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  1. The hot weather and dry conditions continue to impact our running plans, and we just had the four runners over the past week.

    Two of those were in the 1m fillies’ maiden at Yarmouth on Wednesday afternoon. OH SO AUDACIOUS had been outpaced when we ran her over 1m on her debut but then didn’t stay 1½m next time. Dropped back in trip, she travelled well for a long way until not having the speed to go with the others in the final stages. She plugged on well enough though and I’m sure that at her level, she’ll be ok, probably at 1m or perhaps a 1¼m.This was much her best effort so far and she is gradually beginning to get the hang of things. FREE STEP had run well on her first run of the year at Nottingham, but the smaller field here didn’t help her. She’s a filly that needs to have company around her as she’s on the lazy side and not the most focussed of horses. Against some nice horses, she got detached and then gives up a bit. She’s another one that is work in progress.

    BAGUE D’OR went to Ascot on Saturday when he was drawn on the inside in the 1¾m handicap. That had the potential to be a disaster as Frankie found out on Stradivarius in the Gold Cup but the cut-away on the bend helped. Having travelled strongly throughout, he quickened up past the leaders once in the straight. I think he idles once in front and that left himself a bit vulnerable to a finisher. There was one of those which gave us a few palpitations for a moment or two, but once he realised his rival was there, there was enough left in the tank to hold that one off. He’s progressing nicely and is clearly suited by 1¾m. Hopefully he’ll be able to win another race or two like this.

    DOUBLE OR BUBBLE ran extremely well to finish 5th in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket. The pace through the early stages must have been quick as she was off the bridle for the first couple of furlongs. She travelled into the race nicely but, drawn low in stall 5, she was a little bit away from where the race developed on the far side and so she was having to race on her own. I was delighted with how she ran but I just felt that had she been drawn higher, she would have finished 4th or possibly even challenged for 3rd. Nevertheless, it was a very good effort from her, and she continues in good heart. We’ll have a look at the Programme Book and see what options we have for her before having a discussion with Mr Fustok about what he would like to do next. There’s nothing obvious to go for at 6f and so we might have to look at some of the 7f options that are coming up in the next month or two. Although I would have preferred to stay at 6f, I don’t have any great reservations about stepping her up to 7f. She’s a filly that settles well and already has very solid form at the longer trip.

    With the current spell of hot weather set to continue, we only have two entries planned for this week. CASTANA DIA is entered at Yarmouth on Wednesday. She has a big weight in this race and there are some improving 3yos entered, so our decision to run here will somewhat depend on how competitive the race looks at the declaration stage. HI HO SILVER is in at Newmarket on Friday. We’re not short of options for him and so he’ll only run here if it ends up looking like a contest that he can run well in.

  2. We only had four runners last week starting with SPIT SPOT in the fillies’ novice at Kempton on Wednesday evening. We stepped her up in trip from 1¼m on her debut to 1½m here. She got a bit squeezed out at the start and, being on the inside, ended up being stuck out the back. However, she stayed on well to finish 5th, running a nice race. She has run well on both of her starts, and I think she is capable of winning a race of this type. She stays well and will only improve as she develops physically, so she is a filly with a future.

    At Yarmouth on Thursday, we had two runners, beginning with THE THUNDERER in the 1m3½f handicap. He’s run a few indifferent races and his last race was a disaster when he slipped at Lingfield, but he returned to form and ran a nice race here. The winner got loose on the lead with, for some reason, his rivals deciding not to stay a bit closer to him. We dropped in from a wide draw and made our ground up well. For a few moments, it looked like he might pick up the leader, but our rival found a bit more as we got closer to him. Nevertheless, he finished a good second, with it being 7 lengths back to the 3rd. This was a solid effort, and it was good to see him back running well again.

    HI HO SILVER likes Yarmouth, partly because it is often fast ground which is what he likes. Unfortunately, the last three times we’ve had him in there it has rained and gone soft. On the first two occasions, we took him out but this time I didn’t know how much the rain had got into the ground and so we let him take his chance. As things proved, it had got in enough to spoil his chance. In the race itself, he jumped out well enough and had a nice position, tracking the leaders. He got a bit squeezed out 2f out which also didn’t help his cause, particularly as he doesn’t need much of an excuse to wave the white flag. He’ll have other days when things are more in his favour.

    Finally, FLYING STANDARD ran at Nottingham on Saturday evening and, based on this run, I think we’re going to have to step him back up in trip. I know he has won over 1¾m but he has also run well over 2m, and I thought that he shaped here as though the extra trip would suit him. There was a little bit of juice in the ground and the race was run at a nice pace all the way, so conditions were in his favour. However, he was only getting going and finding his stride in the closing stages, and so we might have to think about running him over a bit further in the future.

    Looking ahead to this week, FREE STEP and OH SO AUDACIOUS are likely runners at Yarmouth on Wednesday. ROSE CAMIRA has a few entries this week and, as she wants a bit of juice in the ground, she’ll probably go wherever the ground is best. DOUBLE OR BUBBLE has an entry in the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York on Friday, but I expect we’ll stick to the original plan and run in the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday. BAGUE D’OR will have an entry at Ascot on Saturday but he also has an option at Newmarket the week after. As he has won twice at Newmarket, the Ascot race would have to be particularly attractive for him to go down that route.