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  1. With the continued absence of rain and fast ground being prevalent across the country, last week was a quiet one with only two runners.

    HI HO SILVER went to Yarmouth on Tuesday for his seasonal debut. It was a day when a strong tail wind meant that there was considerable advantage to be had from getting on the front end and bagging the stand rail. Although we were drawn against that rail, we didn’t have enough early pace to grab the lead and we had to settle in the pack. In the circumstances, I thought he did well to run on to finish third and that was a good solid start to his season. We know plenty about him including that there are days when he doesn’t perform to his best. When conditions are right, however, he usually pops up and wins a race somewhere along the line and, hopefully, that will happen again this year.

    At Newmarket on Saturday, TURNTABLE ran very well on his return to action in the valuable 9f Heritage Handicap, starting his season with a personal best to finish second. The way the race was set up wasn’t ideal for him in that the very early pace wasn’t as strong as it could have been. It took them a little while to get going and set a decent pace. As a result, he was a little bit keen early on although not too much. Hollie pulled him out at the Bushes to make his challenge, when he still travelling very strongly. The jockeys said that the last furlong and a half was the firmest part of the course on the day and I think he was just feeling the ground and was rolling around a little bit in the closing stages. Still, it was good effort and he ran very well, giving everybody a memorable day out on a good day’s racing. In terms of future plans, I wouldn’t mind stepping him up in trip to 10f when we have the right track and conditions, especially now that he is generally settling better. He is always going to be a hold-up horse because he won’t settle if you put him in the ruck. We need to be on a course where that tactic can work and you wouldn’t want to run him on a track that is too tight, so we’ll have to pick and choose. Once we see what the handicapper does with him on Tuesday, we will settle on a plan.

    With the dry weather looking likely to continue for at least another week, it is likely to be another quiet one ahead.  ANGEL AMADEA has her first run for us at Windsor on Monday, when we’ll see what we can learn about her. THE THUNDERER makes his return at Chelmsford on Thursday. He’s in need of a run and, as he has fair form on the all-weather, I don’t mind running him there. Hopefully he’ll give a good account of himself. As for the weekend, I am not sure what we’re going to do yet. We’ve a few pencilled in but, if it stays dry, it is unlikely that we’ll bother with many of them.


  2. Last week wasn’t one of our better ones although I suppose it wasn’t all bad and could have been worse! Things didn’t start well at Lingfield on Monday, where races on the round course were abandoned after the opener in which THE THUNDERER slipped and slithered on the false ground into the straight. As a result, he lost his action completely and that was that.

    They had plenty of rain at Yarmouth on Tuesday and the ground came up pretty soft. That wasn’t ideal for MANGO BOY who is a sound surface horse but, in what was a pretty ordinary contest, I thought we should let him take his chance.In truth, he made hard work of winning it, but we’ll put that down to the ground. We made the running down the rail and he was having a good look at everything. It was only when the second horse came across from the middle of track that he realised what he had to do and stuck his neck out to win. It was good to get him off the mark having run pretty consistently in his previous races, and he’ll be more effective on a sounder surface. I think the 1m suits him well and letting him use his stride is the way to go with him.

    On Wednesday ANGEL AMADEA ran well to finish a close 4th at Kempton. She tracked the leaders in a race where the pace wasn’t overly strong and nothing really came from off it, with the first three prominent throughout. She was a little one paced in the closing stages, but she put up a solid effort and we learnt a bit more about her on only her second run since joining us. 

    YOU’RE ON MUTE ran well at Leicester on Thursday.They went a good gallop in this race and, coming down the hill, she was a little bit outpaced and struggling to keep up,but she finished her race off strongly, running on into 3rd place. She showed us here that she definitely wants 1¼m and won’t want the ground too firm. It looks like she is a filly who can win a race or two once stepped up in trip. 

    On the same afternoon, things didn’t turn out well forTURNTABLE at Redcar. Once down at the start, he moved his shoe and with no farrier on hand to deal with the matter, itwas pulled off rather than professionally removed. He was then allowed to run which I really don’t think he should have been.  Indeed, it would have been a much better outcome for everybody if the horse had been taken out at the start, including for his owners who saw him run round in some discomfort from the word ‘go’. Thankfully Callum Shepherd had the good sense to ease him down and take him out the race, but I can’t understand why he was allowed to run in the first place or why there wasn’t a farrier at the start.Understandably, he’s a bit sore after that, but he’ll recover,and we’ll get him back on track.

    SAVROLA ran okay on his first run on the grass at Doncasteron Friday. He travelled nicely for a long way until hitting a flat spot before staying on again in the closing stages. I’m not sure whether that means he needs further as I think he is still just being a bit green. He’s a work in progress – there is an engine in there, but it is not functioning on all cylinders just yet.

    Finally, on Saturday we were back at Doncaster withFLYING STANDARD. On this occasion, they went a reasonable pace in front of him and he moved into contention nicely 3f out and I thought we were going to get involved. Whether the drying ground ended up a bit quick for him, he looked to be slightly uncomfortable through the closing stages. Once the first two had kicked on, we were always going to finish 3rd and Callum didn’t give him a hard time chasing the two in front who had gone clear. So, all-in-all he ran ok on ground he was probably feeling a bit.

    Looking ahead, it looks like being another reasonably busyweek. SPIT SPOT makes her debut at Windsor on Monday evening. She is still a bit weak and has to strengthen up, butshe needs some racecourse experience behind her and willhave to learn on the job. She has shown us a bit at home and so hopefully won’t disgrace herself here.

    On Wednesday, RODOLFO steps up in trip at Yarmouth. On his seasonal return, he had the misfortune to run at Wolverhampton on a night when you had to be up on the pace. He was drawn wide and missed the break, so that had inevitable consequences. OH IT’S SAUCEPOT is a likely runner at Haydock as she’s got her ground and we’ll step her back up to 1½m, which I think will suit her. ROSE CAMIRAhas an entry at Kempton. She’s not certain to get into the racebut, if she does, will probably run.    

    FREE STEP goes to Newbury on Thursday. Her debut last year was less than impressive and so she needs to step up on that and begin to get the hang of things. There will probably be some nice fillies in this race, but the alternative is to end up running around a sharp track which wouldn’t suit her. CHIPS AND RICE has options at Nottingham and Haydock, and at this stage I’m favouring the latter, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the ground and watching how the races fill up before making a final decision. She has run quite nicely in her maidens and so it will be interesting to see how she gets on in handicap company. The step up to 1¼m should suit her. HI HO SILVER could go to Yarmouth, but he is ground dependent and would need things to dry out. 

    Finally, BAGUE D’OR has an entry at York on Friday. I haven’t had a chance to look at that race yet and he has a few other options coming up, but if it looks a good spot, then that is where he’ll go.