Barbury could not have made a better start to July

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July 4

We have enjoyed a terrific start to July, and only a nose prevented us from celebrating three winners with our first three runners of the month on Tuesday.

Zodiac Star, who had shown promise as a two-year-old, had a disappointing second season, but he made it third time lucky over hurdles when breaking his maiden at Stratford. This will have done his confidence the world of good, so, hopefully, Zodiac Star can build on this first success.

On Se Calme was an encouraging fourth at Uttoxeter after seven months off, so we hoped for better at Stratford, and she did not let us down, digging deep from the final flight to hold on bravely.

Sandwiched between those victories, Smart Charger only just failed to peg back all-the-way winner Fictional in the two-mile handicap on Lingfield’s polytrack surface.

Here’s hoping Outgun, our only runner today, can continue the good work in the 10-furlong handicap at Newbury today. He remains a maiden after 11 attempts, but he has run well at Wolverhampton, Chelmsford and Goodwood and is to the forefront in the early bettung.

We have four confirmed entries on Friday, including Trueshan, who was denied a run in the Ascot Gold Cup for a fourth time at last month’s Royal meeting when the ground was again too fast.

However, Trueshan’s participation in the Listed Coral Marathon at Sandown will doubtless again be determined by the weather. The official going on the Esher slopes remains good to firm, but up to half an inch of rain is expected in the south on Friday, and Alan has fingers and toes crossed that it arrives early doors.