Although a winner or two would be welcome our horses are continuing to run well and we are sure to turn the corner before too long. We had high hopes for Manangatang at Windsor last Monday but things did not go right for him and that effort is best forgotten. The ground was very loose after heavy showers on watered ground and Jamie reported that the horse was bumped going into the far turn and then slipped coming out of it. Manangatang rather lost his confidence after that, losing his stride, and there no point in being hard on him in the final furlongs and it was no surprise the meeting was abandoned soon after. Sadly, we did not learn anything about what his best trip might be, so we will keep him to a mile and a quarter next time out.
Vanity Queen was made favourite for a handicap at Salisbury but, much like Mananagatang, found circumstances conspiring against her. She jinked coming out of the gates, causing Josephine Gordon to momentarily lose her irons, and then she ended up racing too keenly, eventually dropping right away. She will be dropped back to a mile next time.
We ran several newcomers last Friday, Rigoletto at Newbury and La Rav and Warsaw Road at Newmarket. Rigoletto was an expensive purchase at the 2016 Tattersalls Guineas Breeze Ups who has not been able to run until now for technical reasons, however, he showed enough to suggest he could make up for lost time with a promising display. He was very sluggish at the stalls and brought up the rear for a long way, but he stayed on in quite taking fashion in the last furlong and was, as they say, the one to take out of the race. He will be kept to seven furlongs or a mile next time, as will the pair that ran at Newmarket. La Rav finished behind Warsaw Road but still encouraged us as he is far too good a mover at home to appreciate soft ground. It looked for a long way as though he would finish ahead of Warsaw Road (who looked as if he might drop away with around two furlongs to run but ended up staying on really well) but he ended up getting stuck in the ground.
The same day Bedouin ran better than his finishing position of fourth might suggest in what was a warm handicap for the grade at York. The race was a strongly run one and that suited Bedouin as he travelled strongly, certainly better than he has in any race so far, but the testing ground in the straight found him out close home and he did not finish quite as close as it looked he might with a furlong to run. The trip was not an issue and he will be fine at it next time on quicker ground.
We were interested to see how Saturday panned out as God Given and Aljezeera often work together and they made their 2017 debuts at Newmarket and Newbury respectively. With Aljezeera in the ownership of Al Shaqab Racing, the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial on a card they sponsored had been the plan for a while, and she ran well to finish third behind what looks a useful filly of Roger Charlton’s in Natavia. Considering Aljezeera has not run since last summer and is not a horse that would appreciate soft ground, we were very satisfied with third place and some all-important black type. She will leave that form behind when stepped up to a mile and a half next time on faster ground. God Given is a horse we have a spot for, obviously, as she is a half-sister to our old favourite Postponed and although she was beaten into second, it looked a decent maiden. The first three pulled twenty lengths clear of the rest in what was a fast time in deteriorating conditions and if we had race fitness on our side, like the winner, we feel the result would have been different. God Given will progress no end for this and should have little difficulty winning a similar event before going onto better things given more of a test of stamina.
The weather at home has scuppered the prospects of our smart mare Rosental reappearing in the UK but conditions in France recently have been more to her liking and with the ground at Saint-Cloud on Tuesday forecast to be on the soft side she should go well in the Group 2 Prix Corrida. Left Hand is the class horse in the race and the winner of the 2016 Prix Vermeille but she has to concede 7lb all round which puts us in with a good shout. As a previous course winner and with one of the top five jockey’s in the world, Christophe Soumillon, in the saddle Rosental should be thereabouts. If she does not win, we hope it will not be Left Hand but one of Rosental’s old stablemates Haggle, who was bred by our very own Fittocks Stud and trained at Bedford House before leaving for France.
Later in the week we look to have several chances. Blind Faith will make her seasonal reappearance at Yarmouth. She was rather keen last year in her races and we weren’t too sure whether her best trip was a mile or a mile and a quarter, but she is starting off this year at a mile and we will go from there. El Vip has been declared for a mile handicap at Sandown. Total Star will run at Haydock so long as the ground is not on the soft side while Polly Glide (whose reappearance form is working out well), Beyond Recall and Paris Rooftops, an unraced filly by Galileo, should also go well.