Cheltenham Festival 2018

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Entries & Recent Form

The stable enjoyed a couple of nice winners last week courtesy of Tobacco Road and What A Moment . It was fantastic to get on the board at the first time of asking at Cheltenham’s November meeting, a fixture at which the stable has so often excelled in the past. The horses continue to run well and there were a number of other notable performances too, none more so than the brave performance of Starchitect in the big one itself – it really was a close of so near, yet so far.

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The good form of the stable continued last week with the successes of Red Square Revival and Dell’ Arca at Plumpton and Newbury respectively, while there were a number of other creditable performances. With the November meeting at Cheltenham taking place this week and a whole host of other big races on the horizon, it is certainly a very exciting time of the season and with the horses in good order there is plenty to look forward to.

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Last week was a very good one for the stable with the successes of Saint John Henry, Starchitect and Daklondike, while there were also a number of creditable placed efforts. It was certainly a relief to get back on the board to end a frustrating spell during which time the horses by and large had been running respectably without quite getting their heads in front. As I alluded to in my blog last week, from now until the end of April is the core part of the season that we tend to focus primarily upon and as such, it is good to see the horses in good order.

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It was great to be back racing at the headquarters of British jumping at the weekend. The first meeting of the season at Cheltenham took place on Saturday and Sunday and with the Tattersalls Horses In Training Sales and a busy entry book for the week ahead, this time of year certainly marks an upturn in pace at Pond House.

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Well we all survived storm Brian here at Pond House relatively unscathed!!  The weather was quite rough and high winds brought down a few branches and we had over 30mm of rain but there was not too much to complain about in the grand scale of things and the normal daily routine was carried out with no problems.

Bambi Du Noyer could not follow up his win at Exeter but ran okay to finish fourth.  Unfortunately the rain had really got into the ground by the time of his race and that combined with the step up in distance all went against him.  He had to run as he was due to go up 11 pounds in the handicap and it does mean life will be tougher for him in the future.  I am sure back on some better ground he is capable of running well again as he is a trier.  Red Square Revival ran another solid race to finish third at Wincanton on Friday.  I am pleased he has put together two good efforts in a row and hopefully he can build on this next time.  He jumped well and looked the winner turning out of the back straight but got quite tired from 3 out and did not appear to stay the 3m1f.  We will probably look for a 2m4-2m6f chase next time.

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Last week was a busy one both on and off the course. We were joined by a number of visitors including jockeys (past and present), reporters, photographers and even racegoers so there was plenty to keep us occupied. Meanwhile the week was topped off by the facile success of Bambi du Noyer at Exeter.

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It is one of those thankless tasks that is never going to leave everybody completely satisfied so you have to feel a little sorry for the race planning committee. Even so, with eight jumps fixtures scheduled for this week, it is a bit of a mystery as to why there is no action over the sticks until Wednesday. Consequently it is a quiet start to the week as far as Pond House runners goes, although we do have plenty of entries for the remainder of the week.

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I was pleased to see Newton Abbot survive an early morning inspection following a soggy weekend and it means that with four runners at the Devon track today (Monday), and another at Stratford it is a busy start to the week. Indeed, with a number of further entries later in the week, following a quiet spell on the racing front it is good to see things beginning to pick up.

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There is certainly a mixed bag of weather about at the moment! While the sun has been shining in the south west over the past few days (and is set fair again for the majority of this week) there have been deluges in the north of England and Scotland culminating in the abandonment of Ayr’s feature three day Gold Cup meeting last week as well as Hamilton’s card today. With a similar scenario echoed around other parts of the country too (Huntingdon’s Arab card was lost to the elements on Saturday) we are certainly going to have to keep a close eye on the prevailing ground at the forthcoming meetings.

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Without wishing to sound too clichéd, a week is a long time in racing so a year can seem more like an eternity! That is why I was more than a little surprised to look through the calendar this week and realise that it is approaching the first anniversary of our partnership with forward thinking recycling specialists National W&S Recycling Services as our yard sponsors. I would like to take this opportunity to thank proprietor Geoff Thompson and his team for their continued support and look forward to continuing our association for the coming season and beyond.

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