NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

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

Entries & Recent Form

Wow! What a change about in the weather. The non-stop rain of the winter months seems an eternity ago now; indeed we have just had the second driest April since we started collating the Pond House rainfall almost 20 years ago, with just 16mm falling throughout the entire month. Whilst that is good for those that are already out enjoying their holidays, it is not so good for those that remain in training with the ground now unsuitably fast and leading to small fields on the jumps cards.

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There is certainly no rest for the wicked! The 2016/17 season has come to a close and following a day’s holiday we are back raring to go for the 2017/18 campaign. As I have said a number of times in the past, I am not convinced that one season following so hotly on the heels of another is the best way to go, but the days where there used to be a meaningful break of a month or more where jockeys, trainers, staff and most importantly the horses can recuperate are long gone.

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If any proof were ever needed (and I suspect it might not be) the success of Three Star General at Cheltenham last Thursday showed that a winner at Cheltenham racecourse is a victory to cherished, be it at the all-important Cheltenham Festival in March or a charity race in April where there is no prize money on offer. Just to walk in to the hallowed winner’s enclosure victorious is an experience that every owner, trainer and jockey in National Hunt racing craves.

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After the frantic few weeks surrounding the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals the programme begins to wind down, especially as the flat meetings rise to prominence and many of the jumpers who have been on the go throughout the winter months embark on their summer holidays. Unsurprisingly last week was a quiet one for the stable with all but one of our runners coming at the weekend. Unfortunately we were not able to add to our seasonal total although there were some creditable performances to take encouragement from.

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The major Spring Festivals are over for another year. A Cheltenham winner, places at Liverpool and another excellent run from Vieux Lion Rouge in the Grand National itself means that the Pond House team was once again well represented at the top table. I am pleased to report that all of our runners returned safe and sound and would like to congratulate Aintree on another excellent meeting.

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With Aintree week now upon us I am pleased to report that the stable is in good form heading into the Grand National. Three winners last week took our tally onto 58 for the season while there were other good performances from stable runners not to mention the jockeys; notably David Noonan who rode out his claim when successful aboard Mr Clarkson at Sedgefield on Wednesday (pictured above).

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It is very much a time of transition at Pond House at present with stable stalwart Dynaste retired earlier in the season and during the past couple of weeks we have called time on the careers of a few other notable campaigners who have been great servants to the team over the years. On Saturday Shotavodka (pictured above) was retired after the staying handicap chase at Newbury, while Gevrey Chambertin, Soll and Red Sherlock have also run their last races. It is sad to see these grand old campaigners retired but we have always tried to call it a day when the time was right for the horse and we have a proven track record of doing this as well as finding them loving and rewarding homes when their racing days are done.

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