NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

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

Entries & Recent Form

Once again, the lack of any significant rain continues to frustrate and meant that we had comparatively few runners last week, primarily at Cheltenham’s November meeting where we have traditionally been so strong in the past. Of course, it is disappointing to leave that fixture without a winner but there were some decent performances, not least the impressive debut success of Umbrigado at Uttoxeter on Saturday afternoon.

Umbrigado Impresses

It is very much a transitional period at Pond House. We have some excellent standard-bearers among the older generation, but I have very high hopes for the youngsters coming through the ranks. Remastered demonstrated as much on his hurdling debut the Sunday before last at Ffos Las, while Umbrigado looked most impressive when running out the easy winner of the bumper at Uttoxeter on Saturday under Nick Scholfield. Runner-up on his only previous outing in an Irish point-to-point, he came readily clear in the straight despite showing distinct signs of greenness. He can only improve for the experience and looks a most exciting prospect with a longer trip and obstacles likely to suit in time.

With plenty of other nice youngsters to look forward to, these are exciting times for the team, although some give in the ground is a prerequisite.

Earlier in the week I thought that Mrs Miggins ran with promise in the mares’ novices’ hurdle at Exeter, staying on in pleasing fashion in the straight to finish third having become outpaced. She shapes as though she will be suited by a step-up in trip and can be winning before too long.

In what turned out to be a real war of attrition at Cheltenham, Eamon An Cnoic performed with credit in the BetVictor Gold Cup, finishing fifth (only a length behind the third home). While he handles good ground, his best performances have come on a softer surface and he remains capable of winning a nice race this term.

Our other runner in the feature of the meeting, King’s Socks was just moving into contention when unfortunately making a bad mistake and unseating jockey Tom Scudamore at the third last. Tom was a little shaken up in the fall and stood down from his remaining mounts on the day. He is planning on taking a few days off at the beginning of this week but hopes to be back before the weekend. Unfortunately King’s Socks will now miss the remainder of the season.

Well Done Team Woollacott

There were some brilliant performances at Cheltenham last week, perhaps none more impressive than Lalor who bolted up in the Arkle Trial on his first outing over fences. He jumped really well and looks worthy of his prominent position in the ante-post market for the Arkle in March. Well done to Kayley Woollacott and the team.

This Week’s Entries

Looking to the week ahead and there will be a low-key start with no runners from the stable today (Monday) or tomorrow. Indeed, the next runners from the stable will likely come at either Chepstow or Warwick on Wednesday. Exciting novices’ hurdle prospects Know The Score and Grade 2 French bumper winner Ekayburg feature among the entries, while Hot Ryan is an intended runner in the mares’ novices’ hurdle at Warwick.

Moon Racer (pictured above), who ran a creditable third in a staying handicap hurdle at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance has subsequently been schooled over fences at home and taken to the larger obstacles well. I have given him an entry in novices’ chases at Ascot on Friday and Exeter on Sunday and we will take a look at the field before deciding where to go next with him. He was also confirmed for the Betfair Stayers’ hurdle (formerly the Fixed Brush) at Haydock on Saturday at the latest stage so options for him remain fluid, although in all likelihood he will be tackling the larger obstacles sooner rather than later.

As usual, for all the latest gossip and running plans from the yard do keep in touch with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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