NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Mon Jan 21
Lingfield, Newcastle
Mon Jan 21
Sedgefield, Warwick
Tue Jan 22
Lingfield, Newcastle

Cheltenham Festival 2019

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Entries & Recent Form

          Time for the Top Hat again!

As I write this week’s blog we are on the eve of the biggest five days of the summer.  Indeed, for many racing fans, the five days of spectacular flat action at Royal Ascot are the highlight of the whole flat season.   I have been fortunate to have trained a Royal Ascot winner and it is an experience unlike any other.  I will be suited and booted in my top hat and tails and flying up again tomorrow (Tuesday) morning ahead of our runner in the Ascot Stakes.

Royal Ascot

Percy Street will be our representative this time around.  He has pleased me since we purchased him at the Doncaster Sales a few weeks’ ago, although I am under no illusion that this is going to be a tough test for him.  He will be stepping into the unkown when he tries the 2½ mile trip for the first time, but he is versatile with regard to ground and deserves to take his chance.  He is drawn widest of all in stall 20, so he will be somewhere in car park 6(!) – it may sound ridiculous in a staying race, but even in races such as these a lower draw is deemed advantageous.

As I have already mentioned, I won the race in 2010 with that great character Junior after going close with Mamlook previously, while my dad also won the race several times.  Just like most of the big handicaps though, they are becoming more and more competitive by the year and are almost glorified conditions races these days with only 9lbs separating top and bottom weight in this year’s 20 runner contest.  Indeed, Junior would not even have made the line-up from his 2010 rating of 85!

Looking Ahead

Looking to the rest of this week and there is no jumps action today, while we will have no National Hunt runners on Tuesday.  Skinflint is a likely participant at Uttoxeter on Wednesday where he is engaged in the 2m7½f novices’ handicap hurdle.  Ilovemints is also entered on the card, but she also holds entries at Ffos Las on Thursday and Market Rasen on Friday with the last named the likeliest target.

Iniciar is an intended runner at Ffos Las and the step-up to three miles certainly looks worth a try in the handicap hurdle there.  Delface and Irish Prince are other possible runners on the card.

Impulsive American will have his choice of three entries at Perth on Saturday for his Scottish owners Sean and Josie Tracey, while Delface and Celestial Path are engaged at Worcester on Sunday.  The forecast for the week is set fair and while that is good for sun worshippers, it does mean that we are going to have to keep an eye on the ground as some courses are likely to get quite firm.  As such, you can keep up to date with all the news on Pond House runners by reading Chester’s Daily Chat.

Run With Promise

Looking back to last week and we only had a handful of runners with Druide Premier faring best when finishing third in the bumper at Newton Abbot on Friday.  Our five year old brother to Dynaste shaped with plenty of promise under Stan Sheppard and he will certainly have learned from this experience on his racecourse debut.  We may well try him in another bumper but his future most definitely lies over hurdles and fences.

Clare’s Diary

Last week I brought you news of Clare Wyatt who will be participating in a charity flat race at Newton Abbot on 6th July in aid of Racing Welfare and I promised to keep you up to date as she builds up to her race riding debut…

It was a hectic week for Clare and she hasn’t had the opportunity to get as much practice as she would have hoped.  Indeed, a trip to the Land Rover Sales in County Kildare, Ireland where she was preparing horses for the sales ring and leading them up meant that she was away from Sunday until Wednesday.

She has been running at home, much to the amusement of her family, while she has still managed to fit in the odd session on the equicisor – much to the amusement of everyone else at the yard!  On the gallops she has been aboard regular mounts Lochinver, Drama King and Mrs Miggins to name but a few.

Clare was delighted when her other half, Paul donated £150 to her fundraising efforts, although she would love some more!  If you would like to donate to this fantastic cause, you can find further details here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clarewyattjockeydebut

Happy Retirement

Before I close, I have to bring you news of old favourite; Purple ‘N Gold who was retired after finishing fourth at Fontwell on Saturday.  Bought from a Kempton claimer he raced an impressive 80 times, winning on the level, over hurdles and fences.  Indeed, he won on 11 occasions and finished in the frame on a further 40 times, including in Listed company.  He has been brilliant for his owners Keith and Lynne Webb.  Keith claimed him himself for £8,000 in November 2012 and he has won over £98,000 in win and placed prize money.  He won as a two year old and then every year until he was an eight year old.  He never fell in 59 jump races and was my 1000th winner in course record time at Haydock, while he also gave jockey David Noonan his first winner under rules.  Keith and Lynne adore him and although only nine years old he is 80 and out and has told us that he has done enough.  He is going to have an active retirement which may include a run or two in a point to point based locally.  He is a lovely ‘person’ and a gentleman to ride on the gallops (although a monkey at times!) and has long been established as a favourite at Pond House.  We all wish him a long and happy retirement and he will always have a special place in our hearts.  Keith is now on the lookout for the next Purple but that could be easier said than done as we all appreciated one’s like him don’t come along that often.

                                Purple N Gold Retires - What a fantastic horse

Finally, talking of retired horses I am pleased to bring you a couple of pictures of former Pond House inmate, Standing Ovation sent in by one of his old owners, David Reid.  As you can see, Stan, now an eleven year old is having a great time and looking extremely well.


                              Standing Ovation looking amazing in retirement

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