Entries & Recent Form



Another week has past and we are another week closer to the returning of some jumping action at Southwell on 1st July, the first meeting back.  With that in mind Tom Scu and David Noonan were both in riding out this morning and long with Fergus Gillard we have done some schooling with the horses.  After a very dry couple of months we saw some welcome rain last week which has seen the grass turn back green and it is good going underfoot.  When I say we had some rain last week, we had a lot in quite a short space of time! 

Weather Watch

We had over 40ml in the space of 24 hours and add that to other rain we have had in June and we have had well over 100ml this month. Having said all this, we have not quite reached last June’s total of 114mm yet but with over a week to go we could possibly go over this.  Last June was the wettest we had recorded here for over seven years and obviously this year is running on a par with that.  When you look at the total rainfall for the year so far we are past what was recorded at this point for the last six years so despite the lack of rain in April and May we are still the wettest year we have had since 2014!  It is quite interesting looking back on what happened as the stats are there in black and white and it is often not quite how you remember things!  That is one thing I have always learned from my dad – to record everything as it is impossible to remember everything!  We have records here at Pond House for absolutely everything from the horses and everything associated with them, to the staff and the buildings, land and gallops.  Some might say why, but I can honestly say it is worth its weight in gold the number of times we have been able to refer back to the files!  

Schooling Practice

With the jockey’s all in this morning we have schooled a lot of our jumping horses over the hurdles.  Paricolor, Story of Friends, Stubborn Logic, Golden Jeffrey, Le Grand Rocher, Dell’arca, Leoncavallo, Huccaby, I’lletyougonow and Jasmin Des Bordes have all had a pop over the jumps. It all went well and it got the jockey’s eye’s in again as none of us have done much schooling since racing was stopped.  We are lucky to have the loose school facility here at Pond House.  It is a valuable asset for both newcomers and old timers alike, especially while the ground outside has been firm.  They can be ridden over poles and barrels in here as well as go over them loose on a daily basis.  It makes the jockey’s lives easier when it comes to schooling days as you know they have been practicing getting their feet off the ground as part of their weekly routine. 

Jumping Return

I am sure when jumping does return there will be a lot of competition for places in the races but a bit like on the flat things will start to settle down a couple of weeks in.  I’lletyougonow and Jasmin Des Bordes could be some of the first Pond House horses in action at Southwell on the opening day but we will just have to see what happens a bit closer to the time.  After Southwell, the next jumping after this will be at Uttoxeter on Monday 6th July and Newton Abbot on Tuesday 7th July, Stratford on Wednesday 8th and Market Rasen on Friday 10th July.  If the return of jumping goes as well as it has seemed to on the flat we should be okay and I can’t wait to get started.  We now have the race schedule for all of July so we can start to make plans and target races for some of the horses we have in training.  Hopefully now in the wider world the impact and threat of Covid-19 will continue to decrease and racing can continue to comeback to a little more like normality.  The first step from today is that we are back to 48 hour declarations (from 72 hours).  I see in France that they are now going to allow crowds of up to 5,000 people to attend race meetings.  I think it is quite funny that you don’t actually ever get a very big crowd at any French race meeting!  Hopefully a good first step in this country would be to allow owners to go racing with their runners when the time is right.  My owners have been fantastic and very supportive throughout this difficult time and it is most important that they are well looked after.  I am very grateful to them all and could not do it without them.

This Week

A little more imminent is a couple more runners for Pond House on the flat coming up.  Lady Reset is going to make her stable debut at Windsor on Wednesday.  She has not been at the yard too long after we bought her privately but she has settled in well at home and is going nicely.  She is a two time winner on the flat already and was second at Wolverhampton back in March, just before lockdown began.  We have the added bonus of champion jockey Oisin Murphy in the saddle and it will be interesting to see how she gets on.  She won’t mind conditions and although she will stay further than 1m2f and she is three pounds above her last winning mark it is a good starting point.  She has already been doing some schooling at home as well and she is likely to mix hurdling and starts on the level throughout the summer.

Malangen holds an entry at Bath on the flat on Thursday.  While it is fair to say he did not cover himself in glory at Lingfield last time he should improve for the run and the step up to two miles should suit.  Whatever happens, we will return to hurdling and chasing sooner rather than later.

Royal Ascot

While it was certainly different I did enjoy watching the action from Royal Ascot last week.  I thought the ITV and Sky Sports Racing teams did a fantastic job in their coverage and there were some brilliant performances from horses and jockeys.  While my tipping and fun bets were pretty terrible we had some great fun back in the yard picking out our selections.  Well done to top jockey Frankie Dettori and top trainer John Gosden and my star horse performer of the week was the very impressive Gold Cup winner Stradivarius.  A special well done to all those who had their first Royal Ascot winners as well, I know that special feeling and a particular well done to Tom Marquand (& of course his girlfriend Hollie Doyle).  Tom has ridden a few flat winners for me and is a top class jockey and a thoroughly nice chap as well and these successes were much deserved.

Vet Team  

Some of you may know that for many years our vet at Pond House has been Ray Dilliway.  Ray started back with my father a long time ago and has been a fantastic support behind the scenes to myself and the horses and has been a vital part of our team.  He has looked after horses (& humans on occasions!) with his great knowledge and experience and we could not have been in better hands.  Ray has been thinking of retiring in the last 18 months and the corona virus outbreak was ultimately the event which confirmed his decision to retire. 

Knowing that Ray’s association would be coming to an end at some point in recent years we have been increasingly using the services of Buffy Shirley-Bevan and her Summerhill vet team during this time and they have been working alongside each other.  They are widely renowned in the racing world for their excellence with racehorses and already work with a number of top trainers in our sport.  They will continue to work with us going forward and do more while we will also be working with the Western Counties equine clinic and in particular vet Chris Johannson.  We are very lucky to have this superb facility nearby.  They will be on close call for all emergency and non-emergency work whenever we need them.  I am delighted to be working with both parties and am reassured and happy that the horses will have the best care and attention when needed.