NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sat Nov 09
Aintree, Kelso, Wincanton
Sun Nov 10
Ffos Las, Sandown
Mon Nov 11
Carlisle, Kempton, Stratford

Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form

There is a saying that ‘good things come to those who wait’ and that adage proved to be the case at Chepstow on Wednesday when Kepagge (pictured above) ran out a timely winner of the bumper for long-standing patron Sarah Ling.

Sarah, her brother and sister (John and Anne) and her parents before them have had horses at Pond House since the 1980’s and some of you may recall that the famous blue and white colours were carried to victory in many big races aboard the top class chaser Beau Ranger.  They have been marvellous people to be associated with; loyal and patient…a trainer really couldn’t ask for more.

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October certainly proved to be somewhat damp with 145mm of rain falling at Pond House last month alone.  Strangely, it produced an incredible variance in the going from racecourse to racecourse, with Newton Abbot having to abandon their final fixture of the season last Thursday due to waterlogging, whilst the ground at Taunton’s first meeting on Wednesday saw ground that was officially described as good (good/firm in places).

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Cheltenham was back with their first meeting of the new season at the weekend and it was great to get on the board with our first runner; Ramses de Teillee (pictured above). I am always pleased of a winner wherever it may, although there is still something extra special about having a winner at Prestury Park. It remains the benchmark for everyone to aspire to, so to be there competing and succeeding is extremely satisfying.

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The stable enjoyed a great weekend when recording a double at Ffos Las’s Welsh Champion Hurdle meeting on Saturday, marking a triumphant return to the saddle for stable jockey Tom Scudamore who had been on the sidelines since breaking his wrist and T7 vertabrae in a fall on 10th September. These successes were no less significant as they consolidated our place in the top five of the trainers’ championship and I remain very pleased with the form of the stable. As the jumps campaign continues to build momentum with the opening fixture of Cheltenham’s season getting underway this coming Friday, there are few better times to have the horses in tip-top order.

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The excitement is mounting as the core part of the jumps season is now upon us. For me, growing up, the season proper would always get underway with Chepstow’s October meeting being the first one covered by the Beeb. Whilst the BBC no longer covers the fixture, it is good to see ITV picking up the baton by covering some of the meeting. The meeting at the Welsh track is always a high quality one and marks the point where the horses you will be watching throughout the winter begin to come out and I was delighted to be amongst the winners at the fixture.

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The unsettled weather conditions mean that it has been very difficult trying to get an accurate gauge on the ground and therefore we were limited to just one racecourse representative on the flat at Bath last Monday. Indeed, last month was the wettest September we have had since we began recording the rainfall at Pond House in 2001. With 100mm of rain here during the 30 day period things have gone somewhat from the sublime to the ridiculous and it is hardly surprising that our local track Newton Abbot were forced to abandon their jumps fixture last Monday due to waterlogging. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Huntingdon seemed to have avoided the precipitation altogether with their fixture last Wednesday held on good ground.

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Following a quiet start to the week, the action came thick and fast from Friday onwards! We attended the McCoy Awards at Cheltenham on Friday evening where our own Suzanne Lower was nominated for an award (more of that later!), whilst our first runners from the stable came at Worcester earlier that day.

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Last week was a quiet one with only a handful of runners, our first not coming until Newton Abbot on Friday and it looks like being a similar story this week. Indeed, with only limited opportunities early and a couple or midweek fixtures at Perth, Britain’s most northerly track, the next runners from the Pond House team may not be until Worcester on Friday.

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Like any sport and life in general there are ups and downs and horse racing is no exception. Last week was a tough one. We began with high hopes last Monday but it ended in tragedy with the loss of Timeforben and Noel’s Boy at Newton Abbot. Both were freak accidents with no one to blame, these things do happen, it was just particularly sad and very unusual for it to happen twice on the same day. Monday proved to be one of the hardest days I have ever had on the racecourse. My thoughts and sympathies are with their owners and my staff for whom it has been particularly difficult, especially Debbie and Bex who looked after them. These horses become members of our extended families and an empty stable the next day is one of the worst feelings in the world. The yard had a sombre feel to it the next day but we have some fond memories to cherish.

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      Stream Lady has taken to Fences

We were fairly quiet on the runners front last week with only a jumps card at the northerly venue of Hexham on Monday, no jumps fixtures at all on Tuesday and Friday and a dearth of runners at Sedgefield last Thursday (where there were just twenty runners in total throughout their final six races) due primarily to the prevailing fast ground.  We more than make up for it today with in fact six runners at two meetings.  Stream Lady has headed to Perth where she looks to follow up her victory at Sedgefield last time.  She seems to have improved for a switch to the larger obstacles and her jumping is her biggest asset.  She faces two rivals this afternoon (after one non-runner this morning) and fingers crossed she looks to have a good chance with David Noonan in the saddle although we would have preferred the rain to have stayed away! 

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