Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Last week was a quiet one with only a handful of runners, our first not coming until Newton Abbot on Friday and it looks like being a similar story this week. Indeed, with only limited opportunities early and a couple or midweek fixtures at Perth, Britain’s most northerly track, the next runners from the Pond House team may not be until Worcester on Friday.

Ryan Remains In Good Order

Of last week’s action, I thought that Hot Ryan performed well in the staying handicap hurdle at Newton Abbot on Friday to finish a close third. A winner of her two previous starts at Worcester, she is higher in the weights now but ran creditably nonetheless, only yielding close home. A return to a more galloping track would suit and she remains capable of winning again.

The Week Ahead

Our first runners of the week are likely to come at Worcester on Friday. There, Malangen is entered in the 2m½f handicap chase. He was still travelling well when taking an unfortunate fall at Worcester last time out but had been progressing nicely over fences prior to that. He is able to take advantage of the four year old’s weight allowance.

Stream Lady holds an entry in the mares’ handicap chase over 2m4f which is a qualifier for the valuable final of the series at Hereford later in the season, whilst Miss Tynte is entered in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. She was an impressive winner of her penultimate start at Worcester but has to compete from a much higher mark as a consequence.

Our final entry at the track is Jasmin des Bordes who could make his seasonal debut in the 2m4f novices’ hurdle. There is rain in the forecast for the week ahead so we hope to run him. He showed plenty of promise last season, although I am hoping for more from him this year.

Teaser is our sole entry at Market Rasen on Saturday. He is engaged in the 2m5½f handicap chase and is an intended runner. He looks well-worth a go at this longer trip and whilst this does represent a step-up in grade, he does receive a handy weight allowance and deserves a crack at a nice prize. With over £16,000 prize money for the winner, it is certainly worth a go.

Double Top

We were pleased to welcome local darts player Justin Pipe to the yard along with his good friend Tom Vickery last week. Tom (pictured right) had previously organised to auction a stable visit to Pond House for two people to benefit his fundraising campaign for the Adam Stansfield Foundation. Adam, an Exeter City footballer sadly passed away in 2010 and Tom has done an amazing job raising funds for the foundation to promote awareness of bowel cancer, making over £25,000 to date.

Bowled Over

I went ten pin bowling in Taunton with a few of the staff from the yard last Thursday evening. It was a good, fun evening and we discovered something of a ‘dark horse’ in this event with Bex Mason giving us all a convincing beating in the first game. Not that I am competitive, but at least I was able to enjoy a little success by giving my assistant, Gerry Supple a good hiding at the air hockey!

The evening was kindly organised by my secretary Gemma Edwards who also seems to be the social secretary for the yard, planning plenty of parties and events such as this for the staff. They are always well received and a great way to stay in touch with the team and that has to be a good thing for morale.

 

Life After Love Island

I heard from one of my staff members whilst I was away in the Algarve that they had been rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Indeed, James from my office was in the ‘Flip Out’ trampoline park in Wellington with his family when he spotted Love Island contestant Curtis Pritchard (pictured left).

It seemed to be a far cry from the luxurious lifestyle he had been so enjoying over the summer in the Love Island villa in Majorca, although the trampolining was said to be a good cardio workout en-route from filming in Plymouth to his next stop in Gloucester.

Since leaving the island Curtis, a keen racing man has appeared on The Greatest Dancer, been co-presenting on the Lorraine Kelly morning television programme and will shortly be touring a live dance show with his brother A J. Apparently his relationship with fellow Love Island contestant Maura is still going strong, so at least he isn’t on the rebound…get it?!

Top Marks For Try-ing!

I was delighted for staff member Clare Wyatt at the weekend. Clare’s eldest son, Tom made his first class rugby debut for the Exeter City Chiefs on Saturday in the season opening Premiership Rugby Cup against Bath. Better still, Tom, who plays at centre, went on to score the Chiefs first try in the match as they beat their local rivals 28-14 at Sandy Park. Clare was still walking on air this morning (and for the remainder of the week, no doubt) basking in her ‘proud mummy’ status.

The McCoys

Finally, I am looking forward to attending the McCoy Awards at Cheltenham racecourse this Friday evening. The awards are like jump racing’s version of the Oscars and I am delighted to have senior staff member Suzanne Lower (pictured below) nominated for the Stable Person of the Year award. Sue has been a part of the team at Pond House for 30 years and has proven time and again to be a trusted, reliable and valued member of staff, if not a little loud on occasions! She has looked after many horses for owner Jane Gerard-Pearse (and her parents before her) through the years and Jane was keen for Sue to be nominated. Jane will be joining me on the evening, whilst Sue will have her own group of cheerleaders from the yard so things have the potential to get rather messy! I am expecting a full quota of staff on Saturday morning…

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