Hugo provides his weekly update from Kremlin Cottage Stables including news of Oaks contender Architecture and the exciting Frankel colt Majoris...
"I imagine the eyes of the world will be on Frankel colt Majoris if he takes chance at Haydock on Friday. Mind you, I don't know what the going will be, and nor does anyone else it seems. Haydock are forecasting another wet week but Chester, just down the road the last time I looked at a map, is predicting a settled one!"
Galileo Gold was obviously the main story for us last week, but we had a pretty busy time of it elsewhere.
Banish is the first horse that Highclere sent me, so it was good to get a winner on the board for them with him at Lingfield last week. He is progressing, and it will be handicaps for him now.
You can put a line through Air Of Astana's run at Newcastle last week, as he was crashed into from behind, cut his leg, ripped a hind-shoe off and ran far too keen as a result and didn't finish off his race.
At the same meeting, Wall Of Fire is a miler at the very least, so it obviously didn't help that he appears to have raced over 7f and 20 centimetres, and not the advertised 7f and 69 yards!
But we needed to get a run into him, with the Britannia in mind, and at least we achieved that aim. And he was only beaten four-and-a-half lengths.
Gimlet found the ground too fast at Wetherby, and that was my concern before the race. We will look to find good, or easier, ground for him, or perhaps a return to the all-weather.
Afandem's third at Goodwood shows how hard it is to win these novice races under a penalty, but he still ran well giving away 6lb, which equates to more than the two lengths that he was beaten.
It appears that not many horses are winning these novice races under penalties, so in hindsight I should have maybe kept Marc Monaghan on and claimed off him. It was a good run all the same, though.
Bithynia is a typical Kodiac, very speedy, and she ran well to finish third in what was probably a good race on her debut at Sandown. She wobbled a bit late on, possibly getting a bit tired, but it was a promising first effort.
Evergate finds everything very easy at home, so he was green and found it all a bit new when he came under pressure on his debut at Newmarket. He found it a bit of a shock, in fact, but I expect him to come on an absolute ton for the race.
Twitch ran well for a long way in the 1m6f listed race against the boys at York and I am not entirely sure that she stayed the trip, in that company at least.
We will keep trying to win a listed race with her, probably against her own sex and ideally over 1m4f on easy ground. In fact, I am considering the Munster Oaks at Cork for her on June 12.
Walpole was the only real disappointment last week. He came there to win his race at York and flattened out. He is a very big, immature horse, so perhaps it came a little too quickly after Windsor.
I know 19 days between races seems adequate, but each horse is different and he has come back a bit quiet, too. I imagine the New York race on the Belmont undercard is off the agenda now though, as it's hard to justify to getting on a plane with a horse just beaten five lengths off a mark of 82.
Aventinus was our other York runner, and he ran well to finish fourth on his debut in what I suspect is a hot race. He was given a nice introduction by Marc Monaghan.
This Week's Runners...
We have a big day on Saturday, but Sacred Trust is our first runner of the week at Leicester today.
These 0-85 handicaps, and above, are very competitive and hard to win at this time of the year, but my horse should be suited by the step up in trip and I don't think a mark of 78 is unfair.
However, it is not a case of how well you are handicapped as such, more a case of how well you are treated in relation to the others.
Kodiac Khan is speedy and sharp with a good attitude, and hopefully he will go well if he takes his chance in the novice at Chelmsford on Thursday.
The National Stakes at Sandown looks a particularly hot race at this stage, even if there may not be a lot of runners on the day. But Copper Knight deserves his place in the line-up, and James Doyle said he thought the horse would be better in a better race after he won the Lily Agnes on him at Chester, so he could get a decent tow into his race.
He certainly looks set to get that here, with the likes of Global Applause and Mehmas, and whatever Mark Johnston decides to run, in the race.
Incidentally, on the subject of the draw, I got to Sandown early last week and had the chance to walk the sprint track and speak to Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course.
He said at this time of the year he thought that there was much less of a bias on the sprint track, and in his opinion it only became more marked once the ground became more compacted through the season, when a "golden highway" may develop.
Marshall Aid probably won't run at Newcastle on Thursday, but I imagine the eyes of the world will be on Frankel colt Majoris if he takes chance at Haydock on Friday.
Mind you, I don't know what the going will be, and nor does anyone else it seems. Haydock are forecasting another wet week but Chester, just down the road the last time I looked at a map, is predicting a settled one!
Majoris has been working with Evergate and I think he is 7f horse really - there is plenty of stamina on the dam side - but all being well he will make his debut in the 6f novice.
Corked is also in at Haydock. She didn't like the ground at Salisbury last time, where I think the trip may have also stretched her, too.
It's a big day for us on Saturday. I will be entering Gifted Master in the Sandy Lane over 6f at Haydock - he is not ground-dependent - and Home Of The Brave in the Timeform Jury, or the old Jaunt Of Gaunt Stakes as you and I may know it, over 7f.
I want to run Home Of The Brave on a sound surface when he races over 1m again, so hopefully the ground won't be too bad for him at the weekend over a furlong shorter.
Architecture Epsom-bound this week
We will be taking Architecture to the Breakfast With The Stars at Epsom on Tuesday morning.
Our Lingfield Oaks Trial runner-up is the shortest-priced of the British-trained fillies left in the big race, and Frankie will ride her in the Classic, and tomorrow morning as well.
And, to be honest with you, I will take a lot of advice from Frankie as to what we do tomorrow. He knows the track pretty well, having won a few Classics around there.
Architecture is a light-framed filly who has had a run so we won't be doing too much with her. I imagine that she will go a mile, and nearly get into top gear rounding Tattenham Corner and into the straight for a couple of furlongs.
Epsom is a unique test of a horse, so I don't want it to be a shock to her next month, She can be a bit silly at home but is very sensible at the races, and this will be good, further experience for her.
I have always been of the opinion that Minding was possibly a non-stayer in the Oaks, but I suppose the race has opened up more after her defeat on Sunday, even if things didn't go her way and she probably ran a remarkable race in the circumstances, finishing 10 lengths clear of the third.
Finally, our Prix Saint-Alary third Hawksmoor is set to go the German 1,000 Guineas on June 5.