We truly are in the middle of a great British sporting summer and I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the Olympics because Chester has gone on about those enough already, other than to say that the Opening Ceremony was spectacular (even if it would have left a great proportion of the rest of the world scratching their heads!) and that I will be cheering on Team GB over the coming couple of weeks.



It was a good weekend for the yard with a one-two in the 2m5f handicap hurdle at Market Rasen on Saturday courtesy of recent recruit Premier Dane and old favourite Raslan.  Premier Dane, who has been a high class horse down the years (indeed he is a multiple winner on the flat, over hurdles and fences and was placed in the County Hurdle at the 2007 Cheltenham Festival) made a pleasing start on his debut since joining Pond House with a determined success.  Unsurprisingly he was very keen on his first start in almost fourteen months but that didn’t stop him seeing his race out well from stable companion Raslan who was given a very enterprising ride by Timmy Murphy.


Although we had a few runners through the week on the flat (with War Singer running a promising first race on the level in this country), we waited until the weekend for some better ground for our jumpers, with runners at Southwell and Stratford.


It’s been a dramatic week on the sporting front with the Wimbledon Finals taking place alongside the British Grand Prix and we had a bit of drama of our own at Worcester last Wednesday!  Unfortunately Qalinas missed a winning opportunity in the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle with a shuddering mistake two out with the race seemingly at his mercy.

Ironically enough he jumped the flight extremely well but just knuckled on landing.  His nose hit the ground and he did well to stand up, however it cost him all momentum and having gone into the hurdle 6 lengths clear, he came out of it about 4 lengths down.  Although he closed valiantly on the winner all the way to the line he was unable to get back up and finished a very unlucky second under Tom Bellamy.  He is certainly deserving of a change of luck and hopefully he will be able to get a win against his name before too long.

It just goes to illustrate the downs and ups of racing as only half an hour later we enjoyed a change of fortune with the success of Decoy in the handicap hurdle under an enterprising ride from Tom Scudamore.  Tom managed to nick a few lengths on him at the start and he never relinquished that advantage despite appearing to idle a little in the closing stages.

Talking of winners, I am hopeful that our latest purchases from the Arqana Summer Sales at Deauville last week are able to follow in the footsteps of their illustrious stablemates Grands Crus, Gevrey Chambertin, Kazlian, Dynaste and co. who have also gone under the Arqana hammer.  We came back with some very nice store horses as well as a multiple winning hurdler and chaser in Garynella.

The trip to France for the Summer Sales has turned into something of an annual excursion and I cannot deny that I always look forward to it.  We are regularly joined by a number of friends and we have a great time at the excellent hotels sampling some great food and drink among wonderful company…roll on next year!

MiinneComplyAbove: Miinnehoma (left) pictured with Comply Or Die at a recent Pond House Open Day

I am greatly saddened to inform you that we have lost one Pond House legend as 1994 Grand National winner Miinnehoma passed away peacefully of old age at the weekend – he was 29.  He was the oldest living winner of the world’s greatest steeplechase and was a regular at Aintree for the popular parade of former winners.

During his career Miinnehoma, who was owned by comedy genius Freddie Starr, won eleven of his twenty five starts including the Listed Philip Cornes Sadle of Gold Hurdle at Newbury in 1990 (where he slammed subsequent Champion Chaser Remittance Man by 12 lengths), the Grade One Sun Alliance Chase (beating Bradbury Star and stablemate Run For Free) at the 1992 Cheltenham Festival and the Grade Two Newton Chase at Haydock in 1995.  He was also placed in other top races including the Welsh National and Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he will always be most famously remembered for providing my father with his Grand National victory under Richard Dunwoody.  He was a wonderful old horse – a real character and he remained at the yard under the care of our former head lad until the very end…he was a great champion and will be missed by all associated with him.

Talking of great champions, I enjoyed the Wimbledon finals at the weekend and while it was a shame that Andy Murray couldn’t win that last match he has done extremely well to reach the final 76 years after the last British man.  Roger Federer and Serena Williams are both extremely deserving multiple champions and should be congratulated on their seventh and fifth (respectively) singles titles.

Sadly the Brits weren’t able to manage it at Silverstone either, but it just goes to demonstrate the indomitable spirit of the British public as they put up with downpours all weekend to support the home drivers.    The British race goer is cut from much the same cloth(and let’s face it, they need to be) – despite Newton Abbot being cancelled today, I am hoping that we will have some runners at Worcester on Wednesday if they can survive the elements.  Failing that good ex-French flat performer War Singer is engaged on the level at Newbury on Friday, while we also have entries at Market Rasen on Sunday.  You can keep up to date with all of the latest news on the stable’s runners by checking Chester’s Daily Chat…


It was certainly a good effort by Too Generous to force a dead heat in the mares’ bumper at Worcester last Wednesday and in the process record our tenth win of the season.  Having looked beaten with a quarter of a mile to go, she fought on bravely under Tom Scudamore to share the spoils with Blue Article, the pair of them seventeen lengths clear of the third.  The principals looked like two decent types for this time of year and with her willing attitude Too Generous would appear to have a bright future ahead of her.  She is currently for sale and further details can be obtained by contacting my office on 01884 840715.



Reflecting back on the last week, it has been fairly quiet in terms of runners for the yard but it has still been fairly hectic! Myself, Leanne, mum and dad all enjoyed a great day out at Royal Ascot on Tuesday. It was amazing to be there and see a hugely amazing performance from the mighty Frankel. I have never seen a horse win a Group 1 race by so far and he accelerated away from the rest of the field making them look very slow and ordinary when in fact they are all high quality horses in their own right! It was a terrific atmosphere at the course and was just a great thrill to be part of the day. Our runners in the Ascot Stakes ran with great credit. Fiulin travelled well but just did not seem to last out the trip and was eased by Richard Hughes when his chance had gone. Ashbrittle finished eighth and we were pleased with him. He was badly hampered about two furlongs out and jockey Paul Hanagan said he did well to stay on his feet. He ran on really well to the line but was not able to reach the leaders. He could well have finished in the first four had he not received this interference and he may now mix outings on the flat and over hurdles throughout the summer.



While there was no racing on Sunday I donned my cricketing whites to play for Tom Scu’s cricket team who were playing for charity against local side Culmstock. This was the 4th year of the event in aid of the South West Children’s Hospice and despite a couple of heavy rain downpours we managed to complete the game in good spirits and raise some money. Also on our team were Michael Scudamore, Warren Greaterex and his two children, who were the best players by far! Jockeys Joe Tizzard, Sam Thomas, Charlie Huxley and Tom Bellamy were also in the line up. We batted first and coming to the crease at number 6 I scored 15 runs before being caught out! As you can see from the photo, son Jack consoled me as I came off the field! We set a target of 158 which was quite respectable with a shortened over’s game because of the rain interruption. I bowled a few over’s and had no luck with a wicket although I did make a catch while fielding out in the deep! We unfortunately lost as the home team reached are target with a few over’s to spare but a great afternoon was had by all and I am already looking forward to next year!



As I alluded to last week, the inclement weather is certainly playing havoc for the racecourses and us trainers alike.  It can mean only one thing – Wimbledon is just around the corner!  Seriously though, with 79mm of rain falling at Pond House over the first ten days of June, that already equals the total amount of rainfall that we had for the month of January (when you expect it to be wet and miserable!).


The recent unsettled weather is certainly playing havoc with the summer ground.  After a prolonged warm and dry spell it hasn’t stopped raining here since Saturday night – we measured 18mm over the weekend and I know that plenty of other places throughout the country have had considerably more.  That makes the life of ground staff at the racecourses particularly difficult as they try to prepare the tracks for forthcoming meetings and I do sympathise with them as they have a thankless task trying to please everyone.



It’s been a quiet week on the racing front with runners at Newton Abbot last Monday, Towcester on Tuesday and Worcester on Wednesday, but with relatively few jumps fixtures taking place and the ground firming up by the day there have been precious few other opportunities.  Nevertheless we have made the most of the chances that have presented themselves with a double at Towcester courtesy of Barton Stacey and Bathwick Man and a further success at Worcester with Broadway Buffalo.