Entries & Recent Form

Happy New Year everyone!  The Christmas/New Year period was a busy one for the entire team at Pond House.  Not only did the horses need to maintain their regular routines during the festivities, we had plenty of runners with 23 racecourse representatives between Christmas and the New Year.  Seventeen O Four was a good winner for us at Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National meeting and there were many other notable performances too.

Seventeen Hits The Mark

Seventeen O Four (pictured right) confirmed the promise of his debut effort at the track at the beginning of December by running out the ready winner of the 2m novices’ hurdle at Chepstow on Monday.  A progressive type on the flat, he has already attained a good level over timber and can only continue to improve with experience.  Thanksforthehelp finished third in the same race, staying on nicely in the closing stages and building on his encouraging bumper effort from the start of the season.  He is another nice prospect moving forward.

Gericault Roque ran a good race when runner-up in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury on Wednesday.  Seeing out the 3m2f trip well on only his third start over fences, he was well clear of the remainder of the field and it is only a matter of time before he is opening his account over the larger obstacles.  Ladykiller ran a promising race in the introductory hurdle earlier on the card, finishing third on his first outing over timber since September 2020.  A talented, if somewhat quirky performer on the flat, there are races in him over hurdles based on this effort.

Mr Tambourine Man finished fourth at Taunton on Thursday, shaping as though a stiffer test of stamina would suit, whilst Bashful Boy filled the same position at Fakenham on Saturday.  This was his first try at the trip and whilst he seemed to handle the softer ground well, he didn’t quite get the longer trip.  He is a likeable gelding who should be winning soon.

We were mob-handed in the Sussex National at Plumpton yesterday, with Fergus and Judith Wilson the owners of our five runners.  It was El Paso Wood who fared the best of them with a sound fourth, staying on well at the end of the marathon trip.  He looks capable of landing something similar.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and we kick-off today with a couple of runners at Southwell where spritely teenager Dell’ Arca contests the 3m handicap hurdle.  He ran yet another great race when second at Chepstow last time and he continues to thrive on his racing.

Major Robinson runs in the 2m4f handicap hurdle.  He ran well when fourth at Exeter last time and he looks sure to be suited by this slightly shorter trip and less demanding track.

Mr Clarkson runs in the challenger series handicap hurdle at Hereford on Tuesday.  He was runner-up on his last start in May and is 1lb lower here.  Philip Armson will take the ride and claims a handy 7lbs off his back.

We will have four runners on Wednesday with three at Ffos Las and a runner on the all-weather at Wolverhampton.  Eamon An Cnoic, New Age Dawning and Red Lion Lad compete at the former, whilst Trusty Scout reverts back to the flat having been contesting hurdle races most recently.

We have plenty of entries at Chepstow on Thursday, whilst Morgenstern is a likely runner at Wetherby on Friday.  Sandown’s card on Saturday completes this week’s entries and we have recent recruit Red Happy, Titian and Gwencily Berbas engaged on the card, with the former a likely runner at this stage.

The End Of An Era

Finally, it is with mixed emotions that I must announce the retirement of long-time stable stalwart Vieux Lion Rouge, shortly after his thirteenth birthday.  He has been a tremendous horse for the Pond House team and the ‘horse of a lifetime’ for owners Professor Caroline Tisdall and John Gent.  During his 41 race career he won thirteen times, including two Becher Chases over Aintree’s Grand National fences and a Grand National Trial at Haydock and amassed over £344,000 in prize money.

In the end it was not a difficult decision to make.  We always said that the horse would tell us when the time was right and after discussing it with Caroline, John, Tom Scu and Julie Bellamy, who has looked after him for the majority of his tenure at Pond House, we all came to the same conclusion.  He was one of Caroline’s first purchases, along with fellow teenager, Dell’ Arca.

Of Vieux Lion Rouge, Professor Tisdall said, “He has been amazing for us, the horse of a lifetime.  He has given us so many memorable moments and the fact that he was able to remain sound and happy for ten years of racing is testament not just to his toughness, but to the care and attention given to him by the trainer and the whole team at Pond House”.

Regular rider, Tom Scudamore added, “Thank you.  What a great friend he has been, giving me so many wonderful days and thrills”.  They paired up to win eleven races, in the process becoming the riders’ winning-most equine partner.  Given the calibre of horse Tom has had at his disposal during his 24 years in the saddle, that is quite some achievement.

Devoted groom, Julie Bellamy said, "It has been an absolute pleasure to have looked after him and ridden him most mornings in his work.  He has been a once in a lifetime horse for me and I will miss seeing him everyday".

Vieux Lion Rouge became something of an Aintree legend, contesting five Grand Nationals and six Becher Chases over the famous fences, setting a modern day record by jumping 242 consecutively without issue.  He jumped 253 of the fences in total and aside from his two Becher wins, he finished runner-up on another occasion, whilst his best National finish came in 2017 when an honourable sixth behind One For Arthur.

Purchased as an unraced horse from the Arqana Sales in 2012, he spent his entire racing career at Pond House and retires safe and sound.  He will be greatly missed by everyone at the yard and will remain here until a suitable home can be found for him where he can enjoy the active and fulfilling retirement that he so richly deserves.  Thank you for the memories old boy, it has been some ride!

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