Overall, the horses are continuing to run well and that was certainly the case with COMMANDER HECTOR who had his third start at Windsor on Monday evening. He’s quite a big horse and Windsor probably wasn’t the ideal place for him to go, but I wanted to run him whilst there was a little bit of ease in the ground. Having been squashed out and got into a muddle around the bend, he stayed on well once they straightened up. He’s going the right way and we’ll make a plan for him once we hear what handicap rating he has been awarded.
FREE STEP showed much more promise at Nottingham on Wednesday compared with her only previous start at Newmarket towards the end of last year. She ran a tidy race on this occasion, travelling nicely behind the leaders before getting a little bit outpaced and tired in the closing stages. This was a respectable effort that was more commensurate with what we’ve seen from her on the gallops at home.
DOUBLE OR BUBBLE ran very well in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday. She was calm in the preliminaries, which she isn’t always. She broke nicely and Jack had her well positioned following some of the right horses. Inside the final 2 furlongs, she moved into contention, and I began to get excited thinking that we might run into a place. Then the cavalry loomed up behind her and she got a bit swamped, but she was only beaten 3¼ lengths which was a very good effort in a Group 1. Given that was her initial attempt at the highest level, I would like to think she might improve a bit as it was first time she has been stretched like that in a race. She didn’t look out of place in that company and so we’ll plan to head for the July Cup as long as conditions remain in her favour.
On the same afternoon, we had three runners at Newmarket. BAGUE’DOR was stepping up in trip to 1¾m, he settled nicely and got into a good rhythm in a race run at a nice pace. He was always travelling well and was probably just a little bit lazy when he got upsides. Neil Callan gave him a couple of smacks and he found enough to run out a cosy winner. I doubt the handicapper will put him up by too much and we’ll see what options we can find for him. He doesn’t mind quickish ground and stays well.
KINGMANIA has got me baffled as I thought we had found a race that she should have been competitive in. We’d found excuses for her first two starts this year, and she was close enough if good enough in this race but didn’t really quicken up and show much finish. That was disappointing as we saw last year that she is a filly with a nice turn of foot. So, she has got up scratching our heads for now and I don’t quite know what the answer is. We’ll persevere though and hopefully get her back to her best.
CASTANA DIA ran another good race in the closing race on the card. She’s a consistent filly who we have been running over 6f and 7f. Over 6f here, they went a decent pace and I felt she was always just at it a bit, slightly outpaced when it mattered before staying on at the end. Perhaps in the future a return to 7f will be what is required. However, this was another good effort from her, and she continues in good form.
Finally, on Sunday GOLDIE HAWK went to Pontefract for a listed race. She had run well in a muddling race on her return at Goodwood and had really come on for that effort in her work at home since. The target had always been to try to get some Black Type with her and this was the first race on the agenda for her at that level. Two things were in our favour. Firstly, the watering and the little bit of rain meant the ground was in very good condition, which is important for her. Secondly, the race was run at a good pace which allowed her to settle and get into a nice rhythm. She travelled very strongly and coming up the hill towards the turn into the straight, she looked like she was going best of all. She stayed on really well, but the winner just found enough to hold us off and we were beaten a neck. It was a pleasing outcome, however, as that gives this well-bred filly some Black Type and, as she is in foal to Masar, that was especially important.
Looking ahead to this week, ANGEL AMADEA heads to Newbury on Tuesday evening as long as it doesn’t dry up too much by then.
We’ve got quite a few entered on Thursday and Friday but we’ll wait to see what the ground conditions are like before finalising plans. YOU’RE ON MUTE has options at Leicester on Thursday and Newmarket on Friday. I’d particularly like to run her at Leicester, but it may be too quick for her. MANGO BOY has options at Newmarket on Thursday and Newcastle on Friday, and we’ll wait to see which looks the best opportunity for him. He doesn’t mind fast ground. SPIT SPOT is also in a couple of places but she’s another one that might find conditions a bit too quick. SAVROLA could go up to Newcastle on Friday if Mango Boy heads up there. Finally, TURNTABLE is likely to head to Newmarket on Friday although I would like to have a proper look at the race before confirming plans for him.