NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Wed Aug 15
Newton Abbot, Worcester
Wed Aug 15
Thu Aug 16

Entries & Recent Form

Last week was a quiet one on the runners front with only four racecourse representatives, although I am pleased to report that they all ran well without exception with the success of Rathlin Rose (pictured above) in the veteran’s handicap chase at Ascot on Sunday the highlight of the week. I have long advocated these races – the horses are great favourites with racegoers and they provide a lucrative pot for these grand old stagers to compete for without fear of a potential improver lurking at the foot of the weights.

Rathlin Rose has been a real star down the years and he once again did the Pond House team proud on Sunday at Ascot. He overcame an early scare when almost brought down at the first by the fall of Theatre Guide but after that he was very assured at his fences and travelled into the race beautifully, taking up the running at the penultimate fence. He was clever at the last despite not meeting it on the best stride and scooted up the run-in to score a shade cosily from this mark of 128. There are a number of options open to him; he could contest the Becher Chase at Aintree, the Scottish National at Ayr or the Bet365 Chase at Sandown on the last day of the season. He has been a wonderful servant and it would be no surprise to see him turn up for the final of the veteran’s series at his favourite track, Sandown in January.

Earlier in the week Warthog was far from disgraced on his handicap debut at Wetherby on Tuesday. He travelled very well on this return to three miles and looked to hold every chance at the last, although he was unable to reel in the winner. An opening mark of 127 looked stiff enough, but he more than showed enough to suggest that he will be winning sooner rather than later. A winning point-to-pointer in Ireland, he has the size and scope for fences and it would not be difficult to envisage him making a better chaser in time.

Garran City also filled the runner-up spot in the maiden hurdle at Chepstow on Wednesday. On and off the bridle throughout, he looked the likeliest winner between the final two flights, only to narrowly get collared close home. Nevertheless, this was a promising second performance following a long lay-off and he remains a nice prospect. Another former winning Irish point-to-pointer, he looks certain to benefit from a step-up in trip and will make a smashing staying chaser for the future. On the same card Great Tempo produced a much better effort when a close third in the 2m3½f handicap hurdle. He has plenty of ability that so far we have been unable to unlock since his debut success for the stable, but this was much more like it. Hopefully, he can build on this effort and we can find something similar for him before too long.

Looking to this week, it is a busy afternoon at Taunton with no less than six runners, although those will be our last before Thursday at the earliest. The aforementioned Great Tempo holds an entry at Wetherby on Thursday, while promising bumper performer Just Midas is engaged at Towcester on the same afternoon.

At the weekend, Saturday marks the finals day of the Challenger series at Haydock and we have Abracadabra Sivola, former winner Lady Of Longstone and Three Star General entered there. Saturday also marks the return of Newton Abbot with their first fixture of 2018. It is a great little track that I am always delighted to support. They put on some great prize money during the course of the summer and I have Mister Drifter, Dell’ Arca and Whitley Neill entered there.

On Sunday Saint John Henry and Whitley Neill are entered at Ffos Las, while promising novice hurdler Friday Night Light is engaged in the Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton , also on Sunday. With another cold and wet spell forecast from midweek onward, we will keep an eye on the ground as well as the results of the routine tests before deciding where we run. As usual, for all the latest news from the yard, you can keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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