Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form

Like any sport and life in general there are ups and downs and horse racing is no exception. Last week was a tough one. We began with high hopes last Monday but it ended in tragedy with the loss of Timeforben and Noel’s Boy at Newton Abbot. Both were freak accidents with no one to blame, these things do happen, it was just particularly sad and very unusual for it to happen twice on the same day. Monday proved to be one of the hardest days I have ever had on the racecourse. My thoughts and sympathies are with their owners and my staff for whom it has been particularly difficult, especially Debbie and Bex who looked after them. These horses become members of our extended families and an empty stable the next day is one of the worst feelings in the world. The yard had a sombre feel to it the next day but we have some fond memories to cherish.

With another short break in the jumps calendar last week there have been no runners from Pond House in the recent days but and the week ahead looks likely to be a quiet one with only limited opportunities over the sticks. Teaser and Malangen have a choice of engagements at Kelso on Wednesday before Newton Abbot on Friday where I am likely to have some runners.

While there might not be many runners on the racecourse there is still plenty going on behind the scenes as we crank up preparations for the return of the ‘winter’ horses after their summer holidays. After a period of walking and trotting they return to the gallops relatively quickly as we gradually build up the intensity of the work, just like a human athlete. We use a combination on the Wexford Sand circular gallop as well as the 5 furlong wood chip as the horses seem to enjoy the variety and it makes a nice mix of continuous and interval training, faster and slower work. Alongside being ridden the horses do walking exercise on the horse walker and treadmill, swimming and plenty of jumping practice both in the loose school and with the jockey on board. I am pleased to report that Pond House stalwarts like Ramses De Teille, Vieux Lion Rouge, Daklondike and Eamon An Cnoic are all in good form and progressing nicely. We have an exciting bunch of youngsters also and names like Make Me A Believer, Israel Champ, Kings Miller, Kepagge and many others are all names to look out for in the coming weeks.

After a good response to our advertisement last week there are only a few more shares available in promising youngster Collingwood Court should anyone be interested. He is pleasing me in all that he is doing so far at home and more details about getting involved can be found on my horses for sale page.

TOM SCUDAMORE INJURY

Unfortunately Tom Scudamore had a fall on Malangen on Tuesday at Worcester when holding every chance of winning. Thankfully the horse is fine but Tom Scu was not quite so lucky. A trip to Worcestershire hospital revealed a broken wrist and a fractured T7 vertebra in his back. The positive news is that it is stable fracture and surgery is not needed. He will be on the side-lines for a few weeks but these jockeys are made of strong stuff and after a period of rest he should be back in the saddle later this year.

UNLUCKY IN IRELAND

Dell’arca travelled over to Ireland and ran in the Kerry National at Listowel on Wednesday. David Noonan deputised in the saddle for Tom Scudamore but unfortunately they got no further than the seventh fences before parting company. Both the horse and David were fine which is the main thing and Dell’arca enjoyed it so much he continued and finished the race without his jockey jumping every fence on the way round! He is back in the yard fresh and well and we look forward to getting him back on the racecourse again soon.

OFF TO UNI

I would like to wish Gabby Sully-Dunbar and Tommy Eyston the best of luck at University. Both girls have been working here all summer but are now off on their new adventure although they maybe back to ride out at Christmas time! Gabby is starting her second year at Cheltenham studying psychology while Tommy is about to start her first year studying Chemistry in Bristol.

ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Finally, I am delighted to announce that during a romantic weekend away in the Algarve I proposed to my long-term partner Leanne (about time some may say!) and even more incredibly, she said ‘yes’! We have been together for twelve years now and have three lovely children; Jack, Sophie and Martha. I would be lost without her and cannot tell you how happy I am that she has accepted…

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