Entries & Recent Form

We said a fond farewell to Aintree legend, Vieux Lion Rouge last Friday.  The Old Red Lion was officially retired from racing back in December 2021 after contesting the aptly-named Last Fling handicap chase at Haydock, but has spent the last ten months with us at Pond House enjoying an active routine which saw him continue to be ridden out by his devoted groom, Julie Bellamy.

In the meantime, we have been looking for the right ‘forever home’ for our spritely teenager and on Friday we took him to Giles Hawkins’ (former jump jockey) establishment on Exmoor.  There he will get to enjoy a fulfilling retirement in beautiful surroundings, which after his incredible career, is nothing less than he deserves.

He was Professor Caroline Tisdall’s first purchase from the sales at Arqana in July 2012 as an unraced three year old and what a buy he was!  Thirteen times a winner for the stable, Caroline and part-owner John Gent, he twice landed the Becher Chase over Aintree’s famous Grand National fences in 2016 and 2020 and finished runner-up in 2018.  He also contested the Grand National five times and jumped a record 253 of the unique fences, as well as landing the Haydock Grand National Trial in 2017 and the Chepstow veteran’s chase carrying Caroline’s name in 2019.

Caroline was here to see him off on Friday and the team all posed for a picture with him for the last time before wishing him an emotional farewell.  We are sure he will have a fantastic time in his retirement and will bring you updates as and when we receive them.

A Fitting Farewell

Talking of farewells, my father travelled to London last Thursday for the memorial service of Lester Piggott at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea and I am told that it was a marvellous affair.  The church was at full capacity with family, friends, racing personalities and fans alike who were assembled to pay tribute to the legendary jockey, who died in May at the age of 86.  Guests were told many an entertaining tale of the “Long Fellow’s” amazing life, although I am confident there were many others that were unrepeatable!

Farrant’s One To Follow

Former champion point-to-point rider and Pond House schoolmaster, Ashley Farrant is the latest victim of our popular Pond House horses to follow video.  Mike Vince caught up with our ever-enthusiastic veteran and you can find out who he nominated by clicking on the image below…

Sizing And Sidi’s Successes

The good form of the stable continued last week with the victories of Sizing Pottsie and Sidi Ismael taking our seasonal tally to 34, which, as we head into November, is a good platform to build upon.  Sizing Pottsie (pictured right) made the long journey up to Ayr worthwhile by winning as he was entitled to do in the 2m novices’ hurdle.  He had some very good form over fences in Ireland, including Grade 2 success as well as place form behind top-notchers Melon and Enegumene.  We purchased him from the Tattersalls Sales in May as a Saturday horse for his owners and he is sure to give them plenty of enjoyment for the season ahead.  The intention is to head next for the Schloer Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting.

Sidi Ismael, who we purchased last term, made it four wins from seven starts for the stable with a successful seasonal debut over hurdles in the 2m7f handicap at Worcester on Friday.  Following plenty of rain, the track was riding very soft and Tom Scu took the ‘Willie Carson, Ascot’ or ‘Auteuil’ route along the outside rail down the straights.  Travelling supremely well into the home straight, he only had to be shaken up to make sure of matters in the closing stages.  A winner from a 5lbs higher mark over fences last season, he could mix hurdling and chasing again over the coming months.

Of our other runners, Royal Defender shaped with promise on his rules debut in what could be a decent Chepstow bumper, whilst Kingofthewest also posted a satisfactory first run of the season when third in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at Worcester.

The Week Ahead

We start with a couple of runners at Hereford this afternoon as Barrier Peaks and Ya Know Yaseff contest the 2m novices’ hurdle at 3.10pm.  They have both shown flashes of ability but would need to improve on what they have shown so far to figure in what looks quite a hot race.

Dindin contests the 2m4f conditional jockeys’ handicap chase at 3.45pm at Warwick tomorrow.  Already a course and distance winner from this mark, he has also run well in defeat at the track.  Conditions should suit once again and he is capable of going well, although this does look tougher and he has a couple of disappointing efforts to overcome.

American Sniper bids to atone for his unfortunate unship at the first on his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot earlier in the month.  Runner-up in an Irish point-to-point and a pair of bumpers, he is a nice prospect and should be winning plenty of races over timber and eventually fences.

Bashful Kate makes her racecourse debut in the 2m3½f maiden hurdle.  A well-made filly, the experience will not be lost on her.  It appears to be a competitive race, but it looks a good starting point for her.

Main Fact runs in the 2m flat handicap at Nottingham on Wednesday, a race he won as part of his incredible nine-timer in 2020.  He ran with credit on his return from absence at Newbury and with plenty of rain in the forecast, conditions at the track should suit him.  Dougie Costello will take the ride.

Further ahead, we will have a look and see what the ground is like. We have entries at Ludlow, Newbury and Sedgefield on Thursday and Exeter on Friday.  Al Roc is an intended runner in the Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday.  Remastered, Gericault Roque and Kepagge are entered in the Pertemps hurdle qualifier, whilst Red Happy holds an engagement in the Badger Beer Chase at Wincanton.

We round out this week’s entries at Fontwell and Sandown on Sunday with Ramses de Teillee and Gwencilly Berbas possibles in the valuable veteran’s series at the latter meeting.  For all the latest news on the stable runners, don’t forget to keep up to date with our daily news page.

follow me on facebook