We have had an excellent time of things since our last update with a hatful of winners, including three at the St Leger meeting at Doncaster headed by Silk Sari (pictured) in the Park Hill Stakes. She looked to face a stiff task beforehand, and in truth we were hopeful of no more than a place, so to see her romp home by a wide margin was extremely pleasing. The key to her improvement was undoubtedly a combination of easy ground and a strongly-run race over a trip that has been threatening to suit her for some time now and the only reason she hasn’t run at the trip before is that there haven’t been sufficient opportunities. There was talk after the race that she might head to France for the Prix de Royallieu but a likely lack of pace in France – she would have to make the running herself – has made us think again and she’ll probably head now for the Qipco Fillies’ and Mares on Champions Day. Obviously, we run the risk back in trip of ending up in a race in which there might not be much pace, but she’s exceeded expectations this year and seeing as it will be her last race we have nothing to lose. Blue Waltz was an impressive winner on the same card and would have been a nice-priced winner for anyone who took notice of the rather unusual entry we had made for her in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury soon after she had won her maiden. That entry might have seemed optimistic, not least seeing as she didn’t have a great chance of getting into the race, but it notice of the esteem in which we hold her and it was very satisfying to see her confirm our expectations and in such style too. Not surprisingly her BHA rating has gone through the roof, up to 94 now, and that means we will probably look at a Listed race for her next, ideally soon to take as much advantage as possible of her being at the top of her form at a time of year when many fillies are starting to go over the top. The third of our Doncaster winners was Mount Logan who was well on top come the line in the mile and a half handicap. It possibly wasn’t the strongest contest, with all his opponents being older horses, and a couple of them looking a bit unwilling as well, but he won it readily despite looking as if he would have benefitted from a stronger pace. There is a very valuable three-year-old only handicap at a mile and a half in the second half of October at Newmarket that is on his radar, and though we also have Connecticut as a possible for that contest, any give in the ground wouldn’t inconvenience Mount Logan as it might Connecticut. And since the time of writing we have two more winners, with Bartholemew Fair and Semeen winning at Yarmouth to continue the good run.
Had things panned out slightly differently we could have had a couple more winners too. Archery Peak ran a promising first race in what looked a warm two-year-old maiden at Doncaster and looks a winner waiting to happen, but White Lake rather fretted his chance away beforehand in the Flying Scotsman, taking a bit of a tug on the way to post, getting a bit warm and then worked up in the stalls. He needs to grow up. To accelerate that end, we will take him racing to Newmarket a couple of times to get him more used to the raceday experience, and then hopefully get another race into him this year. Velox ran a very satisfactory Cambridgeshire trial in the concluding mile handicap at Doncaster and might well have gone very close to winning had he not been caught a bit far back in a steadily-run race and then found trouble when beginning his challenge. He left the impression that the straight nine furlongs at Newmarket will suit him very well and if there is a silver lining to this unlucky defeat it is that he didn’t pick up a penalty for the big race. Kinshasa looked for all the world as he would win at Yarmouth but he was still a nostril down at the line and would have preferred a bigger field and a stronger pace. He’s entered in the Sales next month, but any decision as to whether he goes there or not will probably be delayed until after one more run. Spiriting also ran an excellent race at Yarmouth on Wednesday and will be very unfortunate to come up against one as talented as Bartel in his next race. Once again he was rather keen, for all he saw the seven furlongs out well in a well-run race, and it’s likely he’ll be dropped to six furlongs for his next outing.
We have several runners this weekend headed by Mission Approved in the Silver Cup at Ayr, Quest For Peace in the Legacy Cup (the race formerly known as the Arc Trial) and Roseburg in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap. Mission Approved’s chance at Ayr will depend to a large extent on the pace in the group he races in under Fran Berry and the faster they go the better for him, but we can’t say we are any more than hopeful. The same sentiments apply to Quest For Peace who is looking to bounce back from a poor effort at Windsor last time. We still don’t know for sure quite what went wrong there, other than maybe fretting up too much before the race. We have since taken him to Leicester and Yarmouth for some paddock schooling and hopefully he’ll be in a better frame of mind this weekend. Roseburg probably isn’t one of the strongest chances we have ever had in the Dubai Duty Free but cross out his last run and he could still be pigeonholed as progressive. Unfortunately that progress came to a shuddering halt last time against the strongest company he has faced and the recent dry spell hasn’t really been in his favour. Lady Of Dubai and Dreamlike (a half-sister to Silk Sari) both run at Newmarket in maiden races, while we also have another two-year-old Winterval, a colt by Dubawi, running at Newbury.