Barrier Peaks Wins at Exeter 

You will be pleased to hear I have made it back from the Maldives safely where Leanne and I had a lovely week away on our belated honeymoon. We got married on 5th July 2021 but Covid put pay to our original plans to get away and Leanne organised this trip to replace what we had originally planned. We had a fab few days mainly relaxing, eating and drinking with the odd bit of snorkelling mixed in as well. I kept an eye on things from afar but was able to switch off and re-charge the batteries.

Wet, Wet, Wet

It does seem like we have missed some very wet and horrible weather back at home while we have been away. While okay at the yard itself plenty of the surrounding areas have seen a lot of localised flooding. While racing has stood the test pretty well so far, with only Leicester and Bangor being lost last week, I fear some meetings may struggle to race in the coming days. They tell me there was still plenty of rain in heavy showers around on Sunday but as the day went on the temperatures started to drop. Unfortunately Fontwell was lost on Monday due to waterlogging where we were due to have two runners.  Chepstow and Plumpton have covered their courses in fleece in an attempt to ensure racing goes ahead but Newbury inspect on Tuesday morning ahead of their Wednesday fixture. The threat of snow is also on the horizon and we just have to now hope that temperatures do not drop too low overnight if we want some action this week, we will just have to see what Mother Nature throws our way before making definite plans.

Last Week Recap

It was a busy start on the racing front last week with nine runners in the first two days but it was then quiet after that.  Barrier Peaks was a nice winner at Exeter. He’d shown more on handicap debut at Ffos Las the time before but he really appreciated the step up in distance and won impressively. While it is fairly moderate form, the second horse was looking for a four timer and our seven year old did it nicely in the colours of the David Pipe Racing Club. He runs again under a penalty at Chepstow on Tuesday. The handicapper is raising him ten pounds for the win so he will race three pounds ‘well in’ tomorrow.  He didn’t appear to take too much out of himself in that race so fingers crossed he can go well again.

Aside from the winner we had a few placings with American Sniper and New Age Dawning filling the runner up spots and Lock Out finishing third. We then had a few blank days with no runners before two at Warwick on Saturday. Ocean Heights did not act on the heavy ground while Paricolor perhaps found the 3m2f trip a bit beyond him in the very testing conditions up in class.

This Week

Looking ahead to this week we have a steady trickle of runners to look forward to, weather permitting, with some every day this week. Keep checking the daily news for more news of what we run but at the end of the week/weekend we have the Winter Million Festival at Lingfield to look forward to. There is some terrific prize money on offer as the Festival kicks off with a day’s jumping on Friday, followed by a flat card on Saturday and the final day on Sunday is back jumping. We have a few horses entered for Friday which include Panic Attack, First Lord Du Cuet, Sizing Pottsie and New Age Dawning to name a few. We have been waiting for this sort of ground for Sizing Pottsie in particular and he is looking to line up in the two mile handicap chase. The handicapper has dropped him a few pounds and this time race looks tailor made for our nine year old. We have just three entries at Taunton on Saturday which include Jilaijone, Ramses De Teillee and Barrier Peaks. Lock Out is a sole entry on Lingfield's Sunday card and he has an entries in the novices handicap hurdle where if he runs is likely to appreciate the step up in distance.  

Out of Retirement

It only seems 5 minutes ago that we were talking about the retirement of Davy Russell but in the last week he announced his return and he is back in action and has already ridden a winner. I feel sorry for Jack Kennedy who unfortunately broke his leg for the fifth time recently. He was leading the Irish jump jockeys table and was having a fantastic season. He has suffered a fair few injuries in his relatively short career so far and it is will be a race against time for him to be back to ride at the Cheltenham Festival in March. I can understand why Gordon Elliott has got Davy back out of retirement. He has a good team of young jockeys but I imagine Davy is invaluable and a different class from some of the others. Davy said himself that he had been riding out more since he announced his retirement than he ever did while riding so his fitness is spot on and he is a great horseman. I wouldn’t be surprised if he will be riding at this seasons big spring festivals and he will have his very own Frankie Dettori like farewell tour!

In Retirement

I have said many times before but here at Pond House we take pride in finding our horses homes when their racing careers are over.  No matter their racing ability, age, quirks or injuries we seek to do our best by each individual horse.  We are always then delighted to hear how they are getting on in their new careers and we always get some lovely messages and photos.  Over the weekend we heard that Nabvutika was involved in her first dressage competition and she only went and won!   Below is some pictures of her, Veiled Secret receiving his 9th birthday presents, Too Fly Free and Nordic Combined doing some show jumping! It is lovely to see them all doing so well in their lives after racing.

                Nabvutika                                                      To Fly Free


                  Veiled Secret                                            Nordic Combined