Roger – over and out with a quick review of the weekend’s racing…..

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Roger Charlton – improved Captain Cat out of all recognition

As we head toward the turning point of the racing year, when the jumpers start to be awoken from their summer holidays and the flat racing speedsters head in to hibernation, punters are sensibly taking even more care than usual about when -or even if – they have a punt.  This Saturday gone saw exactly the issue we are all aware of, with Good To Firm ground at Ascot (when we all expected plenty of rain), Good going at Haydock (ditto), and softer going at Thirsk (expected to stay dry) – why do I even listen to a weather forecast? Excuses out of the way (I had spent hours making my punting plans based on the wrong going), we did see some decent enough performances from both old stagers and improving youngsters with Captain Cat my own personal favourite (money talks!). Trained by Roger Charlton , he has improved out of all recognition this season (officially from a rating of 97 on the 25th of January when he ran in a Lingfield handicap, through to 115 yesterday, and likely to go higher), which is certainly testament to the ability of his handler – though how you can squeeze an extra stone plus out of a pretty well exposed five year old gelding is beyond me, though either way, I won’t be opposing him lightly if he heads to Newmarket as expected for the Joel Stakes later in the month.

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Frankie Dettori – a good winner Saturday, lost the ride on Treve on Monday!

The other horse that made me sit up and take note was the Frankie Dettori  ridden Mutassayid, who won the Ascot maiden with a bit in hand, staying on strongly at the death over the seven furlong trip. I rather doubt he turns out to be a world-beater, but he ought to add to this victory if sensibly campaigned for the rest of this season and possibly next., though all the big autumn Group race s are sure to be fiercely contested and I am not sure he is up to that standard just yet?

Lastly for this week, I suspect that you all noticed the decent form of the William Haggas yard of late, a position I expect to become permanent over the months and years ahead. Far shrewder than some give him credit for, and with an amazing team behind him (including and headed by wife Maureen), he is being sent better horses year on year and coping with them admirably – a future champion trainer in my book, though no one is offering me odds on that particular outcome just yet, Following his horses for the remainder of the flat season should prove pretty profitable, a remark that may also apply to Mark Johnston when he sends his horses down to Wolverhampton from his Yorkshire base. When I was last at the yard he had a Tapeta gallop among others, which may well give him a bit of an advantage on the new and pretty much untested Wolverhampton surface, though I can only say I wish I had worked that out BEFORE Hunting Ground scored on Saturday night at the rewarding odds of 16/1 (BSP 19.5)!

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