NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Fri Mar 23
Chepstow, Haydock
Fri Mar 23
Newbury, Sedgefield
Sat Mar 24
Chepstow, Haydock

The Grand National 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

Last week was a good one for the stable with winners at Newbury and Chepstow taking our seasonal tally to 21. Those scorers; Friday Night Light and Ramses de Teillee are promising young horses who look to have bright futures over hurdles and fences respectively and I am looking forward to many more big days with them.

It was good to see Friday Night Light build on the promise of his first two efforts over timber when a gallant winner on his handicap debut at Newbury on Wednesday. David Noonan had our progressive gelding handy throughout and disputing things turning in, he battled on bravely to get the better of a protracted battle with the well-treated runner-up close home, the pair of them clear of the third. He was a good horse on the flat in France, he has an excellent attitude and he jumps well for one so inexperienced over timber. He looks sure to stay a bit further in time and is a lovely young horse to have in the stable.

Ramses de Teillee (pictured right) was our other scorer last week when running out a facile winner of the novices’ chase at Chepstow on Friday. Already a course and distance winner, the 2m7½f trip at Chepstow clearly suits our grey son of Martaline well. Despite the small field, this looked to be a decent contest on paper and he put up a most taking performance to readily come clear of his rivals after the third last whilst conceding weight all round. He is due to go up 11lbs to a mark of 148 in future handicaps so life is going to get tougher.

I thought that It’s Obvious ran a promising race at Market Rasen on Wednesday when finishing fourth in the 2m7f handicap hurdle on his first start outside of novices’ contests. This represented a marked step-up in trip and I thought that he acquitted himself well under the testing conditions and his big weight. He should not be long in winning judged on this sound effort.

I was a little disappointed by the run of Rathlin Rose in the Somerset National at Wincanton on Thursday following his excellent effort in the Welsh National previously. He was never really travelling and is obviously better than this performance. It is entirely possible that this just came too soon after his Chepstow exploits and we may now have a look at the military races that he won so memorably at Sandown last year under Guy Disney.

Looking to this week and unfortunately Lingfield fell to the elements today where we would have had runners, but we will be at Leicester and Wetherby tomorrow with Delface and Miss Tynte respectively. Delface has yet to build on his Ffos Las debut success but he has travelled notably well through his races of late and hopefully this step-back in trip will see an improvement. Hopefully Wetherby will get the green light where we have Miss Tynte in the novices’ hurdle. She was an unfortunate faller last time out at Plumpton, but had previously shaped with promise when fourth at Taunton. She is a lovely mare and in receipt of weight all round, I hope that she can atone for that mishap.

Further ahead, The Draconian is an intended runner in the 2m1f handicap hurdle at Exeter on Wednesday, while Taj Badalandabad is likely to run in the Pertemps qualifier at Huntingdon on Friday. He run an encouraging race first time back from a lay-off at Cheltenham in December but failed to build on that next time. Conditions should suit and hopefully he can take a step back in the right direction.

With relatively few entries this weekend, I may venture to the local point-to-point track at Chipley Park, just outside of Wellington on Sunday. It is a fixture that I always enjoy and try to get along to if possible. You can normally find one or two members of the Pond House team propping up the bar in the beer tent! As for me, I am becoming more of a fair-weather point-to-point racegoer as I get older, so I will be hoping for a bit of sunshine before deciding whether to venture out!

Finally, I am saddened to announce that we have retired Broadway Buffalo (pictured below), who for many years has been a stalwart of the yard. He has been with us since I picked him up for just £12,000 at the sales as an unraced three year old in 2011 – what a bargain he was! He went on to win his first five starts in bumpers and hurdles, but was also successful in the 2014 Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock and finished runner-up in the Haydock Grand National Trial in 2016, while he was also a close second in the 4 miler at the Cheltenham Festival in 2015. He was sidelined by a leg injury after his Haydock effort – an injury which has sadly re-occurred now. He will be given the time he needs to recover from that and will enjoy the long and happy retirement that he deserves.

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