NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Mon Jun 18
Goffs London Sale
Tue Jun 19
Stratford
Wed Jun 20
Uttoxeter

Entries & Recent Form

Last week was a quiet one for the stable with just three runners, but things are already looking busier for the week ahead with three runners today and plenty of entries for the remainder. Indeed, the pressure doesn’t get much more intense than at Worcester on Monday when my partner Leanne makes debut as an owner with recent recruit Ardmillan.

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Although the summer season is traditionally a quieter time for us, there is still plenty to keep us occupied and as you will no doubt be aware, I was at Doncaster Sales the week before last and was pleased with my new additions to the yard. Furthermore, with each of them now having an owner, I was able to further bolster the numbers at Pond House with a consignment of three horses secured privately as well as another three exciting types from last week’s Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Sales. Add to that a couple of winners on the racing front and it has certainly been a productive time for the stable.

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    Orchard Thieves Winner at Worcester

We haven’t had many runners in the last week but I was delighted to have our first winner of the season at Worcester on Friday evening.  Orchard Thieves got us off the mark in the 2m7f novice hurdle with Tom Scu in the saddle.  This was his first run for Pond House, in fact it was his first run for over 800 days so it was particularly pleasing.  I bought him at the Cheltenham sales back in 2016 after he finished second in an Irish point to point.  This bit of form has worked out to be quite decent but Orchard Thieve has had a few problems since and it was brilliant he was able to reward the patience of owners Garth and Anne Broom.  They were at first just delighted to get to get him on the racecourse and the icing on the cake was him to actually win!  He has always shown quite a lot of ability at home and it was nice he could show this on the track.  He is a lovely big chasing type for the future and the good news is that he has come out of that race okay.   He will now have a little holiday and he is one to look forward to in the winter.

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As I mentioned last week, many of the Pond House residents are now out to grass for their summer holidays. The first batch are already starting to fill out and have subsequently been followed by further holiday makers, either out to the paddocks at the yard, or back home to their owners, while there will be yet more to follow over the coming weeks. As you can see from the picture above, they have been enjoying plenty of sunshine and bar a few showers around midweek; by and large it is looking like another glorious week.

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With the long-awaited break in the clouds now upon us, the weather looks set fair for the next week (and hopefully beyond!) and while that is not great news on the racing front with the ground altering from one extreme to another (just ask the officials at Plumpton who had to abandon their two previous meetings due to waterlogging, only to have to water the course to get the go ahead for yesterday’s fixture), it is good news for the horses who are now out of training and embarking on their summer holidays.

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As always these days, the new jumps season follows hot on the heels of the old and I am pleased to get underway once again. Our first runners of the new campaign came at Towcester on Sunday with Midnight Magic and Iniciar representing the stable. Midnight Magic lost all chance when whipping around at the start – he was beaten less than the ground conceded so the ability is clearly there. This was the first sign of any quirks and he is worth another chance. Iniciar was having his first start over timber for almost two years and he would have been considerably closer but for a couple of untidy jumps.

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        Whitley Neill Winner at Exeter

I was in Ireland on Saturday when both sides of the Irish Sea concluded their jumps seasons.  Congratulations to Champion Trainers Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins, Champion jockeys Richard Johnson and Davy Russell, Champion conditional James Bowen and Champion owners J P McManus and Gigginstown House Stud.   Although the titles over here were secured well in advance the Irish trainer’s championship went right down to the wire and provided extra spice for a great week of racing at Punchestown.  Gordon Elliott has had a fantastic season but Willie had an amazing week with 18 winners and nearly 1.5 million Euros in prize money.  While we have a few days break from jumps racing over here the Irish kick off straight away with action at Kilbeggan this evening.  I have no doubt that Gordon will be Champion trainer over there one day but it is sure to be another titanic battle again this time around as Willie will be as equally determined to retain his crown. 

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The final week of the 2017/18 National Hunt season is now upon us and I am pleased to be heading for the new campaign with the horses in good order. The victory of Moon Racer (pictured above) last week at Ayr and the good performances of Taj Badalandabad and Dell’ Arca at Cheltenham illustrate the decent form of the yard at the end of what has been a frustrating season.

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Aintree’s Grand National fixture certainly served up a treat for racing fans with three days of excellent action despite the ground remaining extremely testing owing to the persistent rain. It was a good week for the stable too, with three winners on the week, including the success of Mr Big Shot (pictured above) in the first race at Aintree on National day. I am pleased to report that all of our runners returned safe and sound and with plenty more decent opportunities coming over the last fortnight of the season, we will continue to press on.

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It is the start of an exciting week with Aintree’s Grand National fixture kicking off on Thursday. Weather depending, we will be having a few runners during the course of the three days, including some of those that were stuck in the mud at last month’s Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, with the ground currently ranging from good/soft to soft depending on whether it is the Mildmay chase or hurdle course or the National course itself, it is already considerably better than at Cheltenham and with a largely dry week forecast in the Liverpool area it has every chance of drying further still.

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