NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sat Oct 21
Ffos Las, Market Rasen, Stratford
Sat Oct 21
Perth
Sun Oct 22
Perth

Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

Ascot were blessed with some glorious weather last week for their Royal meeting and while the warm, dry conditions were good for the racegoers, it did mean that prevailing ground conditions were very quick on course. I say conditions were good for racegoers, although I was somewhat surprised the dress code was not relaxed a little on the first day when temperatures hit 33°c. Unsurprisingly we were very quiet with just three runners, including one at flat racing’s centrepiece.

There were some cracking performances at Royal Ascot and I was privileged to witness the successes of Ribchester, Barney Roy and the amazing American filly Lady Aurelia. Our runner on the first day was Iniciar who shouldered top weight in the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f. Unfortunately having raced very freely in front he had built up a commanding lead by half way and had little chance of getting home at that pace. Dougie Costello wisely let him come home in his own time once his chance had gone – he is clearly better than this and a return to hurdles is now on the agenda for him. He is a quirky horse but he possesses plenty of ability and hopefully he will show the same zest and enthusiasm when faced with several flights of hurdles!

Looking to this week it is likely to be more of the same with only a handful of meetings, while we will be waiting on some rain before most of our runners will be back on the track. Having said that, Nice Thoughts will participate in the lady amateur’s handicap hurdle at Newton Abbot tomorrow – he has some decent form on the flat and over timber and is one who should not be in the slightest bit inconvenienced by a lively surface. He will be partnered by Vicky Wade who has been riding out at Pond House since last season and has enjoyed plenty of success ‘between the flags’ in the point-to-point field.

Tobacco Road takes to the all-weather on Wednesday when he contests the 1m3f handicap at Kempton under Tom Marquand. He acquitted himself nicely on the polytrack at Chelmsford on his penultimate start when finishing a close second and hopefully he should go well once again from only a 1lb higher mark.

Also on Wednesday, Tis What It Is and Kalifourchon hold engagements at Worcester on Wednesday, while Worcester winner Three Star General is entered in the 2m6f handicap at Cartmel on Friday. Purple ‘N Gold, another recent winner has an entry there as well as a choice of races over hurdles and fences at Uttoxeter.

Talking of Purple ‘N Gold, I have to take issue with the handicappers following his recent success at Fontwell. Whilst understanding that any winner is likely to take a hike in the ratings for a victory (and I do not think that his 3lbs rise was in any way unfair), I was very surprised and somewhat disappointed to see that his hurdle mark was also reassessed last week. Purple ‘N Gold must be one of the most exposed horses in training after almost 50 starts in hurdles and chases. I agree that some horses with progressive profiles under both codes may need both ratings reassessing, although I feel that is hardly the case in this instance.

I had a great time at the weekend when I was a part of the Gerry Supple stag weekend that descended upon Cardiff. Among those also accompanying the condemned man (pictured above right) were trainers David Dennis and Henry Oliver as well as former jockey Liam Corcoran and the usual suspects from Pond House including Ashley Farrant and travelling head lad Craig Wylie. The hens by the way were on the town in Exeter and I am sure they were far worse behaved than us!

I have photographic evidence that my father was also having a little drink whilst I was away at the weekend and he chose to share his Pimms with one particularly interested bystander, Navanman. I don’t know if you can run on Pimms, although MCP sometimes struggles to walk!

As usual, for all the latest news from the stable you can visit Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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