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THIS WEEK The horses are continuing to run well with plenty finishing in the placings among a flurry of nail bitingly close seconds.  So we're certainly knocking on the door.  Another big day has arrived for us tomorrow as we send out a runner in a Grade 2 with a live chance.  And as Cheltenham beckons it looks like we may have 3 strong contenders to go to war with, an unbelievably exciting position to be in for a small yard on the up... IMG_8724 REPORTS Spirit of Rome finished 4th at Catterick last Friday.  She shaped well for much of the contest under a positive ride by Harry Bannister and she jumped and travelled very well.  She looked the winner coming to 2 out, but she then sadly weakened in the straight to finish 4th.  She has had 3 fairly quick runs so we will now give her 4/5 weeks before stepping into handicap company next. Blue Valentine finished 5th at Wetherby on Saturday.  She was ridden patiently on this first start after her wind op and although she never looked entirely happy with the ground, she still jumped very well.  The race didn’t really start to take shape until the field entered the straight and coming to 3 out she was still right in the mix.  When the leaders quickened she couldn’t go with them and could only plug on up the straight to finish 5th.  We will look for some better ground for her next time round. Simply The Betts produced a career best to finish 2nd in the Supreme Novices trial at Musselburgh on Sunday.  He was ridden patiently by jockey Sean Bowen and he relaxed nicely in the early part of the race.  They got racing turning in and although he did jump a bit left coming up the straight, he came to the last with every chance.  He made a mistake at the final obstacle, but when Sean got after him he took off and closed all the way to the line to go down by a neck.  This was a much more polished performance and there’s more to come from him.  His next start will be in the Supreme Novices at the Cheltenham Festival. IMG_2860 Ruby Yeats produced a good performance to finish 2nd on her chasing debut at Taunton on Sunday.  She jumped tidily but carefully throughout the contest and did race in snatches.  They went a good gallop and as the field started to thin out down the back straight Ruby emerged as a danger to the leaders Vocaliser and Born to Size.  She still had every chance coming to the last but made a mistake and lost valuable lengths.  She came flying home and closed all the way to the line to go down by just half a length.  This was a decent debut over fences and she should be much sharper for the experience. IMG_2846 Bridge of Cally produced his best performance to date, to finish 3rd at Southwell on Monday.  He again jumped well and travelled powerfully from the front.  Harry wound the pace up down the far side and this strung the field out.  When he came off the bridle turning in he found more for pressure than previously and stayed on well up the straight.  He did make a mistake at the last and this probably cost him 2nd.  He is a horse that’s strengthening nicely and improving mentally with every run.  He is eligible for handicaps now. Hoke Colburn finished 6th at Huntingdon yesterday.  He travelled and jumped very well throughout the contest and turning out on the final circuit he was going as well as anything.  The pace lifted heading towards the cross hurdle and Hoke struggled to pick up.  He stuck at it but struggled to go with the leaders, eventually plugging on for 6th.  It was his first try on testing ground and he didn’t enjoy it.  He will be much more at home on better ground in the spring, we feel there’s a lot more to come from him. ENTRIES Saint Calvados is set to step up to Grade 2 company at Warwick tomorrow.  He has been very impressive on both his chase starts so far and but this will be his stiffest task to date.  North Hill Harvey will provide tough opposition however Saint Calvados receives 7lbs from him which can only help.  He is in great form at home and hopefully he can take this in on his way to a tilt at the Arkle. saint jan 19 The Dubai Way is set to make his handicap debut on the same card at Warwick tomorrow.  He is 3 from 3 this season and has improved with every start. 2 miles may be a bit sharp for him around this track, but he’s an improving horse who should continue to progress.  He is likely to step up in trip after this. Tierra Verde is set to make her 2nd hurdles start at either Plumpton or Lingfield this coming week.  She was very green on her debut over obstacles, so we will ride her more patiently to help her get into a rhythm this time round.  Hopefully she can produce an improved performance. Tangoed missed all of last weeks options as the ground wasn’t suitable.  In a search for better ground we have made an entry at Musselburgh on Wednesday.  It is a sharp track which normally produces better ground.  She is in great form at home and starts life off 94 in handicaps, which should be workable. Perfect Myth is set to have her 2nd bumper start in the next week or so and the first suitable entry for her is at Musselburgh on Wednesday.  She ran well despite being green on debut at Wetherby and that form has worked out nicely with the 3rd winning a bumper since.  She is in great form at home and should be very competitive wherever she goes.  If she doesn’t take up this engagement she has some other options further down the line. Until next week...