Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form


The fixture list was once again affected by the severe weather during the course of last week. Indeed, temperatures at Pond House plummeted to -3°c during the daytime last Friday and we had 5 inches of snow descend upon us. Fortunately I have a dedicated team of staff who braved the elements to make it into work and look after and exercise their beloved charges…my grateful thanks to all of them for their efforts. With temperatures remaining low over the weekend the treacherous ice remained for a couple of days, whilst there is still a little snow on the surrounding hills now despite it being considerably milder.

I was briefly threatened with the prospect of a bombardment of snowballs from my adoring workforce but the promise of P45’s to the guilty parties quickly alleviated that!

Only The Best

At Pond House we have some of the finest facilities that money can buy so even when the extremes of weather hit, we can still exercise the horses so they are ready to go when racing can finally recommence.

In The Frame

We did get some racing action at the beginning of last week and the horses continue to run well without quite getting their heads in front. Extra Mag finished runner-up in the novices’ hurdle at Kempton on Monday and time may tell that he faced a very difficult task trying to concede 7lbs to the winner; Precious Cargo. His jumping continues to improve and he is becoming much more professional in his races. He stuck to his task well and looks as though he will get further in time. I hold him in high regard and he can certainly go on to better things and will be winning plenty more races.

Martabot finished runner-up in the 2m5f handicap hurdle on the same card, travelling well throughout before not finding as much as Tom Scudamore had hoped for after the last. He clearly has the ability to win a race of this nature from his current mark.

Mrs Miggins ran a solid race at Ludlow on Monday afternoon, finishing third in the 2m5f mares’ handicap hurdle. Sporting cheekpieces for the first time, she was prominent throughout and outran her starting price. A well-made mare, she will make a decent staying chaser in time.

Three Star General maintained our run of places when fourth in the amateur riders’ handicap hurdle. He has posted several decent efforts this term and he is another who should be capable of winning something similar.

Picture Painter posted a better effort returned to the level, finishing a close third under Finley Marsh in the staying handicap at Wolverhampton on Wednesday. He has disappointed in a few starts over hurdles for us, but this was much more like it under top weight so hopefully he will be able to build on this moving forward.

Mr Clarkson was the one real disappointment of the week, pulling up in the Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. He is yet to recapture his good form of a couple of seasons ago following an injury, although he does still retain all of his enthusiasm at home. We will try to find an easier opportunity for him next time.

We chose not to head over to Leopardstown with Ramses de Teillee for the stayers’ handicap hurdle. Despite recent rain the ground was just not going to be soft enough for our grey’s liking – news of further entries for him later…

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and we start off with one runner at Taunton this afternoon. Ourmullion, a decent performer on the flat, contests the novices’ hurdle at 2.15pm and he would need to improve on his debut effort over timber.

Eur Gone West runs in the 2m7f handicap hurdle at Market Rasen tomorrow. He has posted a couple of good efforts in defeat this term and deserves to win one of these. Placed in an Irish point-to-point, he looks like the step-up in distance will benefit him.

We have no entries for Wednesday, although we do have a few at Doncaster and Ffos Las on Thursday as well as Huntingdon and Kempton on Friday.

Nordic Combined is an intended runner in the extremely valuable Betfair Hurdle on Saturday at Newbury. A useful performer on the flat, he has taken well to hurdles this term, posting some very good performances in finishing runner-up on his last three starts, including over course and distance. He will get a nice racing weight here and we may add some headgear just to aid his concentration and finishing effort. Warthog holds an entry in the novices’ handicap chase on the same card, whilst over at Warwick exciting novice hurdler Remastered features among our entries there.

Sunday could be a busy day for the stable with loads of entries at Exeter. Remastered, Little Red Lion and New Age Dawning are engaged in the National Hunt novices’ hurdle, Poker Play and Champers On Ice are in the Pertemps qualifier, Warthog is entered in the novices’ chase and Catch The Swallows the bumper. Dell’ Arca and recent recruit Van Gogh du Granit are likely runners in the valuable veterans’ handicap chase qualifier.

Big Race Entries

There were plenty of ‘early closers’ last week with Haydock’s Grand National Trial, the Aintree Grand National and Cheltenham novices’ hurdles all closing last Tuesday.

The aforementioned Ramses de Teillee, an excellent runner-up in the Welsh National at Chepstow last time is one of three entries for the Pond House team. Vieux Lion Rouge, a previous winner of the race in 2017 is also engaged along with Daklondike who was so unlucky when unseating Tom Scudamore after receiving a hefty bump when favourite for the Peter Marsh last time.  These three were also entered in the Aintree Grand National along with old favourite Rathlin Rose and new arrival Van Gogh du Granit.

In the Cheltenham novices’ hurdles we entered Extra Mag, Remastered and Yaa Salaam in the Supreme over two miles. Extra Mag and Remastered in the 2m5f Albert Bartlett and Remastered and Know The Score in the Albert Bartlett over three miles. We have a nice bunch of youngsters coming through this year and they certainly all warrant an entry at this stage.

Come On You Blues!

Finally, I had a great weekend away which made a nice change from the normal routine. On Saturday I went with my son Jack to see his first football match as Chelsea took on Huddersfield and Stamford Bridge. We were certainly spoiled for action as Chelsea won 5-0…I hope Jack isn’t expecting five goals every time they play! Meanwhile, Leanne and the girls had a fun time out and about shopping and exploring the capital, including a memorable trip to Harrods.

As usual, for all the latest news from the yard and running plans, keep up to date with Chester’s Daily or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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