Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

Unsurprisingly given the changeable weather conditions (seemingly only changing from wet to freezing!), last week was a quiet one with only a handful of runners. Nevertheless, the horses that did compete continued to run creditably and I was pleased to get in the winners’ enclosure with Abracadabra Sivola at my local track of Taunton on Sunday.

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The relentless countdown towards the 2017 Cheltenham Festival continues and following trials weekend at the track, there are only six weeks remaining. There was some fascinating action, although the feature race produced drama for the racegoers and heartbreak for the connections of Many Clouds.

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Even though the weather has started to play havoc with the fixture list once again, there was no shortage of racing during the early part of last week and I was pleased to get three winners on the board before the frost intervened. Our seasonal tally stands at 47 winners and it is good to have the team in good order with the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner…did I mention there are just 50 days left?!

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It was a big week for racing with the shock news of the proposed sale of Kempton Racecourse by the Jockey Club as part of a proposed plan to reinvigorate the sport for future generations. You can read my thoughts on that a little later. While that was going on, it was a relatively quiet week for the stable with only nine runners although they performed consistently well without quite getting their heads in front.

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I could not start this week without reflecting on the retirement of stable favourite Dynaste over the weekend.  Our popular 11 year old grey ran his last race in the Veteran’s Final at Sandown to finish a gallant seventh and the decision was made there and then that he had run his last race.  He has always had a few niggly problems throughout his career and it his testament to his character that he stayed at the top for as long as he did but things just seemed to be catching up with him more in recent times.  It was a decision owner John White and I had been considering for a little while.  

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Although unusually we only had a couple of runners on Boxing Day, the period between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day was a busy one with no less than 19 runners last week. I was pleased to see the horses continue in good form with four winners taking our seasonal tally to 44, including the success of Mr Clarkson who was a first runner for our new syndicate “Pipe’s Prospectors”. With a number of other decent performances at the big fixtures there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into 2017.

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    Katkeau - Runs in the Welsh National
Christmas has been and gone for another year.  We had a quiet one at home with family and a few friends as well as a couple of staff members who are away from home this festive season.  We had a good time and my three children; Jack, Sophie and Martha enjoyed themselves enormously so I can’t ask for any more than that.  In this sport there is never time to rest on your laurels however and it is straight back to business as usual today with two runners this afternoon at Kempton and Wetherby while we have a whole host of entries for the remainder of the week.  There is a fascinating card to look forward to at Kempton today with the highlight being the King George Chase.  Although we are not represented in the big one, our stable jockey Tom Scudamore has the ride aboard the mightily impressive Thistlecrack and I know he has been very much looking forward to the ride.  It should certainly make for an entertaining spectacle.  

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