Entries & Recent Form

This time next week, all being well, we could be set for our first day’s racing since it was stopped in March.  We have been receiving lots of guidance from the BHA about protocols and PPE to ensure everyone follows strict guidelines.  There is an online course that staff have to complete if they will be attending race meetings as well as health screening forms and temperatures will be taken of everyone arriving at the racecourse.  Failure to complete any of these steps will mean they will be prevented from entering the racecourse.  We were used to doing it for the horses last year when we had the equine flu and so now we will have to get used to doing it for humans!

We have also received a provisional fixture list that runs up until the end of August. The first scheduled jumps meeting is at Southwell  on Wednesday 1st July with one the day after as well although that venue is yet to be confirmed – it is likely to be in Wales or Scotland but they are waiting for further government guidance before confirming.

INITIAL ENTRIES

My first entries on the flat could be at Kempton next Tuesday 2nd June.  There are suitable races there for both Teaser and I’llletyougonow.  I think it could be hard to get a run with some of these horses in the opening days but we shall make some entries and see what happens.  It looks to me like after the opening week there are scheduled to be three flat meetings a day so I am sure once things start to settle down there will be ample opportunity for all.

LAST SEASON WINNERS

Now to continue with a look back at a few more of last season’s winners; we finished last week with Duc De Beauchene’s Cheltenham win which formed part of a double on the day when Israel Champ won the bumper on the card.  The next winner after these two was First Lord Du Cuet at Southwell two days later.

First Lord Du Cuet – there is always a little bit of extra pressure on me when this horse runs at is owned in partnership by James and Jean Potter, my father and my father-in-law to be, Pete Green! He had made a promising hurdling debut at Wincanton, fourth behind some very useful horses and then won as he should at Southwell.  He then finished runner up at Haydock, narrowly beaten and we decided to have his wind looked at with the aim of the EBF final at Sandown in March.  Unfortunately you may remember the Sandown card was lost due to the elements and the race was run at Kempton the day after the Cheltenham Festival.  The course did not suit him unfortunately and he finished midfield.  He is definitely better than this bare form and he is still very lightly raced so I hope there is plenty more to come from him.

Dusky Hercules – Dusky is a real character who possesses more ability than he sometimes shows!  I was delighted he was my first winner for my newly formed Racing Club at Exeter on 6th December. Fergus Gillard gave him a great ride and he just prevailed in a very tight finish.  He pulled up at Ffos Las after this but we will forgive him this as the ground was atrocious this day and he failed to handle it.  Currently on his holidays he will be back running in the autumn.

                Dusky Hercules

Meep Meep Mag – I bought her from Cheltenham sales last year at a very reasonable price which looks even better now for what she has achieved and for what potential she has.  She is not very big in stature but has a terrific attitude and big heart.  I didn’t really regard her as a ‘bumper’ type but after a good fourth on debut she progressed to finish second at Wetherby behind a useful sort (Clondaw Caitlin who went on to win her first three starts over hurdles after this, including a Grade 2 event) and then she got her win at Sedgefield on Boxing Day. Unfortunately she picked up an injury this day but with how things have worked out she has not really missed anything.  She will return in the autumn to go novice hurdling and there will be plenty of fun to be had with her.


                 Meep Meep Mag

Great Tempo – He is another character who has his own ideas about life but a true favourite in the yard at Pond House.  He was my 50th winner of the season at Taunton on 30th December in the colours of my Racing Club.  Fergus Gillard was on board again and it was great to the horse’s first win over fences.  He disappointed after this at Exeter twice and so we will look to stay away from here perhaps when racing returns but he is capable of winning more races on his day.

Eden Du Houx – Perhaps did not hit the heights I had expected last season after all he had achieved in bumpers the year before but still did okay.  He won a novice hurdle at Chepstow beating a useful rival after wind surgery and ran well but staying on a bit too late to finish third at Ascot after this.   Ran well at Kempton on his final start of the season behind McFabulous with the course not really playing to his strengths. Rated 130 I hope there is plenty more to come from him this winter.

Night Edition – He was a great value buy from Arqana sales last summer.  We had a few little setbacks with him early on and he ran a nice stable debut to finish fourth at Taunton.  Improved on that to finish a close second at Cheltenham at big odds next time and then got a deserved victory at Ludlow in February.  He won very impressively that day and then ran a cracker to finish second in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival only beaten a length.  Now rated 137 I look forward to running him in some of the top two mile handicap hurdles this season.


                  Night Edition

Brinkley – A mid-season purchase from Ireland who made an impressive stable debut winning at Newbury in the colours of Brocade racing.  Loves soft ground and it looked that day the further he went the better he went.  Obviously with the season ending prematurely we did not get to run him again but with the novice status rules changing I hope to run him in a nice novice event before the end of November.  He is a lovely long term prospect.

Little Red Lion – A long term project who has done nothing but improve with every run over hurdles.  Still very lightly raced he was a nice winner at Huntingdon on 1st March.  He loves soft ground and I hope there is more to come in staying hurdle races before he will go over a fences one day.

Martinhal – Made it a double for the day for the yard when winning at Huntingdon the same day as Little Red Lion.  He is a lovely young horse, my first for his owners Lynne MacLennan and he was an impressive winner this day. One to watch out for in novice hurdles this winter.

Nordic Combined – He is a lovely little horse that my partner Leanne rides every day.  Full of character I was delighted to finally get a win from him over hurdles.  He has lots of ability but has tended to like being placed rather than winning up until his victory at Taunton in March.  In his defence he has been quite highly tried and he always runs his usual honest race so he is a delight to take racing.  Fergus Gillard claiming seven pounds and the application of blinkers really seemed to do the trick and he was an easy winner.  He loves soft ground and so hopefully there are more races to be won for him this season.


                 Nordic Combined

FLAT WINNERS

Alongside our jumping winners we also had two on the flat;

Ballard Down – I claimed him from David O’Meara’s yard after he won at Wolverhampton. It was fantastic he won on his stable debut at Windsor last June of a rating of 88 in the colours of William Frewen.  The race looked to be over when he was slowly away from the stalls but he showed a terrific late burst under Finley Marsh to win by a nose.  He finished second over hurdles after this but it was clear that he was not going to make into the hurdler we had hoped he might and so he is now in the care of Alex Dunn after being sold at the sales.

Ghost Serge – Another character with ability!  He won in the fog at Wolverhampton in January but then refused to enter the stalls next time.  He is currently having a little break from racing and may return after some time out to see if this has rekindled his enthusiasm for the game.

So this concludes my little look back on last season’s winners, next week we shall look back on the jockeys and some of the key players from the season.