NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sat Nov 09
Aintree, Kelso, Wincanton
Sun Nov 10
Ffos Las, Sandown
Mon Nov 11
Carlisle, Kempton, Stratford

Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form

What a thrilling few days of racing we were treated to at Royal Ascot last week. I ventured up to the Berkshire track with my partner Leanne, my mother and father where we had a runner on the opening day, whilst Gold Cup day on Thursday was memorable as the Frankie Dettori show that had the bookmakers running for cover. With a couple of winners for the stable at Uttoxeter on Wednesday it has to be considered a very good week.

Royal Meeting To Remember

As a primarily jumps trainer there are few opportunities for our horses at the Royal meeting but it is a fixture that I always try to get to for at least one day each year. Although unsuccessful with Percy Street in the Ascot Stakes, we still had a fantastic time. The pomp and ceremony of the whole event is something unlike any other sporting event. The quintessentially English traditions have been upheld throughout the years and I would recommend anyone visit at least once – there is something for everyone and you don’t even have to be a horse racing fan (although it does help!).

On the track, the performances of Blue Point during the course of the meeting to land the two Group One sprints were something to behold. I understand that he has subsequently retired and will no doubt be very popular as a stallion.

ITV should be congratulated for their coverage of the meeting. I thought they did an outstanding job of trying to broaden racing’s appeal to a wider audience, whilst broadcasting every race of every day can only be a good thing in helping to achieve that.

Uttoxeter Double

Away from Ascot we enjoyed another successful week with the victories of Mrs Miggins and Max do Brazil at Uttoxeter on Wednesday. Mrs Miggins (pictured below) was providing part-owner, Exeter man Barry Wright with a first winner as an owner when obliging in the 2m4f mares’ handicap hurdle. Making all the running, she jumped really well and kept on pulling out more in the straight to win a shade cosily. Hopefully she will be able to build on this now and go on to further success.

 

It was certainly a day to remember for Barry and his mum Sylvia as they came to Pond House in the morning and flew to the track with us in the helicopter.

Max do Brazil (pictured top) completed the double on the day when running out a brave winner of the staying novices’ handicap chase. He had been a good horse on his day in France but had proven difficult to win with since arriving in England. The switch to fences certainly seems to have worked wonders and this was his second win from as many starts over the larger obstacles. He showed plenty of bravery as he was a little short of room in the straight but he fought on tenaciously to record a narrow victory in a three-way finish. I was very pleased for long-standing owners Professor Caroline Tisdall and Bryan Drew.

It looked for a moment as though we would have a treble on the day when Hot Ryan challenged at the penultimate flight in the novices’ handicap hurdle but she could not quite get her head in front and was a narrowly beaten third. On this evidence she should be winning something similar before long, perhaps over a slightly shorter trip.

Van Gogh du Granit ran another good race when switched back to hurdles at Ffos Las on Thursday evening. Finishing a close third in a race not run to suit, he confirmed his current well-being and versatility. He is a pleasure to have at Pond House and should be winning again over hurdles or fences. Jacbequick also produced a creditable effort when runner-up in the 1m7½f handicap hurdle at Southwell on Sunday. He has finished in the frame in all but one of his races over hurdles since joining us (and that was at Cheltenham!) so he gets little respite from the handicapper.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week, Skinflint runs at Newton Abbot tomorrow (Tuesday) evening in the novices’ handicap chase. He has been in good form for my assistant Gerry Supple in point-to-points last term, winning three times and he has pleased with his schooling at home. He will be partnered by Bryan Carver who was successful on him ‘between the flags’. Also on the card, Delface and Jacbequick will contest the lady amateur riders’ handicap hurdle. Delface will be ridden by local girl Thomassina Eyston who rides out regularly at Pond House and has ridden a few winners in point-to-points, whilst Jacbequick (who was second on Sunday) will be partnered by trainer Evan Williams’ daughter Isabel.

Dromineer is likely to run in the amateur riders’ bumper at Ffos Las on Wednesday. He won a similar contest at Taunton last season on his racecourse debut and he should have learned plenty from that experience. Young Fergus Gillard who is based at the stable will take the ride. Meanwhile, Ourmullion will run on the level at Bath where he will be partnered by Finley Marsh.

Although there are no jumps fixtures on Saturday, we could still be busy this weekend with Van Gogh du Granit and You Say What engaged in the valuable Summer Cup at Uttoxeter on Sunday. Van Gogh du Granit seems versatile with regard to ground, although You Say What would not want the going drying out too much.

Congratulations!

Many congratulations to jockeys Aidan Coleman and Sam Twiston-Davies who both reached significant milestones at Southwell on Sunday. The young jockeys became only the eighth and ninth current riders to achieve 1,000 winning jumps rides in Britain and Ireland…a fantastic performance made all the more remarkable by them achieving it on the same afternoon. Two extremely talented riders who will enjoy many more successes I am sure.

Biggest Shock Of The Season...

Finally, there was a turn up for the books when I attended the Wellington School sports day for my eldest two children Jack and Sophie on Friday afternoon. I was extremely proud of their performances in their respective events, but perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came when I won the fathers’ race! I held on in a close race from the fast finishing runner-up and was delighted to receive my winners’ sticker. Inevitably I was a little lame when I pulled out the following morning!

The responses to the news on social media were very amusing with some suggesting that I was on Lasix, whilst others implied that I might be turned out again at another school shortly under a penalty! I can assure you this was a one-off…

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