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

The good form of the yard continued last week with the successes of Jacbequick (pictured above) and Barranco Valley taking our winners’ tally for the new season to 13 and entrenching us well inside the top ten of the trainers’ table at this early stage. Indeed our 13 winners have come from just 56 runners (at a strike rate of 24%) whilst a further 26 have finished in the first four places, meaning that 70% of the runners from Pond House have won or finished in the frame.

Ladies’ Day

It was Ladies’ Day at Newton Abbot last Tuesday and the Devon track really pulled out all the stops. There was a special ‘village’ for the occasion which included a Pimms, Prosecco and strawberries stand, whilst they also provided some excellent prizes for the best dressed ladies and gentlemen at the meeting. It was almost like being back at Royal Ascot! As well as putting on plenty of activities to appeal to a broad variety of racegoers, they also do an excellent job of providing good prize money and frequently out-do the larger tracks. The racing at Newton Abbot only takes place during the summer months but it makes for a great atmosphere (especially when it is sunny!) and I would encourage anyone to pay the track a visit.

Jumping Jac Flash!

Of course, on Ladies’ Day it was only right that they should hold a hurdle race for lady amateur riders’ and I was delighted to win it with the gallant Jacbequick who was going one place better than when runner-up at Southwell only two days previously. Ridden by Isabel Williams (daughter of fellow trainer Evan), she gave him a sensible and most accomplished ride to produce him with a well-timed run to lead after the last and score a shade cosily.

Isabel, who was having her first ride for the stable, travelled down from Wales in the morning to see us at the stable. Apart from being a very promising young jockey, she is also very conscientious and helped to feed the horses and put them on the horse walkers as well as riding work on the gallops. She is a tremendous credit to her family and I am sure she will enjoy a very distinguished career.

Homebred Success

Barranco Valley (pictured right) continued the momentum when running out a brave winner of the 2½ mile maiden hurdle at Ffos Las on Thursday, providing owners John White and Anne Underhill with a notable success. Indeed, not only were they the owners, they also bred this eight year old son of Midnight Legend from their mare Shali San (who herself was successful for me) and this marked their first success as breeders.

They have displayed enormous patience with him as following a couple of promising efforts during his younger days he was sidelined for almost 3½ years through injury before joining us at Pond House. I couldn’t be more pleased that he has rewarded their patience.

John, Anne and their sister Sarah (who live in and around Taunton) have been wonderful supporters of the stable for many years. In fact their father Arthur had a very good horse with my dad back in the 1980’s called Beau Ranger who won many of the big jumps races so we have enjoyed a long, successful and very enjoyable association with the family.

Van Gogh du Granit ran another good race when fourth in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. He could head for the Summer Plate at Market Rasen later in the month and the return to a right-handed track and slightly shorter trip look sure to suit. Unfortunately there was a very sad postscript to the race as You Say What suffered a fatal fall during the early stages. He was a lovely horse to have around the yard – a real gentleman and a pleasure to train. He will be greatly missed by everyone at Pond House and our thoughts are with his owners, Peter, Ruth, Keith and Lynne.

The Week Ahead

Following a quiet start to the week where there are no jumps fixtures today (Monday) our next runners will likely be at Worcester on Wednesday. Teaser, a dual winner over hurdles could make his chase debut there, although he will have other entries besides. Skinflint, a creditable second to a well-treated rival over fences at Newton Abbot last week is an intended runner in the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle over the brush hurdles.

Malangen, Hot Ryan and Noel’s Boy are all engaged at Newton Abbot on Friday with the former a possible for his chasing debut. Three times a winner over hurdles last term, course winner Malangen has schooled well over the larger obstacles at home.

Following a blank day for jumping on Saturday, Airton is our only entry of the weekend where he is in the 2½ handicap hurdle at Market Rasen on Sunday.

As usual, for all the latest gossip from the yard and running plans, keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat.

Racing Staff Week

Finally, I would like to offer my grateful thanks to Racing Welfare for their continued support of all racing staff past and present for raising awareness with their ‘Racing Staff Week’. As part of Racing Staff week they have kindly supported and part-subsidised staff barbecues at racing yards up and down the country.

As well as some super sizzling sausages and burgers expertly grilled by Leanne’s brother; Martin, the staff all enjoyed a few (non-alcoholic) beverages and leisurely games of football and cricket as you can see from the pictures below.

Racing Welfare is a charitable organisation that supports anyone who has ever worked in racing. Among their most important work, Racing Welfare assists with advice, housing and illness whilst on a more light-hearted note, they organise social events for racing staff such as quiz nights or the aforementioned staff barbecues. We are enormously grateful to them for their continued hard work and support of the industry.


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