NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sat Oct 21
Ffos Las, Market Rasen, Stratford
Sat Oct 21
Perth
Sun Oct 22
Perth

Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

I was pleased to be among the winners again last week with the successes of Skylander and For ‘N’ Against takings us onto sixteen for the current campaign and vaulting us into top-spot in the trainers’ table at this early stage of the season. With a number of other praiseworthy performances it is good to have the team in good order and helping to build a solid foundation for the months ahead.

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Jumping action has returned and it was nice to grab a winner at Worcester last week courtesy of Poisoned Berry winning the mare’s bumper.  She had shown good form previously for Fergal O’Brien and we purchased her in May so it was nice for her to win on her stable debut.  She was up there with the pace throughout and battled on gamely to hold off a well backed favourite.  She is not over big but has a good attitude which will stand her in good stead for the future.  She will go hurdling sooner rather than later.  For N Against also ran well at Worcester to finish second in the chase, he could be turned out again quickly and has an entry at Bangor on Friday.  The slight disappointment of the day was Citrus who was also making his Pond House debut.  Thankfully he seems fine since the race and I am sure we will see a much better performance next time, maybe on some softer ground as he does have some nice bumper form in France.

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            Ballynagour - On Holiday

We are nearly to the end of the first mini break in jumps racing with the action returning at Newton Abbot on Wednesday. There has been no runners from Pond House in the last week with nothing on the flat either but we do have entries to look forward to at our local Devon track and then at both Worcester and Stratford on Thursday.  Citrus is an interesting new recruit from the Arqana summer sale and he holds entries at all the meetings in the coming days.  Placed In a few French bumpers he has schooled well at home and I am looking forward to getting him on the track. Nice Thoughts and Rathealy are horses returning from a little break and again both horses have entries at all the meetings and I will be trying to pick the best races for them.  Lady of Longstone could run in the novice chase at Newton Abbot on Wednesday.  Our five times winning mare over hurdles last season made a pleasing start to her chasing career at Worcester last time to finish third and hopefully with that experience under her belt she can also run well. 

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I am just returning from a very few enjoyable days in the South of France with the family but I have been keeping up to date with all what has been going on and have been able to watch the action from Glorious Goodwood and the Galway Festival as well.

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Just the three runners last week but the admirable Purple’N Gold made sure that we were in the money courtesy of his close third in the valuable handicap chase at Uttoxeter on Sunday keeping us in third place in the trainers’ standings. He rarely disappoints and has now won or been placed in 29 of his 36 starts since joining us from a Kempton claimer – what a great buy he was!

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This is that frustrating time of year when there are scant opportunities for those horses in training, while hopes for the new season are on the rise with those that have been at grass returning from their holidays. Optimism for the new season builds to a crescendo from here on in and I for one can’t wait for the jumps season to kick into full swing!

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I have been quite vociferous about the fragmented nature of the summer program in the past and I see no reason to alter my opinion following another week with only a handful of jump meetings (with most of those on the same day!) and a host of ‘blank’ days. It’s a similar story this week, while in three weeks’ time there will be an entire week without National Hunt racing.

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As is usual for this time of the year, we had only a few runners last week and I was delighted to be on the mark with a double at Market Rasen yesterday afternoon (Sunday) courtesy of the successes of Impulsive American and Kalifourchon. This took our tally for the campaign onto twelve and also elevated the Pond House team into third position in the trainers’ standings at this relatively early stage of the season.

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It is that time of the year again when I look forward to my annual trip to France for the Arqana Summer Sales. It is one of those dates that I have pencilled in the calendar from an early stage every year and I always look forward to attending. Not only is the Arqana catalogue always packed full of promising young talent, we also make an enjoyable trip out of it as we spend a few days with friends and owners soaking up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Deauville on the north coast of France.

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When it comes to writing my blog during the summer months there is always the danger that things begin to sound a little like deja-vu! Once again it looks as though it is going to be a quiet week with National Hunt fixtures rather thin on the ground. Nevertheless, we will have a few runners over the sticks, not least at the valuable meeting at Uttoxeter on Sunday, while we will also have a runner on the level at Salisbury on Wednesday.

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