Cheltenham Festival 2018

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It was another quiet week on the racing front with just a handful of runners and it looks like being a case of more of the same during the week ahead. It is a good job we have the politicians to keep us entertained while there is a dearth of National Hunt fixtures! Don’t worry though, enough has already been said about the General Election without me adding to it.

While the politicians are just returning from their holidays following the dissolution of Parliament many of our horses remain out at grass on their summer breaks. With the weather set fair according to the Met Office it sounds as though they will be enjoying a little more sun on their backs this week. As you can see from the picture above of youngsters Just Midas, Great Tempo and Tigger Too they love being together. They have large paddocks in which to do as they please, yet they are content to herd together in a small sociable group taking things easy – the term ‘laid back’ could have been made for this image!

Some horses go home to be with their owners during the summer, while others including the likes of Champers On Ice (pictured right) remain with us at Pond House. As you can see, they are looking a million dollars and benefitting greatly from a bit of grass and sunshine.

Of course, there are also some horses with a penchant for quicker ground so they will continue to be campaigned during the summer months and take a break later in the year. Those include Work who is an intended runner on the all-weather at Kempton on Wednesday – twice a winner over this sort of trip at Chelmsford, she ran a decent race when a close fourth at Chepstow on her last start on the flat. She looks feasibly weighted and will be partnered by Pat Dobbs.

Meanwhile, Three Star General could take in the Worcester maiden hurdle a little earlier in the day. He had some fair form on the level in Ireland and already looks as though he will make a better hurdler following placed efforts at Ascot and Ffos Las (not to mention his great success in the charity flat race at Cheltenham).

The beautifully bred Prospera Pascha is an intended runner at Uttoxeter on Thursday evening where she could contest the 2m7½f mares’ handicap hurdle. She seems to be improving with experience over timber and this step up in trip could also bring about a bit of improvement. High class flat performer Celestial Path could join her as he is engaged in the novices’ hurdle (although he has alternative engagements) and he will certainly appreciate any drying in the ground.

Delface could bid to follow-up his recent success for the stable as he has a number of engagements at Aintree and Newton Abbot on Friday, while we could send a lorry up north on Saturday as we have a few entries at Hexham on Saturday.

A little further ahead, I am looking forward to the Royal Ascot meeting which gets underway a week on Tuesday. I will have to dust the topper off as I intend to go up for my annual Tuesday visit. It is a great event and we may well have a runner or two over the course of the week. I will always remember what a thrill it was to have a winner at the Royal meeting when Junior landed the Ascot Stakes in 2010.

Talking of the flat, I was delighted to see jockey George Baker return to a racecourse when making a visit to Goodwood yesterday (Sunday). Although any prospect of him riding again is still a very long way off, it is good to see him progressing after he took a horror fall at St Moritz in February which left him with a bleed on the brain. George rode Starchitect to victory for us at Salisbury last year and we wish him all the very best for the future with whatever he decides to do.

As usual, for all the latest on our runners and news from Pond House don’t forget to keep in touch with Chester’s Daily Chat our follow us on Twitter@DavidPipeRacing.

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