Entries & Recent Form

The first Cheltenham meeting of the new season is just around the corner and that can mean only one thing…it is stable tours time again!  Over the last few weeks, I have been busy conducting interviews and answering questions for various podcasts and publications with a view to the core part of the campaign, whilst we have been compiling our own popular series of horses to follow videos with some of the personalities at Pond House.

Cuddly Toy?

Today it is the turn of stable jockey, Tom Scudamore, who spoke with broadcaster Mike Vince about his hopes for the coming season.  Tom has always liked to hedge his bets and he rattled off as many names as he could in the space of one minute.  It reminded me a little bit of the conveyor belt on The Generation Game…cuddly toy anyone?!  Anyway, you can hear what he had to say by clicking on the image below.

The Final Furlong

I also spoke with Emmet Kennedy last week to participate in his ever-interesting and entertaining Final Furlong podcast.  Emmet, often seen on Racing TV, is a tremendous enthusiast and is one of the more vocal members of the David Pipe Racing Club.  We had an enjoyable chat and you can hear what we discussed by clicking on the following link: https://t.co/yB3fv0d9zx

Be Quick!

We welcomed the Micro Managers to Pond House on Saturday morning.  They own shares in four year old filly Micronormous, who is getting close to making her debut for the stable.  They were able to meet her in the yard and watch her in action on the gallops before touring the remainder of the facilities.  Third in her only start in an Irish point-to-point that has worked out well, as her name would suggest, she is not biggest, but she has a fantastic attitude and I am looking forward to getting her on the track.  We have one share left in her, so if you are interested, do give my office a call – she is sure to give you a lot of fun and excitement for the season ahead.

Newton Abbot Winner

I was delighted to get on the scoreboard at the last Newton Abbot meeting of the season when Umbrigado (pictured top of the page) was a brave winner of the 3m2½f handicap hurdle on Saturday.  He clearly benefitted from his seasonal reappearance and the reapplication of sheepskin cheekpieces.  He was idling a bit in front and I hope there is further improvement in him going forward.

The Week Ahead

We have had a fair bit of rain over the past week, including 10mm over the weekend, although the ground at many of the courses is still plenty quick enough for the time of year.  We have a few entries, although I am always mindful of these false dawns.  I will be keeping an eye on the skies as it is a long season and I will not run winter horses on unsuitable ground.

Abaya du Mathan is our first runner of the week as he contests the 2m3½f handicap chase at Plumpton this afternoon.  His profile is a little inconsistent but he has fallen to a good mark and should appreciate the drop back in trip.

We will have three runners at Exeter tomorrow for their first meeting of the new season.  Red Happy, who has had a productive summer over hurdles and fences, reverts to the larger obstacles in the 3m handicap chase.  Tough and consistent, he should be thereabouts once again with Tom Scudamore in the saddle.

We will be doubly represented in the 2m3f handicap chase at 3.15pm.  Dindin has been in good form this season, although he has a disappointing outing at Huntingdon to overcome.  The shorter trip on this stiffer track should suit him, whilst Koi Dodville showed promise on his first three starts over fences and continues to receive a handy weight allowance as he is still only a four year old.

Thomas Mor will make his debut for the stable at Worcester on Wednesday when he will run in the 2m7f maiden hurdle.  We purchased him from the Goffs Spring Sale following his victory in an Irish point-to-point, form that was advertised when the runner-up won by 17 lengths next time.  He has pleased me at home and is a nice prospect for the future.  We know he jumps and stays so I am hopeful of a good run, although there are plenty of potentially nice types in the line-up.  I am really pleased that Wayne Clifford and Ian Gosden decided to buy him.  Obviously, Wayne and Sarah Clifford are great supporters of racing and sponsored the stable for nine years and we have enjoyed plenty of success with their horses, whilst Ian Gosden rejoins the Pond House team.

Further ahead, Main Fact could make his long awaited reappearance in the apprentice jockeys’ hands and heels handicap at Newbury that he won on the flat a couple of years ago.  He has been on the sidelines since running in the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021.  I am very much looking forward to getting him back on the track, although he is entitled to improve for his first outing.  The softer the ground, the better for him.

Panic Attack holds an entry in the Pertemps handicap hurdle qualifier at Cheltenham on Saturday.   She enjoyed a good season last term and is still very much unexposed over staying trips and a lovely mare to have in the yard.  We are looking forward to going chasing with her later on in the season.

Grangeclare Glory and If The Cap Fits hold entries at Aintree on Sunday, the latter in the Vieux Lion Rouge veterans’ handicap chase that is run in celebration of our fantastic gelding, who won two Becher Chases at the track (runner-up in another) and jumped a record 253 of the legendary Grand National fences.  He is looking magnificent in his retirement and will be parading at the track on Sunday.

Wincanton is the final meeting of the week on Sunday and Red Happy, Borntobealeader, Iron Heart and Bumpy Johnson all hold engagements at the Somerset track, although the meeting has to pass an inspection on Thursday.

Festival Shock

Finally, I was very surprised and pleased to hear the news that broke from Cheltenham this morning when they announced that the Festival will remain a four day fixture for the foreseeable future.  Given the guaranteed revenue a fifth day would have generated for the Jockey Club.  It is good to know that they have considered all implications of an additional day and are not just looking at the bottom line.  I did have my concerns about the possible effect on the ground and the overall quality of the meeting and feel that they have come to the right decision.  

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