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  1. HAN SOLO BERGER was our first runner of the week at Windsor on Monday evening. He travelled well for a long way but, when push came to shove, didn’t find as much as might have been expected. I know we were running him over a furlong further that normal, but I don’t think he would have fared much better if the race had been over 5f. He ran a bit flat and just hasn’t quite found his mojo yet this season.   

    DOUBLE OR BUBBLE ran in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday. It was a very hot and humid afternoon in Berkshire, and she seemed to really struggle with the conditions. She was very hot and sweaty beforehand, not because she was worried or worked up, but because of the heat. In the race, we probably weren’t drawn on the right part of the track as you needed to be under the stands’ rail on that day. She ran well for a long way but didn’t have a lot to finish with. After the race, she was really struggling with the heat, and it took a long time for her to cool down. Thankfully, she’s bounced out of that at home okay, and she seems to be none the worse for her exertions, so we’ll make a plan and take things from there.

    At Newmarket on Saturday, CASTANA DIA ran very well to finish a close second in the fillies’ handicap, which was run on ground softer than ideal. She travelled strongly in behind the leaders and, when asked to quicken, it took her a long time to get going, which I think was due to the going. The winner came with a wet sail and wide of her, and I don’t think she realised she was there, and we just got beat in the final strides. All in all, I think she was a little bit unlucky and, back on a sounder surface, I think we’ll see an even better filly.

    Finally, BLACK LOTUS ran well in the fillies’ listed race at Pontefract on Sunday. I don’t think we would have beaten the winner, who quickened up well, but we were a bit unlucky in the straight, always having something in the way of getting out and having some racing room. We probably should have finished 3rd rather than 5th, but she ran well and proved that she stays 12f. Things just didn’t work out as they might have done.

    Looking ahead to this week, we’ve got plenty of entries from Wednesday onwards. The weather and ground will play their part in finalising plans and so we’ll have wait to see how things pan out.

  2. The last week has been a good one with three winners and two seconds from our seven runners.

    Things began with two runners at Windsor on Monday evening. GOLDIE HAWK had been beaten on the line in her previous visit to the track and then ran into a couple of well handicapped horses at Kempton on her latest start. Pleasingly, she got the job done nicely here. I had told Jack not to get to the front too soon as I think she is best chasing things down and she can idle when she hits the front. He had her well positioned throughout and timed it well, getting to the front just inside the final furlong. She was always holding on from there, winning with a little bit up her sleeve, and it was nice to get the win under her belt. She is a well-related filly and although it will be a step up from where she is rated, we’ll consider some black type options from here as it would enhance her value if she could get some.

    POET’S PARK had been unlucky on her seasonal return when she had got flattened and so this was really like her first run of the year. In a race where they went a decent pace, she was always in a nice position. They quickened the pace up just after 3f out and she was caught a bit flat footed and dropped back. However, she was staying on in the closing stage, running well to finish fifth. On the back of this performance, we’ll probably step her up in trip in the future.

    We had four runners  at Yarmouth on Wednesday starting with FLYING STANDARD. He had found the ground a bit too sticky for him on his previous start over course and distance but ran very well here to finish second. He couldn’t get to the winner who made all but ran a very solid race, staying on strongly at the finish. I think he needs stepping up in trip to 1¾m or even 2m, and he showed here that he can go on faster ground, which will be a bonus over the coming months.

    MUSTAZEED had run well on his previous start at Wolverhampton, where he was a fast finishing third. We stepped him up in trip here, which was also his first run on turf. I don’t know why but he was very slowly away from the stalls and it looked like he had spoilt his chance. However, Jack was able to ease him into the race and he finished with a great rattle, ending up winning quite comfortably. We’ll have to take our medicine from the handicapper, but he’s clearly well suited to 10f. I wouldn’t want to over-race him on fast ground, but we’ll see what options there are coming up.

    SWEET EXPECTATION had shown a little bit of promise on her racecourse debut at Newmarket and stepped up again here to finish eighth, staying on well in the closing stages. She is going the right way and, once she is handicapped and can get into the Class 5 bracket, she is going to be competitive. I was pleased with this run.  

    GLEN ESK was making his seasonal return and he ran very well. He’s another one that wants to get there quite late and, as he was travelling well, he probably got to the front a little too soon. This was a very solid effort for us to build on. I think he’ll benefit for going up in trip to 10f and a little bit more juice in the ground wouldn’t go amiss either.

    Finally on Thursday, HI HO SILVER rounded off a good week for us. He’d run well on his seasonal debut finishing third over course and distance and won well here. There went a nice early pace, and he was always travelling well. Seb eased him into it, and he picked up and won nicely, which was very satisfactory.

    The horses are running well and, looking forward to this week, HAN SOLO BERGER is in action at Windsor on Monday, where we are trying him back over 6f. He’s been running perfectly well over 5f, but I want to give him a chance to travel along on the bridle and build up a bit of confidence, having been taken off his feet at Epsom last time. His form at 6f isn’t as good as his form over 5f and he would have to improve to take a hand in the finish here, but he’s in good heart and I’m sure he won’t disgrace himself.

    It is Royal Ascot this week and we have DOUBLE OR BUBBLE running in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes on Wednesday. This will be a big step up in class for her, coming out of handicaps into a Group 2. She’s a very relaxed filly and so I don’t think she’ll have any problems with the extra furlong, and the fast ground will suit as long as the showers stay away. I’m happy with the way she has been going at home and so fingers crossed for a good effort.

    Finally, after her recent victory at Yarmouth, we may run CASTANA DIA in a fillies’ handicap at Newmarket on Saturday.