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Well unfortunately Taunton brought forward their intended morning inspection and abandoned racing for today yesterday afternoon so there is no runners for Pond House.  While raceable on Thursday they were not at any point yesterday after an overnight frost.  With another predicated for Friday night and temperatures not set to rise until 10am to do they weren’t left with much choice.  I have to say once again, we would not have raced here at Pond House yesterday and this morning it is even colder than that at -4c.  

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My predictions proved correct sadly with regards to it being another blank day on the jumps racing front for Friday.  We had Shot Boii and Barrier Peaks declared to run at Market Rasen but the meeting failed its 12 noon inspection yesterday.  Once again, at least we knew our fate early and could plan not to go!  We have two horses declared for Taunton tomorrow, Jilaijone and Ramses De Teillee but the track must pass an 8am inspection on Saturday morning for racing to go ahead.  The track said they would have raced yesterday which I found slightly surprising as we would not have raced on the grass at the yard.  The roads were the worst we have had this week trying to get to work and there was a lot of ice about.  Having said that, while we are not a million miles from Taunton, the racecourse itself does seem to have its very own micro-climate and so you cannot always predict what happens at the actual course.  Jason Loosemoore is the clerk of the course there and he is very good at his job.  He is also the clerk of the course at Newton Abbot and in his spare time he also re-birches our fences and open ditches!

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Well our lorry got about an hour down the road yesterday when the meeting at Plumpton was unfortunately called off.  They seemed quite hopeful first thing in the morning but as the day dawned they realised they were in trouble and we appreciate an early decision in these scenarios.  The horses were soon back at the yard and exercised as normal.  Wincanton were going to inspect at 8am this morning ahead of racing there today but it was actually called off yesterday afternoon.  We were due to have five runners there and while frustrating it is nice to know in advance and we can plan accordingly.  To be honest, it is no great surprise with the cold weather following on from a wet period it makes things tricky all-round. 

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        Shot Boii runs at Plumpton Today

Today we are once again in the hands of the weather as to whether racing goes ahead or not, but if it does we have two runners at Plumpton, Dindin and Shot Boii.  The track does have to pass an 8.30am inspection however so we will just have to see what happens.  Our lorry set off for the races as late as we could possibly leave it this morning in case they are told to turn around if it is abandoned!  We normally allow lots of time to prepare for any eventually we might come across on our journey but fingers crossed racing will be on and all will go smoothly!  Plumpton looked at the course yesterday afternoon and had seen significant improvement with the track since their morning check and with temperatures not quite as cold last night they are hopeful.

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Today, all being well we have just the one runner at Chepstow, Barrier Peaks but the meeting does have to pass a 7.30am inspection for racing to go ahead.  Fingers crossed it does and then hopefully we have a good chance of a winner in the final race on the card, the 4.10pm handicap hurdle over 2m3f.  Barrier Peaks won for the first time in his career at Exeter last Tuesday when stepped up in distance for the first time.  He did it nicely beating a horse chasing a four timer and the pair were nicely clear of the field.  He runs today under a seven pound penalty and is effectively three pounds ‘well in’ this afternoon as the handicapper is going to raise him ten pounds in the future.  He won’t mind the conditions which will be testing and we are hopeful of a big run with Tom Scu on board once again.

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Jilaijone due to run at Fontwell, however the meeting has been abandoned

Well hopefully we will have three runners today, two at Fontwell and one at Hereford but the meeting at Fontwell does have to pass a morning inspection due to potential waterlogging. If the meeting goes ahead, Royal Mer makes his stable debut in the 2m3f handicap hurdle at 2.00pm. He was claimed from France by his owner after he finished second at Fontainebleau last time. He has just had the three runs over hurdles in France and he improved with each start. He has settled in well since arriving and while we are still learning about him, I think he has a chance today off a fair handicap mark if 103. We have put a tongue strap on him for the first time and Philip Armson rides.

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Paricolor 2nd At Cheltenham 

There are three jumps meetings today at Kempton, Warwick and Wetherby and the stable has two runners at Warwick.  Ocean Heights runs in the opening contest on the card, a two mile novices handicap hurdle at 12.40pm.  Six horses were originally declared for the race but the likely favourite was already made a non-runner yesterday which leads a field of five.  Ocean Heights is a bumper winner and ran well for us on the flat but has yet to show much in his starts over hurdles.  This is his first start in a handicap off 95 and you would hope he would be better than this although I am just a little worried about the ground.  Tom Scu rides and hopefully he can take a step in the right direction and improve on what he has shown to date.

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