Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

  

With Christmas coming this weekend we are on a short week racing-wise with the last action before the big day coming on Thursday. That is not to say that we will be taking it easy however as the horses still need to be fed and exercised so it will be a normal working week right up until Christmas day when a skeleton staff will be on hand to make sure that all of the essential tasks are carried out – for their help I am extremely grateful.

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Another week, another three winners taking our seasonal tally to 39 and we are ticking along nicely in the run-up to the Christmas period with the horses in good form. Add to that a number of exciting new recruits from last Friday’s Cheltenham sales and it was an enjoyable and fruitful week. We are in something of a transitional phase at Pond House at present with a number of nice youngsters arriving throughout the course of the season making a youthful and very promising core to supplement our older campaigners, horses that you will hopefully be hearing plenty more of for years to come.

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The stable enjoyed a productive week with three winners, culminating in the thrilling success of Vieux Lion Rouge in the valuable Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday under an inspired ride from stable jockey Tom Scudamore. Although racing has been abandoned this afternoon at Ludlow, we look set to be well represented for the remainder of the week (weather permitting) and I hope we will be able to continue the yard’s good form.

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Looking back at last week it was certainly one of mixed emotions for the Pond House team with the success of promising former Irish point-to-pointer Daklondike (pictured above) the obvious highlight, while we ended the week on a slightly lower key with the disappointing performance of Un Temps Pour Tout in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. You always need to keep looking forward in this industry and with nothing obvious coming to light I am sure that this could be put down as ‘a bad day at the office’. He is clearly better than he was able to show on this occasion and there will be other big days ahead for him.

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We began last week with a winner amid chaotic circumstances at Plumpton which provided a welcome first winner for a high-profile sportsman on our owner’s portfolio. Meanwhile, back at Pond House there was plenty of weather with Storm Angus battering the UK with torrential rain, sleet and even some snow. I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned the driest October in 15 years – the 40mm of rain we endured on Saturday was more than the previous month combined!

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As it is a meeting where the stable has traditionally been very strong, I have to admit that there is often a little extra pressure to perform at Cheltenham’s Open meeting in November than at other fixtures on the calendar. Although we sent a smaller raiding party than in previous years, I was still very pleased to come away from the BetVictor fixture with a couple of nice winners. Furthermore, with a winner at Exeter and a couple of nice new arrivals from the sales, all in all it was a very good week.

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This is the time of year that the Pond House string normally gets into full-stride with the Open meeting from Cheltenham at the end of the week, it is always a date that is circled on my calendar. Sadly we were dealt a blow earlier in the week when one of our hopes, King’s Socks was ruled out of the BetVictor Gold Cup. It is disappointing but we should still be well represented at Prestbury Park this weekend. Meanwhile, a high profile success at Aintree at the weekend once again illustrated the highs and lows of our sport.

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