let her take her chance and we were rewarded with her getting up to win. She was always well positioned and quickened up nicely. The eventual second looked like he had got her measure coming to the furlong pole, but she wasn’t going to be denied, was very brave and stuck her neck out for a very gutsy win. This was a good start to her year.

Finally, GOLDIE HAWK ran well enough to finish third at Kempton in the evening. Both at Windsor on her return and here, she flattened out inside the final furlong and it probably cost her a win on both occasions. On this occasion, she looked to have the race at her mercy, quickened up but then flattened out and was picked off by the first two. She suffered some interference from the second horse, but it didn’t cost her a better place. Whilst it was overall not too disappointing, I still think we’re not seeing the best out of her at the moment, and I can’t put my finger on the reason why.

We’ve got a quietish week ahead as it difficult to make plans at the moment. BUCEPHALUS will run at Windsor on Monday if the meeting passes an early morning inspection. TURNTABLE might bid to follow up at Yarmouth on Friday, but we’ll have to have a look at that race and see if it looks a good opportunity for him. DIVINE COMEDY might also go to Yarmouth if she gets in. That would be her third run and so she would then qualify for handicaps. She’s run well enough in her two maidens to make you think that she can be competitive in that sphere. There is nothing much planned for the weekend and really, we’re just waiting for things to dry up a little bit which hopefully it will do by next week, when we can start getting busier.