NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Mon May 01
Kempton, Warwick
Thu May 04
Sedgefield, Towcester
Fri May 05
Cheltenham, Fontwell

Entries & Recent Form

This is my final blog before Christmas and I can barely believe that with less than a week before the big day we are experiencing temperatures in the mid-teen’s…so much for the coldest winter in thirty-odd years! Even so, the weather is still taking its toll on the fixture list with the seemingly endless rain in the north of the country meaning meetings are being abandoned due to waterlogging rather than frost.

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I am pleased to report that the horses continue in good form and three more winners last week kept the scoreboard moving along and at the time of writing our seasonal tally stands at 44. A winner with our first runner of the week, another at our local track and a weekend winner as well meant that it was another productive week.

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     Bella - Winner at Ludlow Last Week

As I write this I am sat on the train en route to London for this year’s Racehorse Writers Awards so you will have to forgive me if I am brief this week…I will probably have lost my train of thought!   It should be another great day and I would like to thank my perennial host, commentator Mike Vince for his continued and generous hospitality.  I must say, as only the second jumps trainer to be nominated for the International Trainer Award, I am extremely honoured, although with the likes of John Gosden in opposition and the heroics of Golden Horn overseas any thoughts of victory are right at the back of my mind. 

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With trips to London for the Premiere of A P McCoy’s film ‘Being AP’ as well as the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Awards Lunch and plenty of runners it has been a busy old week. Three winners (including one at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting) and a handful of places means that it has been a productive one as well with our seasonal tally now standing at 39.

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It was good to be back among the winners last week with the victories of Katkeau and Vieux Lion Rouge taking our seasonal tally to 36. Meanwhile several of our other weekend runners picked up some decent prize money for their placed efforts to make it a productive week all told.

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The Paddy Power meeting has been and gone for another year and one of the principle meetings on the National Hunt calendar has passed by without the Pond House team managing to get on the scoresheet for the first since 2007. While it is disappointing not to have been among the winners I am pleased to report that all of the horses returned safe and well and there will be other days for them. That is not something that can be said for many after the horrific turn of events in Lebanon and Paris over the past seven days. It puts things very much into perspective and our thoughts are with those families who have lost loved ones at this tragic time.

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What an exciting week in prospect! As far as I am concerned the season proper always begins with the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham in November and for very good reason…my father long farmed the meeting with no fewer than eight successes in the feature race on Saturday, while my record isn’t too shabby either. We won the Paddy Power Gold Cup in 2011 with Great Endeavour as well as Sunday’s feature, The Greatwood Hurdle with Dell’ Arca in 2013 who was one of a memorable four-timer on that day.

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The National Hunt season ramped up another gear at the weekend with the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, while there was an excellent jumps card from Ascot. Consequently, some of the bigger names from Pond House were on display and there were a number of very promising performances looking to the season ahead.

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Another week, another success from improving mare Lady Of Longstone. It is amazing how every now and again a mare can just suddenly improve out of all recognition with very little obvious reason why. Not that I am complaining of course…not only are the owners lovely people, Sue is an extremely good cook and allows the staff to celebrate along with them with some of her sumptuous home-made cakes! The lemon drizzle cake in particular is a triumph and it is hardly any wonder that Lady Of Longstone is quickly becoming one of the favourite horses in the yard!

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I believe one of the things that makes the sport of horse racing such an endearing and enduring draw for spectators is its unpredictable nature. The highs and lows that go with it means that you can never tell what will happen next and the stable certainly experienced both sides of the coin last week. The high came with the success of Lady Of Longstone at Worcester on Wednesday, while the low was undoubtedly the loss of Tom Scudamore to injury for 3-4 weeks following a fall at Huntingdon on Tuesday.

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