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Saturday 27th July

Sat 27 July 2019

Good morning from Newmarket. A thrilling day's racing lies in wait, with Enable seeking to regain her King George crown at Ascot. We will also be quite busy ourselves, although we have been on weather watch throughout the night and the rain has been falling in the wrong places!

Starting at Newmarket, we run Dark Red in the mile and a quarter 0-95 handicap at 2.50. The old warrior has returned to some form of late, finishing third at Chelmsford in June and second at Chester just over a fortnight ago (although he was demoted to fourth). Those efforts encourage us to believe that he can win again from his current mark of 90, but conditions are critical. We will not risk him if the ground is too quick, and at the time of writing the forecast rain at Newmarket has just arrived! If it continues to rain and produces nice, safe ground we look forward to another good performance, and hopefully Adam Kirby can prove a good match for the horse.

Our second runner at Newmarket is Melodies in the seven-furlong fillies’ handicap at 3.25, who returns to the tack after 371 days off. This filly is out of a mare that I trained from a family that traces back to my Sun Chariot and Matron Stakes winner Independence. Melodies showed promise at two, before breaking her duck in a Doncaster handicap just over a year ago. On her next outing at Newbury she finished a neck second to Red Tea, who has since advertised the worth of the form by winning at Grp-2 level in Ireland.

So the form has a strong look to it, but inevitably given the length of her absence there have been issues. Melodies has not been the soundest, and it has taken a huge amount of skill and patience from my team to nurse her back to full fitness. She has recently indicated to us that she is ready for a racecourse return, and this looked a good point to start her back. She might want another furlong later in the season, there is no doubt she will improve for the outing physically and this is of course a competitive heat. However, I keep my fingers crossed that she can show us that the old talent remains intact. Rob Hornby takes the mount.

Moving northwards we have a couple of runners at Newcastle where the artificial surface means we don’t have to worry about the rain for once. In the 2.10 Ten Chants has his second taste of racecourse action in the seven-furlong novice auction, and I hope that the track and trip will be in his favour. He showed a little bit of ability when sixth on his Wolverhampton debut, and I would expect some natural progression from that. With several exciting looking newcomers and one or two who have also shown promise on track, I think this will be quite a strong race for the grade. So expectations have to be realistic, but we are looking for another bit of encouragement from a young horse that should continue to progress.

Later, in the mile and a quarter 0-85 Silk Series handicap at 3.55, Global Art takes his chance under our stable amateur Sophie Smith. These Silk Series races provide an excellent opportunity for a rider like Sophie to mix it with seasoned professionals, and hopefully she will benefit enormously from today’s experience. Global Art is a lovely horse who always tries his heart out, and he is something of an AW specialist. So there are reasons to be hopeful, but this is a competitive race and we are not well-handicapped from a mark of 82. With that in mind, Sophie’s seven pound allowance should be a real help, and we have a nice draw in stall one which should allow them to take their time and find some cover. So it is a great opportunity for horse and jockey, but I am under no illusions that this is anything other than a very warm contest.

Finally, we take a pair of runners to Lingfield this evening. A lot of rain overnight has turned the ground softer than ideal, which is of particular concern for our filly Caen Na Coille in the seven-furlong fillies' handicap at 7.30.

A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of Strathnaver – another I used to train – she has looked increasingly like a fast ground filly in recent starts. Her dam handled rattling fast ground in the States and Oisin Murphy advised us after a good third at Chepstow last time out that quick ground was key. So, rain softened ground is not ideal, but we have gradually stepped her back in trip, so the stamina emphasis that this seven-furlong test will likely provide should be no issue. She is near the head of the market in a six runner race, so we might well let her take her chance, but the ground is a lingering doubt.

In the 8.30 we run Annexation, and he probably represents our best chance of the day. He showed promise in three novices at six-furlongs earlier this year, earning a mark of 64 for his troubles. We stepped him up to seven-furlongs on handicap debut at Ayr on Monday, and a slightly sluggish start to the race and a bit of traffic trouble resulted in a staying on third, looking a tad unlucky. So we go to the well again quickly, and he seemed fine on good to soft the other day, so here is hoping that the rain softened ground won’t bother him. We hope there is a little bit of wiggle room from his rating, so it will be disappointing if he is not competitive.

Enjoy the sport today,


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