NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sun Dec 16
Carlisle, Southwell
Mon Dec 17
Ffos Las, Plumpton
Tue Dec 18
Catterick, Fakenham

Entries & Recent Form

With all due respect to the meetings that have gone before, the jumps season ‘proper’ gets underway this weekend with the first fixture of the new season from Cheltenham almost upon us. It marks a significant change of pace around the yard and the anticipation is mounting with a hat full of entries at the jumps fixtures over the coming days, including some of our more exciting prospects for the core part of the jumps season.

Last Week’s Runners

Before we get onto those, a quick look back at last week where we only had a few runners. Aldrin was unable to replicate his Worcester success in the handicap hurdle at Huntingdon on Tuesday. He is clearly better than that although his profile is a bit in and out.

I thought that Eur Gone West ran a very nice race in the National Hunt novices’ hurdle at Uttoxeter on Thursday. It looked like a decent race on paper and having been a little outpaced three out, he stuck to his task well to finish a creditable fourth. It was certainly a step forward on his two starts in bumpers and based on his Irish point-to-point run (a race that is working out very well) prior to that, a step-up in trip will also benefit him at some point.

Similar comments apply to Dusky Hercules who finished a close fifth in the bumper at Ffos Las on Saturday. It looked a relatively deep race with plenty in the line-up with placed or winning form from previous bumpers on point-to-points. Dusky Hercules made all the running and only gave way in the closing stages, losing two places in the final strides. He still showed signs of inexperience and as a half-brother to smart staying chaser Black Hercules, he is sure to benefit from a step-up in trip and a set of obstacles.

Excitement Mounting!

Looking through the entry book, the excitement is beginning to mount and consequently we have plenty of horses engaged over the forthcoming days. Vaniteux reverts to hurdles this afternoon (Monday) at Plumpton for the 3m1f handicap hurdle – whilst he is not as good as he was, he ran well over three miles and fences on his penultimate start at Perth.

We will have a couple of runners at Exeter tomorrow; Dream Free and Kalifourchon. Dream Free contests the amateur riders’ handicap hurdle and will be partnered by young Fergus Gillard who will be having only his second run under rules. The slight drop back in trip should suit him and hopefully he will give Fergus a nice ride.

Kalifourchon runs in the 2m7f handicap hurdle and will be partnered by David Noonan. He is a little in and out but ran creditably on his penultimate start but is on an attractive mark and will be suited by this galloping track.

We have a number of entries at Worcester on Wednesday where Poker Play could make his first start over fences in the 2m7f novices’ limited handicap chase. A quality hurdler, he has schooled well over the larger obstacles at home and is an exciting prospect for these races. Glen Vine, a son of my Imperial Cup/Cheltenham Festival winning mare Gaspara is entered in the bumper and is a nice youngster who has pleased me at home.

Malangen and Whitley Neill are entered in the final of the Fixed Brush novices’ handicap hurdle series, although the former is likely to take up his other engagement at Carlisle on Thursday as he is a long way out of the Worcester handicap. Mrs Miggins holds an entry in the concluding mares’ novices’ hurdle.

Towcester bumper winner Know the Score (pictured above) is entered in the 2m3½f novices’ hurdle at Carlisle on Thursday as well at Aintree on Sunday in the 2½ mile maiden hurdle. He is another to have schooled well over timber at home and is a most exciting prospect.

Orchard Thieves, who produced an excellent effort when our first winner of the season after a long layoff is entered in the staying novices’ hurdle at Southwell on Thursday and at Cheltenham on Saturday. He has a real liking for soft going so will only run if there is sufficient give in the ground.

Friday marks the first day of Cheltenham’s Showcase meeting and we have Eamon An Cnoic and Three Star General entered in the 2m5f handicap hurdle, while hurdles newcomer Easter Eric has a choice of entries at Cheltenham and Aintree.

Dauphine Ereine (also entered at Carlisle on Thursday and Cheltenham on Friday) is engaged in the 3m1f handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday along with Dell’ Arca and What A Moment. Moon Racer, Timeforeben and Three Star General are all entered in the Pertemps qualifier. Moon Racer was a ready winner on his last start over 2m5½f, his first attempt beyond two miles and the way he saw that out, suggests that three miles may well be within range.

Rathlin Rose (veterans’ chase) and Ramses de Teillee (Old Roan handicap chase) feature among the entries for Aintree on Sunday, while recent acquisition, Teaser is a possible runner in the juvenile hurdle at Wincanton on Sunday. Bought after winning a Leicester seller on the level on his latest start, he has been schooled intensively at home and has pleased with his jumping. Aldrin, Jacbequick and Kalifourchon are also entered on the Wincanton card. The ground there is currently firm (good/firm in places) so we shall keep an eye on the elements.

As usual, the runners later in the week will be subject to the ground, opposition and routine blood tests so the latest news on who goes where will appear in Chester’s Daily Chat, while you can follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

Congratulations!

Finally, congratulations to John Gosden who enjoyed a day to remember at Ascot for their Champion’s Day meeting on Saturday. Wins for Stradivarius and Roaring Lion preceded an imperious performance from Cracksman in the Champion Stakes, sealing another flat trainers’ championship so well done to John and his team.

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