Entries & Recent Form

As we enter the closing weeks of the current campaign, the horses continue in good form, much as they have throughout.  Two more winners took our seasonal tally to 52 which is a good effort, whilst another six reached the frame.  With the Grand National meeting from Aintree starting this week, there is much to look forward to.

Paricolor Makes It Five

Paricolor was our first winner of the week when successful in the selling hurdle at Wetherby on Thursday.  He has been a tremendous servant to the stable, winning five times this season.  Given a positive ride by regular partner Fergus Gillard, they were always in control in the straight, although a bad blunder at the last did have my heart in my mouth.  The pair have struck up a fantastic relationship and this was their seventh success together.

Sexy Success!

Our other winner was Sexy Lot who continued her incredible improvement when landing the final of the mares’ Challenger series at Haydock on Saturday.  Like last time, she travelled much better in the sheepskin cheekpieces and taking the initiative with a great jump at the third last hurdle, she held on bravely up the straight under Fergus Gillard.

She had been doing her winning earlier on much softer ground, so it was great to see her handle this much better surface.  It certainly gives her more options going forward.  Still only a lightly raced five year old, she could yet improve further and I am thrilled that she is repaying her owner, Peter Garnsworthy who has been tremendously patient with her.

There were a number of other good performance too.  Indeed, of our nine runners last week, eight of them either won or finished in the frame.

Nordic Combined excelled himself in the final of the two mile Challenger series at Haydock, giving members of the David Pipe Racing Club a huge thrill.  He doesn’t win as often as perhaps he should, but he picked up over £8,000 for this effort and should continue to provide the members with a lot of fun going forward.

Old favourites Eamon An Cnoic and Mr Clarkson were not beaten at all far on Saturday to finish third at Carlisle and Newton Abbot respectively.  Eamon continues to run well but looks to be handicapped to his best, whilst Mr Clarkson took a big step back in the right direction in the staying handicap hurdle.  He was hampered on the home turn, but for which the result may have been a little different.

Grand National Week

The Grand National meeting is the obvious highlight this week, although the recent dry spell means that the final few weeks of the season may be quieter than might otherwise have been the case.

Our first runners this week will come on Thursday.  Adagio is an intended runner in the Doom Bar Anniversary Hurdle at Aintree.  He has done very well since his excellent second in the Triumph Hurdle last time and will not mind the ground.  He continues to surprise and please me with his progress in equal measure and I will be excited to see how he gets on at Liverpool.

Umbrigado holds an entry in the Grade One Manifesto novices’ chase and he is fresh having side-stepped Cheltenham.  He is a progressive and versatile horse who is deserving of a crack at this level.

On Friday Remastered and Leoncavallo hold entries at Aintree, although the former would prefer a softer surface.  The ground should be right up Leoncavallo’s street however and he has a choice of engagements.

That leaves us with the big one itself and we have confirmed Vieux Lion Rouge for the Grand National at the latest stage.  He is another one who would prefer more cut in the ground but he loves the track and is very well at present.

Happy Retirement Richard!

Finally, I would like to congratulate Richard Johnson on a wonderful career and a long, happy and active retirement.  He has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and has produced some mind-boggling statistics.  He is the second winning-most jockey in British jump racing history behind Sir Anthony McCoy, winning the jockeys’ championship four times and finishing runner-up on an incredible seventeen occasions.  He rode Dark Stranger to Cheltenham Festival success for my father and was also on board when Gloria Victis produced a remarkable performance in the Racing Post Chase.  He also won the Midlands National for me in 2014 aboard Goulanes.

The senior statesman of the weighing room, I am sure his presence will be very much missed by all in the sport.  We wish him and his family well for the future.

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