Entries & Recent Form

Not for the first time, inclement weather scuppered our plans last week with a number of fixtures abandoned due to waterlogging, snowfall or frozen ground.  It is a great shame that Wetherby were forced to cancel their meeting on Saturday after plans were made to reschedule the Cleeve Hurdle that had been moved from Cheltenham the weekend prior.  We were due to run Main Fact (pictured above) and Ramses de Teillee.  Even so, we still managed to get a few runners to the track and whilst we drew a blank there were some praiseworthy efforts.  With temperatures continuing to plummet this week, aided by a biting cold wind from the ‘Beast from the East’, I think that fixtures could be at a premium once again.

Unsurprisingly the ground last week was pretty atrocious wherever racing was able to go ahead.  Whilst it didn’t suit all of our runners, it certainly didn’t inconvenience Sexy Lot or Eamon An Cnoic.  The former stuck on in good style to finish a narrow runner-up in the 2m mares’ handicap hurdle at Ffos Las on Thursday.  A couple of untidy jumps at the last two hurdles probably cost her dearly as she was only beaten ½ length.  Even so, this was another good effort from a career high mark, 21lbs higher than when first successful and she is an improving filly.  She shapes as though she will get a bit further and we will find something similar for her in due course.

Eamon An Cnoic took a big step back in the right direction when second at Chepstow on Friday in the 2m3½f handicap hurdle.  He has run some tremendous races through the years but until recently had rarely enjoyed much respite from the handicapper.  His confidence over fences had taken a knock so it was great to see him put in an improved effort on his second start back over hurdles from his lower rating.  He had everyone but the unexposed winner well beaten and hopefully he can build on this and gain another well-deserved success.

The Week Ahead

Following the abandonment of Plumpton and Carlisle this afternoon, our next runners will come at Taunton tomorrow, providing they pass an 8am inspection tomorrow morning.  Temperatures will drop tonight to -3?c so it will be touch and go.  We have Fort Summer, Home Farm House and Shoot To Fame engaged there.

We don’t have any entries at Ludlow on Wednesday, although they are also in doubt with an inspection planned for tomorrow.  Astigar holds an entry at Doncaster on Thursday along with First Lord de Cuet and Gabrielle du Seuil, whilst Kempton have already taken the decision to cancel their fixture on Friday.

That leads us to the weekend and we confirmed Night Edition at the latest stage for the Betfair handicap hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.  Promising hurdlers Astigar and Brinkley have a choice of engagements between Newbury and Exeter, whilst Duc de Beauchene and Remastered are entered in the novices’ handicap chase at the Berkshire track.  Umbrigado also has a couple of entries to choose from this weekend. 

Main Fact is entered in the Pertemps qualifier at Exeter (alongside Brinkley and First Lord de Cuet) and he could well go there in the absence of other suitable opportunities for a horse rated 154.  As well as the usual tests, obviously much will depend on which meetings can actually go ahead.

Grand National Entry

Entries closed last week for the Grand National at Aintree and we are solely represented this time around by Vieux Lion Rouge.  His exploits over the National fences have been well documented and he put up a sparkling performance to win a second Becher chase at the track earlier in the season.  That performance earned him a hefty hike in the weights and whilst I would normally take exception to that, it does mean that his place in the line-up in April is all but assured.

New Arrival

Finally, you may remember a game and genuine winning mare that I trained at Pond House called Shaama Grise.  Well, we were pleased to hear that she gave birth to a colt foal last Thursday by top jumps sire, Kapgarde who is responsible for the likes of Clan des Obeaux, A Plus Tard and the stable’s former high class hurdler Mr Thriller.  The pair are just down the road from Pond House at Ashbrittle Stud and represents owners, the Angove family’s first foray into breeding.  He looks a cracker and I hope we will be hearing a lot more about him in years to come.

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