NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Thu Feb 28
Ludlow, Taunton
Fri Mar 01
Doncaster, Newbury
Sat Mar 02
Doncaster, Kelso, Newbury

The Grand National 2019

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Entries & Recent Form

I hope you all enjoyed a great Christmas! With 2018 coming to a close I am pleased to be signing off the year with the horses in good form. Ramses de Teillee ran a cracker to finish a very creditable second in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow while many others also performed well to reach the frame. With Delface a winner on the last day of the year, I am looking forward to 2019, the remainder of the season and beyond.

Christmas at Pond House was a relatively low-key affair. A few of the staff who could not make it home for the festive period joined us for Christmas lunch, while the kids enjoyed a great time opening their presents.

Ramses So Close!

Back on the racecourse, I was delighted with the performance of Ramses de Teillee (pictured right) in the Welsh National at Chepstow on Thursday. Settling well just in behind the leaders, he travelled well into contention in the straight under David Noonan. A bad blunder at the fourth last did not help his cause by any means but produced with a renewed effort at the second last, he kept the winner Elegant Escape right up to his work, going down in brave fashion by just 1¼ lengths. He certainly seems to love it around Chepstow on heavy ground and he saw the additional distance out well.

Of course, it is frustrating to come so close, but he has clearly run a personal best and closed the gap significantly on the winner compared to the last time they met in February. Only turning seven tomorrow, he is a very promising young stayer and there will be plenty of other big days for him. Vieux Lion Rouge proved disappointing in the same race, doing too much during the early stages of the race in the reapplied blinkers.

Earlier on the card Jasmin des Bordes posted a promising effort in the maiden hurdle. It was a useful looking race on paper and a mistake at the last probably cost him second place. He is a raw individual who will learn with experience and there are clearly races to be won with him.

Percy Street produced a good effort when runner-up at Leicester on Friday but probably found the race coming soon enough for him when unable to justify favouritism when fourth at Taunton on Sunday.

Legal History ran a perfectly respectable effort on his hurdling debut behind a much more experienced rival at Newbury on Saturday. He travelled well for much of the race and can be found winning opportunities, whilst he could also revert to the flat at some stage.

Old favourite Dell’ Arca also ran his usual solid race to finish third over 3m3½f in Haydock’s handicap chase on Sunday. A couple of errors didn’t help his cause, but even so he ran respectably trying to concede 22lbs and 14lbs to the two horses in front of him. A tremendous servant, he retains all of his enthusiasm and it is hard to believe that he turns ten this week. He could be an ideal candidate for the veteran’s races next term.

Vowel Please Carol!

Whilst I was at Chepstow on Welsh National Day I was surprised to bump into Carol Vorderman (pictured above) of Countdown fame. Carol has been working for Radio Wales of late and is something of a racing enthusiast. Lisa Maxwell from Loose Women and The Bill was also there and was nice enough to spare the time for a chat.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and most of the action takes part during the early part of the week. We have had five runners at Uttoxeter today (and a winner!) but more of that next week. We will have three runners at Exeter tomorrow when the promising Extra Mag bids to atone for his unfortunate defeat in the novices’ hurdle, whilst promising Worcester bumper runner-up Glen Vine tries to go one better on his hurdling debut in the maiden. New Age Dawning, a runner-up in an Irish point-to-point will make his rules debut for the stable in the bumper.

Further ahead, Great Tempo could contest the hands and heels race at Ludlow on Thursday. If he goes, he will be partnered by young amateur Fergus Gillard. Catch The Swallows, a promising runner-up in an Irish point-to-point is engaged in the bumper at Wetherby on Friday, whilst the evergreen Rathlin Rose has been confirmed for the veteran’s final at his beloved Sandown on Saturday.

Richard Johnson OBE

Before I sign off for 2018, I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations to Richard Johnson who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. Richard has been at the pinnacle of his profession for well over twenty years and is a great champion and wonderful ambassador for our sport. We are all delighted for him.

Happy New Year

I would like to thank everyone who has supported the yard during the past twelve months. I hope that you have enjoyed following the fortunes of the Pond House team and that you continue to do so in 2019 and beyond. Happy New Year!

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