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Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

Sadly the weather continues to take its toll on the fixtures list and those meetings that do manage to go ahead are having to contend with extremely testing conditions – unless you are in the most northerly parts of Britain as I was yesterday (Sunday) when I paid a visit to Musselburgh. Even then I couldn’t escape the elements with rain throughout the day turning the ground soft – it was certainly one of the soggier birthdays I can recall! Although I have plenty of horses that appreciate some cut in the ground, the prevailing conditions at most venues (despite the best and valiant efforts of the racecourse ground staff) are just horrible and it is not easy to find suitable opportunities for them all.

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A couple of winners on the week courtesy of Doctor Harper (pictured above) and Taj Badalandabad kept the scoreboard ticking over and at the time of writing our seasonal tally stands at 52. With Cheltenham Festival Trials day already in the rear view mirror, the focus now switches to the big event itself which is now only six weeks away. As you can tell from the countdown timer on the left-hand side of every one of my web pages, the entire season is geared towards the Cheltenham Festival which is to all intents and purposes the ‘Olympics of horseracing’.

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Last week was certainly an exciting one for the Pond House team! Not only did it provide us with our 50th winner of the campaign when Pilgrims Bay (pictured above) landed a thriller at Wincanton, but we also bolstered our numbers with the arrival of our third child, Martha Charlotte Pipe who was born on Friday 22nd January.

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The cold, wet weather continues to run amok with fixtures abandoned left, right and centre and bottomless ground is very much the norm at present. It is unsurprising therefore that it was a quiet end to the week for us with our last runners coming on Wednesday while that trend is likely to continue through the early part of this week with no runners this afternoon at Plumpton, while Exeter have already abandoned their meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday).

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The weather continues to play havoc with the going and the fixture list and looking ahead it looks as though we are in for more of the same and we could be thin on the ground with action for this week. Still, a winner last week courtesy of Mount Haven (pictured above) took us onto the 49 winner mark for the campaign and I hope it is not long before we are celebrating our seasonal half century.

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Out with the old and in with the new and I am pleased to report that 2016 has started in the best possible fashion for the Pond House team. Gallant victories from Champers On Ice and the admirable veteran Soll followed a highly promising chase debut success from Baltimore Rock. Those successes mean that we have now enjoyed 48 wins this campaign and has vaulted us back into fourth place in the trainers’ table.

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Well, here we go with the final blog of 2015…where have the last twelve months gone? There have been some great successes to look back upon over the last year with the likes of The Package and Moon Racer scoring at the Cheltenham Festival in March, while Ballynagour and Un Temps Pour Tout (pictured above) scooped big prizes over hurdles in France during the summer. Meanwhile we have made a solid start to the current campaign with the stable currently fifth in the trainers’ standings with forty five winners on the board heading into 2016.

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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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