NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Wed Apr 26
Exeter, Perth
Thu Apr 27
Market Rasen, Perth, Taunton
Fri Apr 28
Chepstow, Huntingdon, Perth

Entries & Recent Form

With Aintree week now upon us I am pleased to report that the stable is in good form heading into the Grand National. Three winners last week took our tally onto 58 for the season while there were other good performances from stable runners not to mention the jockeys; notably David Noonan who rode out his claim when successful aboard Mr Clarkson at Sedgefield on Wednesday (pictured above).

With no runners during the early part of last week it was down to Mr Clarkson to get the ball rolling at Sedgefield on Wednesday and it was a memorable day for plenty of reasons with our gelding obliging in the feature race in his trademark gutsy fashion. Several members of the Pipe’s Prospectors syndicate who own the horse made the long journey north to see his win and Sedgefield were marvellous, putting on a hospitality suite for them to enjoy. It was a landmark victory for his young rider David Noonan who was recording his 75th victory, meaning that he is now a fully-fledged pro and no longer able to claim an allowance. David is a very accomplished rider as well as a very professional and courteous young man – the next few months will be very important for him as he tries to consolidate his position by winning without his claim. I offer my warmest congratulations on a job well done so far and wish him continued good luck for the future…

David was also aboard Abracadabra Sivola who he gave a lovely, well-judged ride to land the staying handicap chase at Taunton on Thursday. The outsider of four, he took the initiative by making the running, setting sensible fractions and saving enough to repel his rivals in the straight. Abracadabra is not the easiest horse to predict but this was his third success since joining the Pond House team and he is proving largely progressive over these marathon trips.

It was good to see Dell’ Arca bounce back to form on Sunday in the boys’ race at Ascot. He has contested countless top handicaps since his arrival on these shores and run some fantastic races, notably when winning the Greatwood Hurdle, finishing placed in the Irish Champion Hurdle and beaten only 3 lengths in a Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, not to mention cracking performances behind the likes of More Of That and former Gold Cup winner Coneygree over fences. This was certainly a welcome success and due reward for his efforts.

Meanwhile, there were good efforts from Monetaire who was coming back from a long absence to run a creditable third at Stratford on Saturday and Three Star General who shaped very nicely on his first start over timber in the maiden hurdle at Ascot on Sunday. If able to build on these efforts, both should be winning races before too long.

The final confirmation stage took place for the Grand National this morning and we left all of our entries in. With nine defections from the race at this stage we are now guaranteed three runners with Vieux Lion Rouge (pictured left, after his Becher success) and Ballynagour now joined in the final 40 by La Vaticane, while Doctor Harper is number 41 on the revised list. I have been pleased with all of their preparations to date and I am excited to be heading into the Aintree centrepiece with some good prospects.

We will not have many runners at Aintree, but what we lack in quantity we make up for with quality. We do not have any runners at Aintree on Friday but Moon Racer is an intended runner in the Grade One novices’ hurdle on Friday, while Starchitect is a likely participant in the three mile handicap chasae on the Grand National’s supporting card on Saturday. With ante-post favourite Vieux Lion Rouge among our big race representatives we look to have some strong chances. I will be keeping fingers firmly crossed that all runners and riders return safe and sound.

Talking of Aintree, mares' sponsors OLBG have been in touch and are supporting the Injured Jockeys' Fund by offering charity bets on the Grand National.  My pick for OLBG’s Grand National charity bet is Vieux Lion Rouge, winnings to be donated to IJF.  OLBG’s Grand National experts have picked the winner in 3 out of the last 6 years, see who they are tipping this year.

Finally, I was greatly saddened to learn of the passing of 57 year old amateur rider James McNeile who died following a fall while contesting a point-to-point at Larkhill on Saturday. I did not know James personally but the racing community is a tight knit one and his loss will be felt throughout the industry. My thoughts and best wishes are with his friends and family at this terribly sad time.