We started well last week, with Alwaysandforever’s win at Brighton followed by victories for Rigoletto and Chocolate Box on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Rigoletto (pictured)seemed to enjoy a switch to more positive tactics at Chepstow and won in an impressive fashion. He handles soft ground so he will probably run again before the season ends. There will be more races for Chocolate Box this season, too, but we will resist the urge to turn him out under a penalty for his Chelmsford success as he had quite a hard race. The front pair pulled 13 lengths clear of the third and has been raised 7lbs by the handicapper for his efforts. Banksea was our only other runner in Britain last week, but the soft ground at Ascot on Friday was far from ideal for him. Ryan Moore let him finish in his own time and said that he will back to his best on a faster surface.
Over in France Pleasant Surprise was unfortunate not to land her first Listed contest at Saint-Cloud last Friday, having seemingly had all angles covered in the closing stages before a late rally from Cap Verite down the outside. She did not have a hard race and should be ready to go again soon. God Given could only manage sixth in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille, having chased the leader Ajman Princess who went too hard in the early and middle stages of the race. She had quite a hard race in the end, so we will have to see how she is before we consider the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies’ And Mares’ Stakes at Ascot next month. Rosental finished fifth in the Group 2 Moyglare Jewels Blandford Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday. It was a bit of a shot in the dark pitching her in to a Group 2, but we were pleased with her effort, and she was not beaten far by some smart fillies that are established at the level.
Near Kettering will hopefully go to Leicester on Tuesday, so long as there is not too much rain around. He bounced back with a good fourth at Newmarket last time and goes up in trip which should suit.
We have two runners at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting later in the week, with Aljezeera set to take her place in the Group 2 DFS Park Hill Stakes on Thursday. She made rapid headway late in the day at York last time over a mile and a half, and the extra two furlongs should suit her well on Thursday. Pacharana finished third from her revised mark at Salisbury last time and the handicapper probably has her measure for now, but she is very consistent and likely to run her race again.
We have two entries for Saturday, with Perfect Spy going handicapping over a mile and a half at Lingfield, and possibly Warsaw Road an intended runner later on the card. Both of Warsaw Road’s wins have come on firmer ground so we are hoping that the rain stays away.