El Vip Hunts Into Cup Picture

We were able to add two nice winners to our tally last week while a number of other runners shaped with promise. The first of those was So Sleek, who has now been beaten under two lengths in each of her last three starts. She got in a battle for the lead with Munstead Star at Leicester and both fillies softened each other up for the winner who was ridden further back. We shall look for a similar race for her next time and, with the consistency she is showing, she should go very close again.  Another who is perhaps unfortunate to still be a maiden is Buxted Dream, who was a fast finishing second at Chelmsford on Thursday. He missed the break and then had to manoeuvre around rivals as he made his challenge. Chelmsford is a difficult track to win at coming from off the pace and we are hopeful that he will go one better next time out.

We were pleased with the attitude shown by Near Kettering (pictured) at Redcar on Tuesday. He got in a real battle with one who had much more racing experience and it was encouraging to see him win like that on just his second start. He will get further in time based on that effort; however, he will stick to a mile and a quarter for his next start. Also pleasing was the way that El Vip settled when he won impressively at Newcastle later in the week. He won his maiden over a mile and a quarter and should not have any problem going back up to that trip, so the Listed Wolferton Handicap as well as the Royal Hunt Cup (over a mile) are both under consideration for him at Royal Ascot.

There is plenty of rain about in various places this week, some of which will inconvenience our runners. Rigoletto made his debut on soft ground at Newbury so the forecast rain ahead of his next start at Yarmouth on Tuesday should not be a problem. Owner Mr Simon Capon will also have Star Gypsy running for us on the same day. Star Gypsy sticks to a mile at Wetherby and remains open to further improvement after his good fourth at Chelmsford last time.

There is 15ml of rain predicted at Sandown before Beyond Recall is set to make her handicap debut on Thursday, which could change the ground significantly and prevent her running. One who will not mind rain is God Given, who was narrowly beaten in a Newmarket maiden last month on soft ground. She is set to run at Haydock on Friday and, considering she has improved with every start to date, we are hopeful that she can break her duck at the fourth attempt.

Over the weekend we have Bedouin entered at Newmarket on Saturday. He is an idle sort at home and does not show us much, but has been competitive on both of his starts in handicaps this season. Paris Rooftops seems to have improved at home since her debut last time at Goodwood and may well run over the same course and distance on Sunday, while Kitty Boo may make her turf debut on the same day at Nottingham. We have been waiting for the right race for her and this looks a good opportunity.