Entries & Recent Form

We are due to have one runner today at Ffos Las, in the first race at 12.38pm, a conditional jockeys handicap hurdle.  Pachacuti is due to make his seasonal reappearance with Fergus Gillard on board.  He makes his handicap debut off 108 after improving with each start in novice hurdles last term and finishing second at Exeter on his final start.  The course does have to pass a further inspection at 9.30am however to determine if racing can go ahead.  The course is covered but it did fail its 7.30am check with frost being in the ground.  Their overnight temperatures dipped to -5c last night, they seem hopeful of racing but I am more reserved.  They say temperatures are set to rise during the day but they are going to have to!

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It is still bitterly cold this morning at Pond House, its say -2c but this is the first day we have a wind which is very raw and making the temperatures feel lower than what it is reading.  Wednesday is weigh day here at Pond House and so the scales have been uncovered and all the horses are under going their weekly weigh in!  Newbury was the only jumps fixture due to take place today but that was called off on Monday.  We do have have one runner declared for Ffos Las tomorrow, Pachacuti.  While we are still waiting for an update from the course this morning, they were hopeful yesterday with the course covered but we will just have to wait and see what happens.

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It was a bitterly cold day here at Pond House yesterday where I don't think the temperatures got above freezing but I don't think we have it as bad as some places and we don't have any of the white stuff anymore!  Despite there being no jumps racing, the routine continues pretty much as normal back at the yard, there are just a few extra jobs to do because of the cold weather.  The tractor man comes in early and starts working the up the gallops so they are usable for our first lot at 8am and thankfully we have had no trouble with our wood chip or sand gallop so far this winter.  We do have to go on the road for a little bit to get to our wood chip but we have salt bins and manually grit the roads ourselves to make sure everything is safe.  All our stables have automatic water drinkers and so while the staff our taking the horses temperatures, the first job of the morning, then they check to make sure the drinkers have not frozen and get water buckets should they be needed.  Things like the weighing scales and entrances to our indoor canter all get covered the night before just to make sure they are in full working order for the morning ahead.  I have known conditions a lot worse here and everything has continued pretty much as normal for the last few days and will continue to do so until we emerge from this cold snap.  Fingers crossed by the weekend things look like they could be changing.

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After a racing wipeout on Saturday it fared slightly better yesterday with jumping action taking place at Southwell and in Ireland at Cork. The stable did not have any runners but I see there were some non runners at Southwell due to travel disruption and I am not surprised! We had snow here at Pond House on Saturday but to be honest it was just a covering and enough for Jack, Sophie and Martha to make a good sized snowman!! My parents live not too far away from the yard on Exmoor and they had a lot of snow. Trainer Jeremy Scott would not be too far from them and I noticed both of his intended runners were withdrawn yesterday.

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         Saturday Morning at Pond House

Well I hope by the time everyone is reading this on Sunday that England are through to the semi-finals of the World Cup..... Unfortunately all the jumps cards in Britain and Ireland were lost to the elements yesterday and things do not look much better for today.  Carlisle has already been called off while Southwell are looking at 9.30am.  They do have the covers down and say they would have raced yesterday so fingers crossed they may today!  In Ireland there was due to be some Graded action at Punchestown and racing at Cork but both tracks were inspecting yesterday so I have a feeling they will have also been lost to the weather.

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Unfortunately racing at Cheltenham and Doncaster today has been abandoned already due to frozen ground and I am not sure we are going to get any jumping action today although Hereford now have a 9.30am inspection.  We were due to have one runner at Cheltenham, Thomas Mor in the 3pm novices hurdle.  I was looking forward to seeing him step up in class today but that will have to wait to another day.  He has won his two novice hurdles very easily and these would have told us a bit more about him this afternoon, he was third in the betting at 9/2 and I think he would have run well!  He does have an entry at Newbury on Wednesday but looking at the weather forecast I am not sure there is going to be that much racing in the coming days.

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Temperatures were slightly colder at Pond House last night compared to the previous one but were not too bad at -3c!  If racing goes ahead or not today is still very much up in the air with all three jumps meetings holding later inspections with varying degrees of optimism.  I shall write this hoping that racing goes ahead everywhere, if it does we are due to have five runners across two different meetings.  Our lorries were on the road very early this morning to both Doncaster and Bangor as we are in the first races at both meetings so you have to carry on like everything will go ahead as normal.  Our travelling head lads Bob and Craig take home the telephone numbers of the clerks of the courses and get in touch with them last thing at night and then as early as possible this morning to find out the chances of the meeting going ahead.  Sometimes you just have to set off knowing that you may be turning around again and coming home!  It really just depends on the time of your race and the timing of the inspection.  Yesterday, for example, Warwick was called off early enough and we were in a late enough race not to have even loaded Panic Attack and so it was easy.  Today we are well on the way to the races, in fact we may even get to the meeting before we find out if racing goes ahead or not.

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