NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sat Nov 17
Cheltenham, Uttoxeter, Wetherby
Sun Nov 18
Cheltenham, Fontwell
Sun Nov 18
Goffs November Sale

Entries & Recent Form

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.

Monday saw us joined by Racing Post reporter Steve Dennis who was interviewing me for the ever popular Stable Tour series which began today. You can read about the Pond House inmates and our hopes for the season ahead in our feature which will be appearing in Wednesday’s edition. Award winning photographer Ed Whitaker was down a little later in the week to provide the pictures for the feature and having seen some of the images that will be used, it is sure to be beautifully illustrated.

On Thursday morning Tom Scudamore joined us to ride out and he was accompanied by his father, eight times champion jockey Peter (pictured right). It was great to see Peter – he really doesn’t seem to alter at all. He was reunited with Paul Leach who was stable jockey at Pond House before Peter and who was putting the finishing touches to his preparation for Chepstow’s Legends race.

Speaking of which, although unsuccessful in the Chepstow race I know that Paul had a fabulous time in the race won by Sam Thomas. Everyone involved should be tremendously proud of their fund-raising efforts for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust which raised over £25,000. Indeed, Paul alone raised in excess of £5,000 and that makes him a winner in our eyes! Very well done on a fabulous effort.

On Saturday we were joined by the annual members of Kelso racecourse. It is a fair old trek for Kelso to Pond House, but the group were with us nice and early to take a look around the yard and see the horses in action on the gallops before enjoying a nice bacon sarnie and then departing for the races at Chepstow. It was a pleasure to see them all and I hope that everyone enjoyed their visit and gleaned an insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes of a busy National Hunt yard.

Onto the runners from last week and I was delighted to hit the mark at Exeter on Thursday with Bambi du Noyer in the 2m1f conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle. Given a patient ride from Michael Heard, he made stealthy progress in the straight to join issue at the penultimate hurdle and despite a mistake there, he kept on very resolutely to score by an impressive 11 lengths. He had performed creditably since joining the Pond House team and certainly deserved to get his head in front. Michael Heard certainly seems lucky for owners Jimmy Hack Racing Partners for whom he had also won aboard Border Breaker. Bambi is due an 11lbs rise in the weights for this success so he is likely to be running again sooner rather than later and has a choice of engagements coming up this week.

There were promising efforts too from Timeforben and Daklondike at Newton Abbot on Friday. Timeforben was making her Pond House debut in the bumper following success in an Irish point-to-point last season and performed well in third place. The nature of the track would not necessarily play to her strengths and she will certainly appreciate further in time so this has to be considered a pleasing effort and will make a nice mare over hurdles and eventually fences.

Daklondike meanwhile, looked to be staying on in the closing stages on his first start over fences in the novices’ handicap chase when he was hampered at the penultimate fence, eventually finishing fourth. He will have learned an awful lot for this first start over fences and can only improve with experience.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of one of the old Pond House stalwarts, Stormez last week. Stormez was a wonderful servant for the late David Johnson and his family and while he was only the size of a pony, he won plenty of races both over hurdles and fences. During his racing career, Lucie (who looked after him throughout his retirement) would send packets of polos to the yard just for her beloved Stormez to enjoy.

Finally, there was tragic news from the races when a member of Amanda Perrett’s stable staff appeared to have been kicked in the head by a horse in the stables at Kempton on Saturday night. Ken Dooley, who had been with the Pulborough team for seven years died of his injuries on Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues at this terribly sad time. It is yet another reminder of the risks that are taken on a daily basis by the stable staff and riders’ alike as they devote themselves to their beloved horses.

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