It has been a busy week of runners, starting with five horses travelling up to Newcastle on Tuesday evening. DIVINE COMEDY was the first to run and, initially, it all looked to have gone wrong for her at the start when Jack struggled to get the blindfold off, and we were very slowly away. As a result, we were stuck out the back in a race when they didn’t appear to be going a strong gallop. However, she made her ground up well and coming to the furlong pole, it looked as though she could go on to win easily. Having made that ground up, however, her run was coming to an end in the closing stages, but she toughed it out really well to hang on to win by a head. That was good for her owners, who have been very patient and hopefully this was just the start of them being rewarded for that patience.
Next up was MANGO BOY, who has proved slightly frustrating in a number of ways. On his last two or three runs last year, he had an excuse but the only thing I can come up with on this occasion is that he didn’t stay this 1¼m trip. He didn’t do much wrong in this race, settling well this time, which had been an issue on a couple of occasions last season. He moved into the race at the right point, travelling well enough but the last furlong for him was a very long one. Finishing 4th was a respectable effort but it was ultimately slightly disappointing, as we know what he can do at home. So, we’ll bring him back to 1m next time and see how we go.
ROSE CAMIRA and COMMANDER HECTOR made their seasonal debuts in the same maiden. Both had run once as 2yo’s, and we moved them up to 1¼m here. They ran respectably in what was probably a decent race, with each getting a little bit tired in the closing stages. The two of them showed enough to give us encouragement for the future.
Finally, SAVROLA proved a bit of a revelation. He had shown some promise in one or two bits of work at home, and I like the horse overall, but concentration isn’t his strong suit and I thought that might be an issue in the race. He was actually tuned in to what he had to do and ran nicely on his racecourse debut. He got tired but wasn’t beaten very far, and if he makes the right sort of progression, you would like to think he might be able to win one of these rather than go down the handicapping route. He seemed well suited to a stiff 7f and is bred to stay 1m, so we’ll see how he comes out of the race before making plans for where he goes next.
The rest of our runners last week were closer to home, starting with BAGUE D’OR at Newmarket on Thursday who ran well to finish 2nd. With the withdrawal of the favourite, we ended up a shorter price than I thought he deserved to be. He wasn’t helped by the withdrawal of another horse that was likely to make the running and, as a result, we didn’t get the decent gallop that he needs to show his best over 1½m. He still put up a good effort, staying on in the closing stages, but was never going to get to the leader, who had got first run on his. He’s a thorough out-and-out galloper, and I think he might be worth a chance at a slightly longer trip in the future.
Back at Newmarket on Friday, CASTANA DIA ran very well to finish 2nd. The draw didn’t help although I am not sure she would have beaten the winner, who won decisively. However, it was a day when being able to race up the stands’ rail was a big advantage, which is what the winner did. Drawn 1 and caught out in the middle of the track, we were not favoured by the conditions, but she ran a very solid race. Kaiya gave her another nice ride and it was a good effort from a straightforward and uncomplicated filly. This proves she stays 7f, which gives us a few more options in the future.
On the same afternoon, OH SO AUDACIOUS made her racecourse debut. It all happened a little bit quickly for her and she’s probably going to want a bit further than this 1m trip. She didn’t do anything wrong and behaved herself but was never quite able to travel on the bridle. I was pleased that she showed a good attitude and was staying on again at the finish, so we’ll move her up to 1¼m next time. On the face of it, she was beaten a long way, but I think this was a decent maiden, with the winner looking as though he’ll end up doing better things in the future.
Our week ended with FLYING STANDARD at Chelmsford on Saturday. He’s another one that wants a decent gallop to aim at and, whilst it wasn’t a crawl, they were never going a particularly strong gallop here as they had done when he won on his return at Salisbury. He was playing catch-up and was beginning to stay on well, looking like he might run on to finish 4th or even 3rd. He tried to come up the rail but the gate was firmly shut in his face and George had to snatch him up. So, he could have a finished a bit closer but, being a hold up horse, you’re always hostage to how the race will be run, and, on this occasion, it didn’t work out for him.
Looking forward to this week, YOU’RE ON MUTE runs in the fillies’ maiden at Windsor on Monday. She had a couple of runs last year and showed some promise. She’s a been a bit slow to come to hand this spring but is ready for a run. We’ll see how she goes but her future probably lies in handicaps.
RODOLFO returns at Wolverhampton on Tuesday. He ran ok in his maidens last year and starts in handicaps off a lowly mark. I would think he can be competitive from his rating although he’s not been handed a good draw on this occasion, drawn 11 of 12. He is another who needs to get out and have a run so we can learn a bit more about him.
On Wednesday, I’d like to run KINGMANIA at Kempton where I think the decent gallop they normally go over 1m will suit her, giving her a chance to settle better than she did at Haydock on her seasonal debut. We might run OH IT’S SAUCEPOT on the same card, but I will track that race and see which of the others are going to turn up before making a decision. Finally, GLEN ESK has an entry at Haydock on Friday, but that race looks competitive enough and we might find an easier option for him somewhere else. It will be another race we keep an eye on before making a final decision.