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

The major Spring Festivals are over for another year. A Cheltenham winner, places at Liverpool and another excellent run from Vieux Lion Rouge in the Grand National itself means that the Pond House team was once again well represented at the top table. I am pleased to report that all of our runners returned safe and sound and would like to congratulate Aintree on another excellent meeting.

The week leading up to the big one started in good fashion with a pleasing hurdling debut from Juste Pour Nous when third at Kempton on Monday. A reasonable acquisition from the flat, he looks as though he will have little trouble opening his account over timber before too long and will be kept on the go during the summer.

On Wednesday Mr Big Shot (pictured above) enhanced his growing reputation with a smooth success in the novices’ hurdle at Carlisle. Tanking through the race and taking command at the third last he easily came clear under Tom Scudamore to score a bloodless success. He won as his odds of 1/8 would suggest he should and he didn’t need to improve on his debut success at Wetherby to land this. Even so, he was visibly more professional this time around and his previous experience clearly was not lost on him. He will continue to improve with experience and looking at his pedigree he will stay considerably further in time. Furthermore, with the physique of a chaser, he really is one to look forward to for the future.

Onto Aintree and we sent a small but select team to Merseyside for the Grand National fixture. We had no runners on the Thursday, while on Friday Father Edward ran a respectable race in the Topham over the Grand National fences under David Noonan. Considering he was hampered at the first two fences, a never nearer ninth was far from a bad effort.

On the same card Moon Racer dropped back to novices’ company following his run in the Champion Hurdle and he once again disappointed. His earlier form where he twice mastered subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Ballyandy is rock solid and he is clearly better than he has been able to show of late. He is now out of training and will enjoy a nice summer’s break. I still have the utmost faith that he will be able to confirm the regard in which we hold him.

Starchitect ran a solid race in defeat in the Listed 3m1f handicap chase on the Saturday, but having travelled well throughout the contest he tired in the closing stages and looks as though he did not quite get home. He was far from disgraced in third and richly deserves to win another nice contest.

In the Grand National I was hopeful that Vieux Lion Rouge was my best chance of success since Comply Or Die won for the stable in 2008. He once again ran a tremendous race, holding every chance at the second last, although he was unable to go on with the principals from that point. He would probably have appreciated slightly softer conditions under foot, but there are plenty of nice prizes still to be won with him, although those may be over a slightly shorter trip. He is none the worse for the experience, although he will also now have a well-earned holiday over the summer months.

Meanwhile, Ballynagour and La Vaticane both jumped round nicely finishing 11th and 15th respectively, although they certainly found this 4m2½f trip further than ideal. Doctor Harper didn’t seem to enjoy the experience very much and was eventually pulled up by Conor O’Farrell at the penultimate fence. As I alluded to earlier, I am pleased to report that all of our Aintree runners have returned safe and sound.

I would like to offer my congratulations to Lucinda Russell, Peter Scu (who must have been watching with mixed emotions given Tom’s chance aboard Vieux Lion Rouge) and jockey Derek Fox on the fantastic success Grand National success of One For Arthur. Meanwhile, I would also like to thank my old friend Gino who once again put Chester and me up for the duration of the meeting. We had a great time and were looked after wonderfully by Gino’s long suffering wife Jeanette – thank you so much! Gino’s horse Blaklion also ran a fantastic race in the National to finish fourth.

Looking to this week, with the emerging prominence of the flat fixtures and many of our jumpers about to embark on their holidays we will not be having as many runners. Poisoned Berry represents the stable at Exeter tomorrow (Tuesday). There is a good card at Haydock at the weekend with the finals of the challenger series at Haydock on Saturday and I am sure we will have some runners there, although probably little in between. As always, all the latest news on stable runners can be found in Chester’s Daily Chat or by following us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

Finally, it seems that the help around the stable keeps getting younger and younger! Below you will see pictured young Imogen and Scarlett who were busy at the weekend kindly picking dandelions for the horses. The horses love them and are an excellent addition to a horse's diet. High in vitamins A, B, C and D and rich in potassium, sodium, calcium and other minerals, dandelion functions as a tonic by stimulating liver function, bile production, and kidney function. Not a lot of people know that!...

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