NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sat Apr 21
Ayr, Bangor
Sun Apr 22
Stratford, Wincanton
Mon Apr 23
Hexham, Newton Abbot, Sedgefield

Entries & Recent Form

Aintree’s Grand National fixture certainly served up a treat for racing fans with three days of excellent action despite the ground remaining extremely testing owing to the persistent rain. It was a good week for the stable too, with three winners on the week, including the success of Mr Big Shot (pictured above) in the first race at Aintree on National day. I am pleased to report that all of our runners returned safe and sound and with plenty more decent opportunities coming over the last fortnight of the season, we will continue to press on.

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It is the start of an exciting week with Aintree’s Grand National fixture kicking off on Thursday. Weather depending, we will be having a few runners during the course of the three days, including some of those that were stuck in the mud at last month’s Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, with the ground currently ranging from good/soft to soft depending on whether it is the Mildmay chase or hurdle course or the National course itself, it is already considerably better than at Cheltenham and with a largely dry week forecast in the Liverpool area it has every chance of drying further still.

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   Above: Mr Big Shot will be entered at Aintree

Although the weather has been horrendous during the past few weeks forcing the abandonment of several meetings and causing bottomless ground at others, we were still able to enjoy a bit of racing that bookended the beginning and end of the last seven days. Though we were unable to notch a winner, we achieved several placings with Delface finishing runner-up at Taunton last Monday, while Tobacco Road, River Dun and Abracadabra Sivola all finished fourth, the last named in the final of the Challenger staying chase series.

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Last week was a quiet one on the runners front with only four racecourse representatives, although I am pleased to report that they all ran well without exception with the success of Rathlin Rose (pictured above) in the veteran’s handicap chase at Ascot on Sunday the highlight of the week. I have long advocated these races – the horses are great favourites with racegoers and they provide a lucrative pot for these grand old stagers to compete for without fear of a potential improver lurking at the foot of the weights.

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Well, Cheltenham is done with for another year and while I was disappointed to leave empty-handed for only the third time since taking out my training licence in 2006, I was in pretty good company owing to the Irish carving up the majority of the races. Even so, many of the Pond House runners performed creditably and there were plenty of positives to take from this year’s Festival.

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I am sure that with the start of the Cheltenham Festival now less than 24 hours away, you will excuse me if this week’s offering is somewhat shorter than usual. Suffice to say there are many last minute logistics that need to be taken care of, while I will also be at Taunton this afternoon to saddle my runners there so it really is all go, go, go!

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With Cheltenham now only a week away it is looking like a very low key build-up to the Festival as far as the Pond House team is concerned. Hardly surprising given the storms and snow blizzards of last week, but we did manage to have one runner on the all-weather, while this week is looking similarly quiet. Hopefully the ground will dry out sufficiently for there to be some jumps action at the weekend, with Sandown’s two day Imperial Cup fixture in particular being one that I always look forward to.

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