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  1. Last week began with SPIT SPOT making the long journey to Ffos Las on Monday evening for the 1½m fillies’ maiden. The racecourse unfortunately had a lot of rain and the ground became quite soft. Whilst she would have handled conditions on the easy side, this very soft ground found her out. She made the running, travelling round smoothly enough but just couldn’t get her feet out of it and pick up in the closing stages. It was a long way to go for that to happen, particularly as it was a race that I thought she could have been competitive in if conditions hadn’t gone against her. She’s handicapped now and we’ll go down that route with her in the future.

    OH SO AUDACIOUS, or Audrey as she is known in the yard, went to Yarmouth on Tuesday where she made her handicap debut. She travelled along quite well for much of the way but stayed on at one pace in the closing stages. It looks like she’ll want further and would also probably appreciate a bit more cut in the ground. She is still a work in progress, both physically and mentally. Hopefully the penny will drop, and things will start to go her way in the second half of the season.

    BAGUE D’OR ran very well at Glorious Goodwood on Saturday when we were unfortunate to bump into one that returned to its best form. He sat in midfield, travelling strongly in a race run at a good tempo all the way. He then picked up and stayed on very well. Although it was close for the minor placings, we had done enough to finish a gallant second. My impression walking off the track was that we could try him over further if we wanted to and so we’ll see what options he has next month, and then make a plan.  

    They had plenty of rain at Thirsk on Saturday where FREE STEP handled the ground well on her handicap debut. She is one that probably lacks a change of gear, but she stuck to her task and we might try her over a bit further in the future. She’s another one who is still learning and developing physically.

    Looking ahead, we may end up with a few runners this week but that will depend on whether the weather plays it part.

    I hope we can run ROSE CAMIRA at Windsor on Monday evening although that will be ground dependent as she doesn’t want it too firm. I hope they might get a bit of rain – even 2 or 3mm would be enough to help the ground a little bit. If they don’t, I’ll walk the course and make a decision. If it is too lively, we won’t run her as I don’t think she’ll be at her best on fast ground.

    DIVINE COMEDY is entered at Newcastle on Wednesday. She is a possible runner but there are two or three others in there who might take a bit of beating, so we’ll see how things develop on this one. OH IT’S SAUCEPOT has an entry at Kempton on Wednesday but her race looks to have plenty of depth. She has an alternative option at Haydock on Friday, and we might head up there.

    On Thursday, COMMANDER HECTOR is entered at Ayr. He’ll need some rain and will also have an entry at Haydock on Saturday. RODOLFO has three entries this week and I think he might go to Nottingham on Thursday. CASTANA DIA is a possible at Yarmouth on Thursday, but she has other options in the coming week or so, and so we may wait for one of those.

    Finally, SAVROLA will have an entry at Haydock on Saturday but that is the first of two or three options coming up for him, and so he isn’t guaranteed to run at the weekend.

  2. With the weather being particularly hot, leading to a number of meetings being abandoned at the beginning of last week, our runners have been pretty thin on the ground over the past fortnight.

    The first was CASTANA DIA at Yarmouth on Wednesday 13th, who ran nicely to finish a close runner-up.She was dropped in and settled well, and Kaiya timed her challenged to good effect, hitting the front at the furlong pole. I thought at that stage that she would win but credit has to go to the winner, who found a bit extra and fought back well to get up by a head. I don’t think there were any excuses on our part and, once again, she tried very hard and ran her race.

    Three days later we sent SAVROLA up to Haydock to make his handicap debut on what was only his second run on turf. Although there were only four runners, it was a competitive race with his three rivals all coming into this event in good form. In the race itself, he settled well and got into a nice rhythm. When he made headway over 2f out, it looked like he would go on to win well but the second horse battled back hard. It looked like we were going to prevail by a head or so but, on the line, things were tighter than ideal with our head being up and our rival’s head being down, meaning that there was only a nose between them. Nevertheless, it was job done and, having only been put up 2lbs by the handicapper, he should continue to progress and improve.

    Finally, HI HO SILVER returned to Yarmouth on Thursday where he ran ok to finish 5th. The race didn’t really set up for him as the tail wind meant that the horses on the speed were favoured. We made up some ground in the closing stages, but he was never going to catch the leaders. He is a horse that needs some racing to reach his peak and so it is unfortunate that he hasn’t done much of that this year with, pretty remarkably, rain coming on more than one occasion when he had been due to run.

    Looking forward to this week, SPIT SPOT heads to Ffos Las on Monday evening for a fillies’ maiden. As this race is part of the Great British Bonus scheme, there is plenty of money on offer. She is very well and should give a good account of herself, with William Haggas’ filly, who is rated 78, appearing to be our main rival.

    OH SO AUDACIOUS goes to Yarmouth on Tuesday for her handicap debut. It is possible that she might need a bit further than the 1m here, but this race should teach us a bit more about her.

    TOTAL JOY is entered at Leicester on Wednesday, and we’ll take a view on that option before declarations on Monday morning. I am not sure that the likely dry conditions and fast ground will suit him ideally. FREE STEP has an entry at Nottingham on Thursday, and we’ll make a decision on her participation later in the week. Finally, BAGUE D’OR may head to the final day of Glorious Goodwood on Saturday, but I’ll have a good look at the entries for the staying handicap before taking a decision on his participation.