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  1. Last week got underway with ANGEL AMADEA at Newbury on Tuesday evening. She pinged out stalls and raced from the front with the choke out. It looked for a while as though she might not get caught but she was treading water inside the final 150 yards and weakened into 4th place.  In the circumstances, I thought that was a fair effort from her.

    I didn’t know what to make of MANGO BOY at Newcastle on Friday. He went up in there in good form and had been working well at home. He had a good position in the box seat behind the leaders but when push came to shove, he engaged reverse and finished out the back. We don’t know why that happened, but we’ll keep an eye on him over the next few days and see if anything comes to light.

    On the same card, SAVROLA ran another good race. He’s now had two trips to Newcastle and run well there both times. On this occasion, he was doing his best work at the end of the race, probably suggesting that he’ll stay 1m although when we tried that trip on the turf at Doncaster, he didn’t seem to quite get home. He’s a horse that will improve physically as the year progresses, and hopefully he can make his presence felt in handicap company in the second half of the season. He’ll probably want a bit of juice on the grass, or we’ll run back him on the all-weather. A stiff 7f or easy 1m is probably what he wants.

    At Newmarket on Friday, YOU’RE ON MUTE went into her race at Newmarket on Friday in good heart and it was one of the few races at the meeting where they went a proper gallop. I thought that would suit her and going into the dip with a furlong to run, she looked to be starting to make a move from off the back of the field to get competitive. When she met the rising ground, however, her run petered out. She had a good blow afterwards and so I don’t know if everything was normal with her. Apart from that, she has come out of the race well and I still think 1¼m is her distance, but she might want a bit more juice in the ground. 

    In TURNTABLE’srace on the same Newmarket card, they crawled, when he really needs a decent gallop to aim at. This turned into a 3-furlong sprint, and he just can’t do that. In fairness, he didn’t race too keenly on this occasion as Callum managed to get him switch off, but he’s an out-and-out galloper and a sprint finish is not his thing.   

    CHIPS AND RICE’s race at Newmarket on Saturday turned into a farce. The one horse in the race likely to make the running was withdrawn at the start and the three remaining runners crawled through the early stages. Although she got on terms with the eventual winner and looked like she might overhaul it, she’s another one that would have preferred more give in the ground and a stronger gallop, particularly as she’s a filly that is likely to stay a bit further in time.  

    TOTAL JOY made his debut at Doncaster on Saturday evening. We ran him over 6f but that was for the simple reason that he is still rather gangly and uncoordinated, and I wanted to run him on a flat, straight easy track, and not around a bend or over undulations because he’d get terribly unbalanced. The only race I could find was over 6f here, which was too short for him. He behaved himself and travelled best he could, although outpaced. In the second half of the race, he started to gain ground and stayed on quite well. As we knew, he’ll be suited to a bit further, but I would like to keep him to uncomplicated tracks for now until he’s strengthened up.

    Finally at Windsor on Sunday, OH IT’S SAUCEPOT ran well on ground that had just got a bit lively for her. They went quite a good gallop in her race which would have suited her but, although she was making ground in the closing stages, the leaders never really stopped. In the circumstances, she ran respectably to finish 4th and she continues in good heart.

    Looking ahead to this week, SPIT SPOT will probably head to Kempton on Wednesday. I think she’ll probably be better on the turf but she wants some juice in the ground and so we’ll have to go when we have a suitable opportunity on the all-weather to get another run into her.

    Beyond that, we’ve got a few entered up later in the week but a lot of them are quite ground dependent and so we’ll have to see what the weather does before making plans.


  2. 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.