Entries & Recent Form

The week got off to the best possible start when Malangen (pictured above) landed the claiming hurdle at Southwell on Wednesday.  Faced with some highly-rated older rivals, he was not favoured by the weights but nonetheless produced an excellent effort to win under a positive Tom Scudamore ride.  He has been an excellent servant to the yard winning several times over hurdles and fences and I was delighted when we were able to keep him via a friendly claim after the race.  The last time we dropped him in grade he went on to win again, so hopefully this will have done his confidence good and he can repeat the dose.

There were a number of other promising efforts too, with Percy Street filling the runner-up position at Newton Abbot on Wednesday in the competitive 2m5f handicap hurdle.  This was his best effort in a little while and although he does not win that often, he should be going one better sooner rather than later based on this evidence.

On the same card Mrs Miggins was still upsides in front when coming to grief in the 2m5f novices’ handicap chase despite the welter burden of 12-7.  She had jumped well (if a touch to the right) on her chasing debut and so long as her confidence is not dented, she should be winning something similar.  She has always looked likely to make a better chaser and deserves compensation.

To Fly Free made her debut for the team at Cartmel on Friday in the colours of the David Pipe Racing Club.  Making her first appearance over hurdles in the juvenile contest, she jumped well and looked to hold every chance until weakening in the closing stages.  There had been plenty of rain at the northern track and she will be better suited by a quicker surface.  Even so, this was a promising first effort and she should be just fine when stamina is at less of a premium.

New Addition

I was pleased to secure another French juvenile hurdling prospect over the weekend.  Sans Logique, a three year old gelding ran well to finish runner-up on the flat at Vichy last Thursday and will be schooled with a view to a new career over hurdles.  We have some nice young hurdlers ready to contest these races and he looks another nice addition to the string and hopefully you will be hearing more of him in the coming weeks and months.

Wahiba Sands

I was saddened to hear of the passing of an old Pond House favourite, Wahiba Sands last week.  A great, big horse, he was purchased at the Doncaster sales from the flat yard of John Dunlop and was trained by my father in the late nineties/early two thousands and owned by the still very much missed David Johnson.

A high class horse on the flat, Wahiba Sands proved really versatile, winning multiple races over hurdles and fences as well.  He will always be best remembered however as being the first horse to beat triple Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate over fences when landing the First National Chase at Ascot under an inspired ride from A P McCoy.

At the end of his racing career he was looked after by his devoted groom Vicky Selway and he remained with her ever since, competing in the odd show jumping competition.  He was a marvellous horse who had a long and happy retirement, passing away at the age of 27.

What A Hero!

Hats off to British-based jump jockey Thomas Garner who is currently enjoying a spell riding in the USA.  Garner (who has won the likes of the Kingwell Hurdle in this country) had been riding out in the morning only for the weather to take a turn for the worse later on, causing flash floods.  At this point he noticed a car with a man and his children in danger of being swept away.  Along with three other good Samaritans, they formed a human chain to pull the terrified family to safety.  The news was not overlooked in the States, with the events reported on all the major news networks.  Well done Tom on your heroic actions!

M Gets Us Off To A Flyer

A bit of late additional news, Miss M provided us with our third winner of the season this afternoon when running out a ready winner of the mares’ novices’ hurdle on her hurdling debut at Southwell under Tom Scudamore.  Read more about it in my column next week!

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