In general, our horses continued to run well last week even though we were not able to add another winner or two to our total last week.
We started the week off at Windsor with two runners, Near Kettering and Kings City, with the former running the better race to finish fourth in a decent maiden in what was a very pleasing introduction. That is not to say that Kings City failed to show any promise. He is a very different horse mentally and he will need another run at least before we start to see the best of him.
Total Star was a horse that did very well for us last year winning twice as a juvenile, but he has been slow to come to hand this year. He was at a stage in his training where he was ready to run and, in the circumstances, his run at Chelmsford was an encouraging one, not least because he found himself in a poor position with around half a mile to run yet stayed on well to take third place. We will keep him at around a mile and a quarter for now, and he has an entry later this week at Newbury in what is always a decent three year old handicap, but it is not yet certain that he will run.
Chief Craftsman ran a very good race at Nottingham in the mile and a quarter maiden and was unfortunate to come up against one that had beaten him first time out. The margin between the pair was nearly nine lengths that day whereas, on this occasion, it was a length and a quarter. That is a considerable amount of improvement and hopefully he will do the same when we step him up in distance as he is already crying out for a mile and a half.
Stylish Dancer made her debut at Ascot over a mile and a quarter and caught the eye of the RUK pundits, but she is going to need a bit of time and more of a trip before she comes into her own. The strong pace rather accentuated her inexperience, but she stayed on well and left the impression that she would have been better off starting at a mile and a half – if only there were more races available for maiden fillies at that trip. There is one at Newmarket this week in which we run God Given but we were not keen to run both fillies in the same race.
Buxted Dream was beaten at odds on at Lingfield but the bare facts do not tell the whole story. He ended up improving a fair bit on his Yarmouth comeback and pulled well clear of the third only to bump into an unraced filly of Hugo Palmer’s who we have since found out is extremely well regarded. Buxted Dream did nothing wrong in a race run in a fast time and he shows enough speed to think he could win a six furlong maiden.
We had been looking forward to seeing Manangatang at Windsor on Monday but once again he found himself in an odd race and he is better than that performance would suggest. The first two are clearly pattern race prospects but, more than that, there was plenty of trouble heading into the top turn and Manangatang ended up getting shuffled back after which it seemed Jamie was not happy with him. He will have to be stepped up to a mile and a half at some point.
Our good filly Rosental is entered at York later this week but she needs an easy surface and, ideally, soft ground to be seen to best effect and although it was drizzling in Yorkshire on Monday we really need sustained rain for her. It seems more likely that, at the time of writing, she will be rerouted to the Group 2 Prix Corrida at Saint- Cloud where the ground for the last week or so has been more to her liking.
The aforementioned God Given runs at Newmarket on Saturday. As a half-sister to the recently retired Postponed we have been careful where we have chosen to reintroduce her, and could have gone to Wolverhampton, but decided to wait for this more suitable track. She has been going well at home and looks like an interesting prospect this season and will have no trouble staying further. The same day Aljezeera runs at Newbury in the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies Oaks trial. She has been off the track since winning her maiden last summer at Doncaster and we will see how she gets on before making any plans for later in the year. We have several other chances on what promises to be a busy weekend and Bedouin among the remainder might prove to be our best chance.
On a side note but not unrelated, we are pleased that Francesca has made a seamless transition from Channel Seven in Australia to ITV Racing. She looked like she had been in her current role for much longer than the few weeks than she has when leading the coverage from Chester’s May meeting last week. Not only has her involvement increased our enjoyment of the programme, on a personal level, but her input along with that of a couple of the other newer members of the team has resulted in a smoother flow to a programme which is now reaching out to the more causal racing fans in a manner that Channel 4 never quite managed when overseeing the coverage.