NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Fri Sep 21
Newton Abbot
Sun Sep 23
Plumpton, Uttoxeter
Tue Sep 25

Entries & Recent Form

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.

Indeed, the earlier rainfall means that there is abundance of lovely grazing for the horses and we turned the first batch out for their summer holidays at the weekend. Combine that with the beautiful sunshine and they are in for a lovely time. Of course, I won’t be happy until they are safely back in their stables at the end of their holidays - these are tense moments as any trainer will testify and it never ceases to amaze how easily these thoroughbred athletes can pick up silly niggles.

Of those still in training, we had several runners last week and by and large they performed creditably without quite getting their heads in front. Vaniteux produced a better effort than of late when finishing third at Kempton last Monday. He travelled well but could not go with the first two in the closing stages – he was conceding lumps of weight so he was far from disgraced and could be worth a try over further. These are his ground conditions so he will be kept on the go for now.

Mrs Miggins produced a promising first effort over timber when third in the mares’ maiden hurdle at Exeter. Her jumping wasn’t as fluent as it had been in her schooling at home, so there is certainly room for improvement there and she will also benefit from a longer trip in time. She is a lovely mare who should be winning over timber before too long.

Great Tempo posted a good first run over fences when third at Worcester on Thursday. He is not the biggest, but jumped these largely obstacles economically bar the last couple and there are races in him if he can build on this. There is no denying the ability is there, although he is not perhaps the most straight forward individual.

Timeforben travelled like the best horse for much of the way in the mares’ novices’ handicap hurdle at Southwell on Sunday but could muster only the one pace in the closing stages. She was a good winner at Kempton on her previous outing and she remains reasonably treated so I am hopeful she can return to winning ways.

Looking to the week ahead and there are no runners from the Pond House team today (Monday), although we will have three runners tomorrow; Celestial Path and Shell Crystal at Wincanton and Ilovemints at Southwell. Celestial Path has shown some smart form on the level, although he is yet to reach such heights over timber. He takes a step-up in trip to 2m5½f tomorrow and he would be a danger to all if getting the extra distance. Shell Crystal, a homebred with a lovely pedigree contests the mares’ bumper on the card, although it looks a deep race with no fewer than 17 engaged.

Over at Southwell, Ilovemints has to carry top-weight in the mares’ handicap hurdle. She took a step forward when third in a novices’ event at Chepstow last time and looks like she will get this longer trip. David Noonan will ride for the Value Racing Club.

We have a few entries at Newton Abbot on Wednesday, including Orchard Thieves who finished a promising runner-up in an Irish point-to-point that has worked out nicely. He is engaged in the novices’ hurdle and has been ready to go for a while and he will be seen out shortly, if not here. In the bumper we have Dusky Hercules (a half-brother to classy chaser Black Hercules) and Glen Vine who is a son of our Imperial Cup, Cheltenham Festival winning mare, Gaspara. Glen Vine is also engaged at Uttoxeter on Saturday night, along with Easter Eric (who also holds an entry at Stratford on Sunday), although unless there are a few showers to ease the ground, the participation of all of those entered later in the week is unlikely. As usual, we will examine the routine tests, ground and opposition before deciding on those runners and full running details can be found in Chester’s Daily Chat.

Finally, I would like to congratulate all involved with the production of ITV Racing who scooped a BAFTA at last night’s ceremony for their coverage of the Grand National. Ed Chamberlain, Sir Anthony McCoy, Luke Harvey and dare I say it, Matt Chapman (among others) certainly make for entertaining viewing. Of course, there are plenty of others that work tirelessly and anonymously behind the lens to bring the coverage to us. Any recognition of our sport on a national scale has to be a good thing, so well done to everybody involved on a fantastic job.

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