It would be fair to say that is has been an up and down week, and we’ve certainly been through all the emotions.
Things started very well with GLEN ESK completing his hat-trick at Windsor on Monday. Although he got shuffled back in the early stages which meant that we were a bit further back in the field than ideal, he made his ground up readily to lead inside the final furlong. It is not unhelpful from a handicapping point of view that he idles a bit when he gets to the front, winning on this occasion by a neck, and we’ll probably go back to Windsor on the 16th for another 1¼m contest there.
HAN SOLO BERGER didn’t run too badly at Chelmsford on Tuesday to finish 5th. He is probably paying the penalty for having a successful season last year and remains a little high in the weights. He ran well for a long way here, just getting run out of a place in the closing stages. He was only beaten 1½ lengths and I thought it was a solid enough performance. Once his handicap has dropped a little, he should have a chance of getting his head in front.
Later on the same card at Chelmsford, MODERN BEAUTY was pulled up at halfway in the 10f handicap. Sadly, he had suffered a nasty fracture which left the vets with no option but to put him down.
In the evening at Nottingham, POET’S PARK ran well below my expectations. She was in a cantankerous mood which is not like her as she is normally a straightforward filly. She didn’t want to go into the saddling boxes, was a bit mulish about cantering down and didn’t want to go into the stalls. After she jumped out, she was hanging and just in a thoroughly bad mood that evening. She is better than she showed here but, for whatever reason, didn’t perform at all on this occasion.
On Wednesday at Kempton, MANGO BOY ran another solid race to finish 3rd. He tracked the leaders all the way, travelling smoothly. He just didn’t have the change of gear when the pace quickened 2f out and stayed on at the same pace. Whether we stay at 1m or step him up to 1¼m will depend on where the races are. He is still a little bit on the weak side, and I wouldn’t want to run him anywhere that is over complicated, which might narrow his immediate options a little bit.
FLYING STANDARD is a horse that likes to have things his own way out on the front and, at Yarmouth on the same day, he was never left alone with two horses on his outside and one right up his backside. They never let the pace slacken at all and, as a result, these staying horses could never get into a nice rhythm and relax. Consequently, it was no surprise that he fell into a bit of a heap down the home straight.
I had wanted to get POSH GIRL back on the track after her run at Newmarket where she had seen too much daylight and raced keenly. We dropped her back to 7f here, so she could get a lead. She did that and settled well, and when she moved up just after the 2f pole, I thought she was going very well indeed. She just didn’t quite have the pace to challenge in the closing stages, but this was still a solid enough performance to finish 3rd. I’ll probably move her back to 1m in the future.
Back at Yarmouth on Thursday, CASTANA DIA did everything right in the 6f handicap, moving up between horses going well 2f out. The eventual winner leant in and intimidated her, giving her a real bump or two, and knocking her off her stride. She finished 2nd, not really having had the chance to respond to the bumping and, not surprisingly, there was a Stewards Enquiry. I must admit that I thought that we had been a bit lucky to have been awarded the race with Molly Shaw on the same course a couple of weeks ago but, on this occasion, I felt we were unlucky as they should have thrown the winner out. In my view, you can’t go barging your way across the course like that and, whilst I accept the winner was the superior horse on the day, in the circumstances that saw the runner up knocked off its stride, I thought the winner should have been thrown out.
Our week ended well with a winner, GOLDIE HAWK enjoying the soft ground at Haydock on Friday evening, travelling strongly throughout. Once she gets to the front, she thinks she had done enough and doesn’t go and win as easy as it looked as though she might. The way she moved up very powerfully was impressive on that ground. She has won plenty of handicaps and I’d like to step her up in class now into stakes company although there are very limited listed opportunities for fillies over 12f for the remainder of the year, which is disappointing.
Looking ahead to this week, OH IT’S SAUCEPOT will run at Windsor on Monday as long as it doesn’t get too soft. If she can’t go to Windsor, there is an alternative option for her at Newbury on Saturday. THE THUNDERER will probably run at Yarmouth on Wednesday where he will bid to follow up his recent course success.
TURNTABLE is a possible at Newbury on Friday and we’ll take a view after he has had a blow on Tuesday morning. GLEN ESK has a couple of entries on Friday but as already mentioned, is more likely to wait until the following Monday. As for the weekend, DOUBLE OR BUBBLE will have an entry at Pontefract on Sunday for their 6f listed race. She’ll either run in that or a valuable fillies’ handicap over 7f at York’s Ebor meeting later that week.