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Above: Mr Big Shot will be entered at Aintree

Although the weather has been horrendous during the past few weeks forcing the abandonment of several meetings and causing bottomless ground at others, we were still able to enjoy a bit of racing that bookended the beginning and end of the last seven days. Though we were unable to notch a winner, we achieved several placings with Delface finishing runner-up at Taunton last Monday, while Tobacco Road, River Dun and Abracadabra Sivola all finished fourth, the last named in the final of the Challenger staying chase series.

With 130mm of rainfall for the month of March (compared with 50mm this time last year) it was the wettest March at Pond House since 2001. Indeed, with 308mm of rain so far this year we have had over double the rainfall compared with the first quarter last year and this has been the wettest start to the year since 2007. That shows with the decimated fixture list, with this Bank Holiday Monday’s turf fixtures all lost to the elements which is a great pity as I was looking forward to having three runners at Chepstow this afternoon.

With Wincanton’s Tuesday fixture already abandoned and Wednesday a blank day on the jumping front, the next possible runners from Pond House could come at Warwick on Thursday where we have Dell’ Arca and Garran City engaged. Garran City has produced two highly satisfactory efforts since returning from a lay-off and now richly deserves to get his head in front – hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.

Looking further ahead, recent Taunton runner-up Delface is entered at Wetherby on Friday, while Great Tempo could go to Fontwell on the same afternoon. Whitley Neill is entered in the maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter on Saturday; with I’m Always Trying and Saint John Henry also holding engagements on the card. We have entries for Delface, Great Tempo and Garran City at Carlisle on Sunday, while Mister Drifter, I’m Always Trying, Timeforben and Martabot could go to Exeter, also on Sunday. Of course, all future plans need to remain fluid (a bit like the weather!) until we know the state of the ground at each track, or if they are able to host their fixtures at all.

The guys from Aintree braved the elements on Saturday to come down to dress our National style fences ahead of the forthcoming Grand National fixture which is now less than a fortnight away. The fences are available for the other trainers in the area to come down and utilise. The National fences are a tremendous asset to the yard and the horses get plenty of practice over them. With other such fences at the Curragh in Ireland, Lambourn and Malton, there is plenty of opportunity for possible runners to get their eyes in before the big event.

Talking of Aintree, hopefully we will be able to enjoy some better ground for the likes of Vaniteux, King’s Socks, Moon Racer and Mr Big Shot (pictured above) who will all have entries at the Grand National meeting.

Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to Lynne Clarke and the team at Racing Welfare for organising a quiz night at the Beambridge on Tuesday 17th April. It is a competition for all racing staff in the West Country and I know that a few of my team have already been discussing it and are looking forward to it. The efforts of Racing Welfare to help the staff as well as organise enjoyable social opportunities is very much appreciated and we are all extremely grateful.

Hopefully the rain will subside long enough for us to have a few runners and you can keep up to date with news on those as well as any other stable gossip by reading Chester’s Daily Chat or following us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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