NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Thu Aug 24
Fontwell, Stratford
Sat Aug 26
Cartmel
Mon Aug 28
Cartmel

Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

With the summer months well and truly upon us, it comes as no surprise that National Hunt racing (quite rightly) very much takes second fiddle to the flat. Even so (and I have said it time and again) the programme book gets decidedly patchy now with only a few jumps meetings scattered here and there before we get a week off in August. Indeed, this week there are fixtures at Worcester today, Uttoxeter tomorrow and then nothing until Sunday when there are no fewer than three jumps meetings…what is the idea of that?!

The break of just over a week in August is of little benefit – it is not really long enough to give the jockeys, trainers or stable staff a proper break, while it makes the summer calendar very ‘stop-start’ and disjointed for the horses. Years ago there was a break of a month or more at the end of the season – not only did this give everyone involved in the sport a meaningful rest, it also clearly defined the beginning and end of the seasons, something that just seems to merge into one nowadays.

With the dearth of National Hunt fixtures, it is likely to be another quiet week for the Pond House team – we have two runners this afternoon (Monday) at Worcester with recent course and distance winner Three Star General and Chic Theatre representing the yard.

Lady Of Longstone (pictured above) contests the 2m4f mares’ handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter on Tuesday where she will be partnered by regular rider Michael Heard. She is well-treated on the best of her form (which included success in the final of the mares’ challenger series) and ran a more encouraging race last time. Even so, she will need to improve on her efforts so far this term.

We have a couple of flat entries in the intervening days before the weekend with Vincent’s Forever returning to the level at Kempton on Wednesday where he will be partnered by Adam Kirby, while Tobacco Road could go to Newbury on Thursday before embarking on a short late-summer break.

At the weekend Father Edward has a choice of engagements at Perth and Stratford, while Juste Pour Nous and Chic Theatre have entries at Southwell. As usual, for all the latest news on the stable runners keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

There were only three runners from the stable last week with Celestial Path finishing a creditable third in a fair novices’ hurdle at Worcester on Wednesday. A good horse on the flat, he has taken a while to get to grips with hurdling but this effort should qualify him for a handicap mark and that is where his future lies.

Kalifourchon ran a very good race in defeat at Market Rasen on Sunday, finishing runner-up in the conditional jockeys’ hurdle. He has traditionally gone well fresh and that was very much evident here. Hopefully, he will be able to go one better before too long. Meanwhile on the same card Magie du Ma also finished second on her chasing debut – a good juvenile hurdler in France, she was a little disappointing on her most recent starts over hurdles. She seemed to see her race out slightly better yesterday and she should be capable of winning something similar in due course.

Such is the competitive nature of the sport these days that there are no ‘easy’ races - even the summer fixtures are very difficult to win. Although we are experiencing a somewhat frustrating run of places, it is encouraging that the horses continue to perform creditably and I am sure that the winners will follow.

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