Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

It seems a little ironic that with many of the horses back in from grass; the summer break is now upon us. Still, I am sure you know my views on that subject by now so I will not harp on about it! Despite the lack of action on the track, there is still plenty of work going on behind the scenes as we bid to ensure that the horses are at their peak once the ‘core’ season gets underway once again.

We were in action at Worcester last week with six runners at the fixture and we were a little unlucky not to come away with a winner…such have been the frustrations of this summer. Magie du Ma improved on her fences debut when finishing fourth in the beginners’ chase - a bad mistake at the last while in second place costing her momentum and two positions on the run-in. Her best form in France was on very soft ground and while not inconvenienced by this quicker surface, she would in all likelihood prefer a little more cut.

Gabrial The Great was arguably a little unlucky not to land the two mile handicap chase on the same card. Taking up the running at the last he looked the likeliest winner until hanging left and colliding with the running rail half way up the run-in. With twenty lengths back to the third home he is sure to face a rise in the weights, although he is something of a known quantity so it is to be hoped that the handicapper does not react too severely. He will be out again in something similar when jump racing resumes.

Some of you may have seen an exciting recruit that I currently have a 50% share available in. He is a three year old gelding by the great Robin des Champs (sire of Vautour, Sire des Champs, and our dual Cheltenham Festival hero Un Temps Pour Tout to name but a few). Furthermore, he is a son of our great race mare Gaspara, who was my first Cheltenham Festival winner (and also the last horse to complete the Imperial Cup, Cheltenham Festival double) which makes him a half-brother to prolific Pond House winners Mr Thriller and The Tracey Shuffle. He looks the part on paper and has pleased in everything he has done so far. Further details can be found on my horses for sale page, so please do get in touch if you have any interest in this fascinating prospect.

I was watching Countryfile on BBC 1 last night and was fascinated by the short piece about Knight Scientific, a Plymouth based firm who we are currently working in conjunction with. The piece was all about using nature to help with their studies, which is of course where all ancient remedies are derived. We have always used homeopathic remedies such as Arnica which is fantastic if a horse falls at the races and may have bruising. Even the jockeys use it as it helps to bring out the bruising much quicker. We also use certain salts to help the horses if they have spots or allergies, while dandelions are a favourite remedy of my father’s. Only yesterday he was out picking more to feed to certain horses – he still likes to help (or interfere!) where he can.

Pond House is a magnet for wildlife and I am sure you have seen the pictures of deer and stags that we have posted in the past, although we had a much more unusual visitor over the weekend. Sat on the handrail of the bridge above the pond at the yard was a Kingfisher. I thought that these birds were usually seen near moving water, although this one clearly preferred the easier pickings of our pond! Many thanks to Simon Crockett for the beautiful picture.

With a few blank days away from the racing I thought it would be a bit different to head to London today to take in the World Athletics Championships. I am thoroughly looking forward to it, although I would have loved to have seen Ussain Bolt in action. What a pity he was unable to sign off his individual career with a victory on Saturday, but what an incredible ambassador he has been. I doubt very much whether we will see his like again for a very long time.

Anyway, by next week we will be nearing the end of our summer sabbatical and I will look forward to bringing you some news of forthcoming entries. In the meantime, for all the latest from Pond House do keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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