Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form

Following a quiet start to the week, the action came thick and fast from Friday onwards! We attended the McCoy Awards at Cheltenham on Friday evening where our own Suzanne Lower was nominated for an award (more of that later!), whilst our first runners from the stable came at Worcester earlier that day.

Malangen So Close

We were unlucky not to come away with a winner when Malangen finished runner-up in the 2m½f handicap chase under David Noonan. Had he not been stopped twice in his run by the eventual winner, the result may very well have been different. The going would have been plenty soft enough for his liking so this was a creditable run all the same and he can win something similar on decent ground. He has proven to be a terrific buy from a seller last year, winning four times and finishing in the frame on several other occasions.

Miss Tynte also met with a little trouble in running in the 2m4f handicap hurdle on the same card. She was still bang in contention when hampered by a faller in the closing stages, putting paid to her chances of winning, although she did stay on for fourth. She is still paying the price for her course and distance success earlier in the season, for which the handicapper put her up by a whopping 15lbs.

Jasmin des Bordes also performed creditably on this seasonal reappearance in the 2m4f novices’ hurdle. There was some decent opposition in the line-up and he still shows distinct signs of inexperience and can only improve.

Our final runner of the week came at Market Rasen on Saturday as admirable four year old Teaser was stepped-up in grade and trip for the competitive 2m5½f handicap chase. He ran well, jumping superbly and travelling nicely to the final fence before finishing a close fourth. He is a remarkable little horse and really doesn’t know how to run a bad race. It looked as though this longer trip may just have found him out, but there are more nice prizes to be won with him over fences based on this evidence.

Nice To See Scu, To See Scu, Nice

Away from the track, we were joined last Tuesday morning by stable jockey Tom Scudamore who is currently on the sidelines following a fall at Worcester last month. Tom sustained a fractured wrist and fractured T7 vertebrae in the incident but is in good spirits and looking forward to getting back into the saddle. The expected timeframe for his return is anticipated to be in the region of six weeks so with a couple of weeks already behind him; the end of October is not out of the question.

Tom joined me to oversee a couple of lots being put through their paces on the gallops, although the inclement weather that morning that included thunder, lightning and downpours meant that we watched the first group from the comfort of my car! Even so, given the chance I am sure Tom would much rather have been on horseback.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Whilst a bit of sunshine would be nice, we can’t complain too much about the weather. After a warm, dry summer (with the exception of a few days in June) we certainly needed a bit of ease in the ground, especially with the ‘core part’ of the jumps season which takes place between October and April and hosts the majority of the most prestigious jumps races, now just around the corner.

Indeed, this month has proven to be the wettest September we have had since we began recording the rainfall at Pond House in 2001. With 100mm of rain here during the 30 day period things have gone slightly from the sublime to the ridiculous and it is hardly surprising that our local track Newton Abbot have had to abandon their jumps fixture of this afternoon due to waterlogging.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and we have a runner at our most local flat track, Bath this afternoon (Monday). Ekayburg is entered in the 1m2f handicap at the course and he ran his best race on the level last time when runner-up at Leicester. A Grade 2 bumper winner on the flat in France, he has shown flashes of ability but has promised more than he has delivered so far. He has the latent talent to be involved in a race of this nature if the mood takes and has had a wind operation since his last run. He will be ridden by good apprentice jockey Finley Marsh.

Midnight Magic is our sole entry at Huntingdon on Wednesday where he is engaged in the 2m7½f novices’ handicap chase. He is progressing well over fences and has finished runner-up on his last three starts. He certainly deserves to get his head in front, not least for his very patient owners who also happen to have bred him. The ground at Huntingdon is currently good which would suit him fine; although we wouldn’t be wanting too much more rain for him.

Velka Latest

As I have mentioned in previous columns, we will be off on our travels again shortly with Fergus Wilson’s pair Van Gogh du Granit and Rathlin Rose both intended runners in the Velka Pardubicka in the Czech Republic on 13th October. The race is a 4m2f cross country chase over a variety of huge obstacles and is certainly a very testing course.

Mr Wilson is a tremendous supporter of the armed forces and had hoped for the horses to be ridden by military jockeys Major Harry Wallace and Captain Guy Disney. Sadly they are unavailable owing to other commitments and as such, David Noonan will resume his partnership with Van Gogh du Granit, whilst we are looking for another jockey for the ride aboard Rathlin Rose.

Stable Person of the Year

We had a great time at Cheltenham racecourse’s Centaur Centre on Friday night as we attended the annual ‘McCoy Awards’ which are racing’s equivalent of The Oscars. There were a bevy of deserving winners on the night including Ruby Walsh who received a special achievement award and champion jockey Richard Johnson who was Jockey of the Year. Meanwhile my great friend Gordon Elliott collected an award for the incredible Tiger Roll who won Horse Performance of the Season for his second consecutive success in the Grand National at Aintree in April.

I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that our very own Sue Lower was the deserving recipient of the Stable Person of the Year Award. It is a tremendous achievement and she can be rightly very proud of herself, as we all are. Sue has been at Pond House for 36 years and is an integral part of the team.  I should also thank the Racing Post for their support of this prestigious award.

It was a fantastic evening, although there were certainly a few sore heads on Saturday morning!

  

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