NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sun Sep 23
Plumpton, Uttoxeter
Tue Sep 25
Warwick
Wed Sep 26
Perth

Entries & Recent Form

As I mentioned last week, many of the Pond House residents are now out to grass for their summer holidays. The first batch are already starting to fill out and have subsequently been followed by further holiday makers, either out to the paddocks at the yard, or back home to their owners, while there will be yet more to follow over the coming weeks. As you can see from the picture above, they have been enjoying plenty of sunshine and bar a few showers around midweek; by and large it is looking like another glorious week.

Of course, as I have already alluded to, that is not entirely good news for the racecourses, some of whom are having to water to maintain good ground, while some others who are not so fortunate to as to have advanced watering systems are offering good/firm going. It really has been a case of going from the sublime to the ridiculous following on from the bottomless ground we endured all winter. The warm spell is certainly going to take a toll on field sizes at meetings where the ground is riding on the quicker side.

Consequently, we only have a handful of entries this week and the prospect of even fewer runners. We have no runners at Towcester this afternoon, while Tuesday will also be a blank day. Easter Eric is our sole entry on Wednesday (he holds engagements at both Southwell and Warwick), although he is also entered at Ffos las on Saturday. He will be contesting a bumper somewhere soon, although he will be wanting a little bit of rain to get into the ground.

Thursday sees no jumps fixtures at all in Britain, although on Friday recent Exeter winner Whitley Neill is engaged at Worcester along with Orchard Thieves and Lady Of Longstone. Should the ground remain quick, it is very unlikely that either of the aforementioned pair will run, although this is Lady Of Longstone’s favoured surface and she clearly likes the track having won there three times in the past.

Timeforben was a winner at Kempton on soft going last month, although she had won her point-to-point in Ireland on good ground. She is entered in a novices’ handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter on Sunday. Vaniteux is also entered on the card in the Clarke Chase run in memory of Lord and Lady Clarke who were such wonderful supporters of the stable through the years. This represents a step-up in trip for Vaniteux but he looks worth a try at it and he will certainly get his ground, a comment that also applies to Purple ‘N Gold who is entered in the handicap hurdle later on the card.

We will wait and see what amounts from the forecast rainfall later in the week before making any ‘firm’ running plans, although you can keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat.

I was interested to learn of the BHA’s latest initiative which could result in a ‘stand-down’ period for any horse that falls in a race.  At present they are gathering a ‘statistical base to analyse’.  Statistics are fine, but they can always be interpreted in a number of different ways.  There are so many other factors to be considered.  As a licenced and professional trainer, the wellbeing of the horse is always foremost in my mind and I would not dream of running a horse that I deemed to be less than 100%.

Finally, I went to the point-to-point at Bratton Down yesterday for what is a rare visit nowadays, although it was a happy hunting ground back during my time as a point-to-point trainer. I was pleased to see a few old faces about, none more so than Consigliere who was a smashing hurdler/chaser at Pond House for many years. Now a spritely 15 year old, he continues to show incredible zest and has not finished out of the frame in 20 starts since retiring from racing under rules. His win on Sunday marked his final race and he will now enjoy a more sedate retirement – a great favourite during his time at Pond House, we wish him a happy and well-deserved retirement.

Despite the lull in racing owing to the prevailing ground, there is plenty to keep us all busy with the usual housekeeping chores of a busy racing yard. Meanwhile the kids will no doubt be keeping me busy the following week when they embark on half-term!

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