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

I was pleased to be on the scoreboard again last week following the success of promising former Irish recruit Remastered in the bumper at Chepstow on Friday. The countdown to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival continues apace and with five weeks remaining until jump racing’s blue riband it is good to keep the tally ticking over.

We obtained Remastered recently having shown decent form in bumpers in Ireland against some very useful opposition and this fine chestnut son of Network did not disappoint on his stable debut. Making all the running on his first start for the yard, he kept pulling out more in the straight under Tom Scudamore, running out a comfortable winner from a useful yardstick in previous winner Kateson.

There are no fancy plans for him at present – he will not contest the Champion bumpers at Cheltenham, Aintree or Punchestown. He looks to be a fine prospect for owners Brocade Racing for hurdles and eventually fences and he will probably be given a nice break now before being sent novice hurdling next term.

Also last week, I thought that Friday Night Light ran well at Taunton in the competitive handicap hurdle on Sunday. He looked the likeliest winner in the straight but was just run out of it close home. Given that he was racing from a 10lbs higher mark than when successful at Newbury, this was still a creditable performance. He will probably benefit from a return to a stiffer track and he remains a progressive youngster with a good future ahead of him.

It is looking like a quiet start to the week ahead with our first runners likely to come on Wednesday. Three Star General will be a rare runner on the all-weather at Wolverhampton for me when he takes in the 1m6f handicap. He stays well over timber, possesses plenty of ability and does not look harshly treated on the flat. He found the ground too testing last time out over timber, so this surface should suit him better and he will be partnered by former champion apprentice Tom Marquand.

Exciting ex-French recruit King’s Socks is pleasing me at home and is nearing a run. He has engagements in a graduation chase at Kempton on Friday, a handicap chase at Warwick on Saturday as well as the early closing Grade One Ascot Chase on Saturday week. He has schooled well over hurdles and fences and I am very much looking forward to seeing him back on the track. The form of his last start in France with Footpad is looking better all the time!

Another nearing his comeback is former Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer (pictured right) who could contest the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday. His seasonal debut has been delayed owing to a bout of colic in the summer, but he is working well at home. We will take a good look at the race and the routine test results before deciding on his participation a little later in the week.

Promising young staying chaser Ramses de Teille is another who could be out this weekend. Our progressive grey holds entries at Warwick on Saturday and Exeter on Sunday, while recent recruit Know The Score, an impressive winner of his only start in an Irish point-to-point is also among the entries at Exeter on Sunday where he could run in the bumper. With some very nice types due to run shortly these are exciting times indeed and as usual, for all the latest on the Pond House runners you can keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

Sadly it is not all good news though and I was most upset to hear of the terribly sad passing of Irish handler William Codd and northern trainer Malcolm Jefferson. I have known William and the Codd family for many years and I trained some nice winners from the Codd academy (while brother Jamie has ridden several winners for me including two at the Cheltenham Festival). William was a very astute trainer and produced some extremely nice horses down the years. The loss of four excellent trainers in such a short timescale is awful news - our sport could certainly do with a shot in the arm at present and hopefully the impending Festivals will be able to provide everyone with a lift.

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