Only the Bold - 50th Winner of the Season

It has been another super week on the winner’s front for the yard, indeed we not only equalled but have now surpassed last year’s total winners for the season. Last season we had 47 winners but on Saturday, Only the Bold was our 50th winner of the current campaign. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both my owners and staff for all their support and hard work. Without them, none of our achievements would be possible and we are going to keep kicking and try to get as many winners as possible.

We had a busy day with runners last Monday but the week started winner less from runners at Kempton and Ludlow. We had no runners Tuesday or Wednesday but came back with a bang on Thursday.

On Thursday we had a nice across the card double at Lingfield and Taunton. I was actually up in London with my father for a surprise party for owner William Frewen at Lords. It was particularly apt that Shot Boii played his part in the day by winning the opening race on the Lingfield card in the famous Lough Derg, William Frewen orange, white and green silks. This set us up very nicely for the afternoon ahead in London!! Shot Boii is now two from two for the season having won both his starts at Lingfield. Tom Scu was on board first time when he won by a head and it was an even tighter finish this time around as he and Fergus Gillard prevailed by just a nose!! Our five year old has a really good attitude and is a thorough stayer. These races have been over 2m7f but he will improve again over further and he loves the soft ground.  I am particularly looking forward to him going over fences in the future as well.

                     Shot Boii                                                        American Sniper

We did not have to wait long for our second winner of the day as American Sniper won his second race of the season at Taunton within the hour.  On paper it looked a tough ask for our four year old to given seven pounds to a 122 rival and as they turned for home in the race itself it was also looking tough to!! We were in front with the favourite stalking us menacingly. However, like at Chepstow our fella showed a tremendous attitude when it came down the battle and kept his rival at bay to win. He is still a little green but he has an engine and the will to win to go with it as well. The Taunton course was probably not ideal as he will want a bit further on a galloping track but he is doing all what we ask of him and that is what is exciting. I think we will see him in even better light in a better race where they go a strong pace. While I’m not sure where we go next quite yet, he perhaps deserves a step up in class.

Our Friday winner came at Ffos Las with Eden Du Houx a wide margin winner of the 2m3f handicap chase. His most recent runs have been in France and he had been running well until at Auteuil last time where he disappointed for no apparent reason. He certainly loves Ffos Las however and he is now two from two at the Welsh venue. Hopefully the handicapper won’t overreact, but we do have him entered at Exeter on Friday where he can run with a penalty.

                   Eden Du Houx

Only the Bold made his stable and chasing debut at Bangor on Saturday and was the very impressive winner of the three mile handicap chase under Fergus Gillard. Our seven year old half-brother to Jet Powered was a shrewd purchase by James Couldwell for the Value Racing Ciub and he is a horse I have liked from the day he arrived. He is not the biggest but does everything you ask of him at home and is a pleasure to train. I was pretty confident going into the race that he would run well and he did not disappoint. He went clear from 3 out and won a little too easily in the end!! Once again I hope the handicapper is not too harsh on him and we can have plenty more fun with him this winter.

Meanwhile I was very proud of all our horses at Newbury in the Coral Gold Cup chase. Remastered was a terrific second, Gericault Roque a gallant third and Red Happy a creditable eighth. Saturday was a rather stressful as the ground conditions were a real concern before the race. Both horses would have preferred it much softer in an ideal world but after discussing it over and over we all concurred it was safe to let them take their chance. They both have come out of the race well at present and fingers crossed this continues over the coming days. I watched Le Milos win on debut for the Skelton stable at Bangor and thought that day he would be hard to beat under a four pound penalty at Newbury and so it proved. Remastered and Gericault Roque were challenging all the way up the straight in a great battle and it was Remastered who lay down the final challenge as they passed the elbow at Newbury. Another few strides he may have got there but both of our horses went down on theirs swords with terrific efforts and although gutted not to win I was delighted with their runs.  Gericault Roque holds an entry in the Welsh National so we will take a look at that while Remastered doesn't have any entries pencilled in and there are plenty of staying chase options going forwards.

This Week

The beginning of this week starts slowly on the runner’s front with the best possible ones being at Haydock on Wednesday. It gets busier again at the end of the week with Micronormous likely to make her hurdling debut at Wincanton on Thursday. We have entries at three meetings on Friday with Man at Work highly likely to run in the Grade 2 novices hurdle at Sandown. On the same afternoon, Make Me A Believer could make us comeback in the handicap chase on the Exeter card. He had some high class novice hurdle form to his name two seasons ago but missed last season through injury. He is a smashing horse and I can’t wait to get him back on the racecourse. On Saturday we have entries at Aintree, Chepstow and Sandown so keep checking the daily blog for more news of the stable runners coming up.

Main Fact

I am sad to report that we have had to retire the mighty Main Fact due to injury. Our nine year old was due to run in the long distance hurdle race at Haydock last weekend and we were on course to run but agonisingly in the days before we had to pull stumps. He suffered a repeat of a tendon injury and it was an easy decision to make. He has done us and his owners proud since arriving at Pond House. I bought him Doncaster sales for the bargain price of £6000 and although he had to have a year off on arrival he returned to action and won nine consecutive races on the flat and over hurdles rising from a mark 97 up to 154 at best. His winning streak started at Warwick in January 2020 and culminated in him winning the long distance hurdle at Haydock in November that year off of 147. He did wonders for the career of young jockey Fergus Gillard and the nine race winning run included six hurdle races and three on the flat. He loved heavy ground and although after his winning streak he found life tougher dining at the top table he performed with great credit. He picked up an injury when running in the 2021 stayers hurdle at the Cheltenham festival and missed all of last season. He had a great preparation this autumn and ran well in a recent flat run where his jockey perhaps did not get him involved enough in the race but he had a nice time! We were looking forward to seeing him reappear over hurdles at Haydock but it was not meant to be. He is such a loveable character and will spend the first part of recovery here at Pond house before he will return home to his owners and will be a lovely riding horse. His career stats are: 4 wins from 13 starts on the flat, 8 wins from 17 starts over hurdles. Rated 154 at best over hurdles he won over £130,000 in prize money.


French Recruit

We have a new French recruit arriving this week, Man Again. He was the impressive winner of a three year old chase at Auteuil last week and is now the winners of three chases and a hurdle race from eight starts in his career to date. While he may not have beaten much in the race last week his strike rate and will to win cannot be disputed and he is a lovely prospect to look forward to. He has a rating of 61 in France and is likely to be in the low 120s over here. He has plenty of experience to take into juvenile hurdles or in a handicaps he will receive a handy weight allowance. He is not allowed to jump fences in Britain until next year but again this will be something to look forward to.

We like to keep an eye of French claimers and it has been a good source of winners for Pond House over the years although like with anything in life you do need a little bit of luck as well. Adagio has probably been the best we have claimed but horses such as Paricolor, Red Happy, El Paso Wood and Via Dolorosa have all been great buys in recent times. Fingers crossed Man Again can be the same!!