Entries & Recent Form

The stable enjoyed a good week with four winners to add to our tally and what better time to be hitting top form with Cheltenham’s November meeting taking place this weekend?  It is a meeting that the Pond House team has traditionally done very well at and I am hoping to have plenty of runners across the course of the three day fixture.

8 In A Row!

Ever reliable Main Fact (pictured above)provided our first winner of the week when scoring in good fashion on the level at Nottingham in the hands of Ben Curtis.  This was his third win within the space of a fortnight on the flat and his eight consecutive win in all – an amazing performance from our remarkable gelding.  Once again, he looked to be struggling at the rear of the field early in the straight, the race having been running at a steady pace, but when Ben asked him to quicken he flew home and was probably hit the front too soon, scoring by 3¼ lengths.

That is him done on the flat for now and we will turn our attentions to hurdles instead.  We confirmed him for the 2m Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday at the latest stage, but he also holds an entry in the 3m Stayers’ handicap hurdle at Haydock the following week.  He is ground dependent and the going cannot be too soft for him.

Back To Back Wins For Dell

Dell’ Arca continued to roll back the years with another fantastic success at Newbury on Thursdsay to supplement his Aintree win of eleven days earlier.  Given a lovely ride by conditional jockey Fergus Gillard, our evergreen eleven year old poached a decisive lead early in the straight and never looked likely to relinquish it.  It has been a real renaissance for our popular veteran who won the Greatwood Hurdle seven years ago.  He is real favourite of owner Professor Caroline Tisdall and everyone at Pond House and he is a tremendous credit to the team.

Adagio No Slowcoach

Caroline’s colours were back in the winners’ enclosure on Friday when Adagio (pictured right) made a winning hurdling debut at Warwick.  He is owned by Bryan Drew and friends as well as Caroline and they look to have a nice juvenile hurdler on their hands.  Apart from being a little untidy at the last two hurdles he put in a nice round of jumping for a first attempt and I hope he can go on to rate more highly.  This race has been won by some decent types down the years and he could go to Cheltenham at the weekend for the Triumph Hurdle Trial next.

Our final winner of the week was Sexy Lot and she posted an impressive performance in the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Ffos Las on Sunday.  Thriving on the soft ground, she made smooth headway from the rear under Kevin Brogan and came away to win nicely.  She looks sure to take a hike in the weights for this but being a boys’ race on a Sunday there will be other opportunities to run her from this mark without a penalty.  Her owner Peter Garnsworthy has been especially patient and I couldn’t be more pleased that his patience has been rewarded.

There were a number of other encouraging efforts last week with First Lord de Cuet, Collingwood Court, Airton, Martinhal and Stubborn Logic all reaching the frame.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and it is a big one for the yard and it couldn’t have started much better.  Remastered has made a winning debut over fences at Carlisle this afternoon and looks a smart chaser in the making for Brocade Racing – more of that next week.

Tomorrow Flou Artsistique and To Fly Free contest the two divisions of the two mile handicap hurdle.  Flou Artsistique has been a little disappointing to date and I hope a wind operation will help to bring about some improvement.  In the second division, To Fly Free has been a little star for the David Pipe Racing Club and she looks sure to run well again under Fergus Gillard.

On Wednesday we will have four runners at Exeter with Nobel Joshua contesting the 2m7f conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle.  He posted a good first effort for the stable when fourth at Huntingdon and this stiffer track looks sure to suit.  Fergus Gillard will take a handy 6lbs off his back.

Mr Clarkson and Eden du Houx contest the 3m novices’ handicap chase.  It looks a tough race but ours are both nice horses with little to choose between them.  Tom Scu rides Eden, whilst David Noonan is Mr Clarkson’s regular rider.

Yaa Salaam will be my final runner at the meeting when he contests the 2m1f handicap hurdle.  He has some bits and pieces of form that suggest he should be winning a race of this nature whilst conditions should suit him well.

Old favourite Eamon An Cnoic is entered in the 2m Paddy Power handicap chase on Friday.  He has long threatened to win a race like this and he certainly deserves one.  Gabrielle du Seuil could make her debut for the stable in the novices’ handicap hurdle, a race in which we also have Panic Attack who was a good winner last time out at Uttoxeter.

Siruh du Lac is an intended runner in the highlight of the meeting, the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday.  A Cheltenham Festival winner, he joined us during the off-season and is obviously a tremendous addition to the yard.  He was running a mighty race when capsizing at the penultimate fence in the Brown Advisory at the Festival in March but I am hoping he doesn’t remember that.  He has pleased me at home and I am excited to see how he fares.

As I have already mentioned, Main Fact is in the Greatwood Hurdle on Sunday, but he could go to Haydock the following week, whilst Thinking, a promising horse who has won his only start over hurdles in France is also entered in the Greatwood.  We have other entries at the meeting and will decide upon the full participation of our team a little later in the week so stay tuned!

Stable Tour

It was good to catch up with Racing Post reporter Graham Dench last week as we went through some of the horses for our upcoming ‘Stable Tour’ feature that will appear in Wednesday’s newspaper.  I hope that there will be plenty of winners included so don’t forget to pick-up your copy!

Champ Out For Season

One name you will notice is missing from the list of Pond House inmates for the core part of the season is top-class bumper horse Israel Champ.  Unfortunately, our five year old gelding has sustained a leg injury that will keep him out for the remainder of this season.  We spotted it early and it is relatively minor, but you cannot take any chances with a horse of his ability and so he will be given the necessary rest and recuperation and I hope to have a full campaign with him next term.

Bannow Strand

I was sorry to learn of the passing of Bannow Strand last week at the age of 20.  A great big gelding, he joined my father with an equally large reputation from the Irish point-to-point field and he won some nice races for us and his owner, the late David Johnson.  After leaving Pond House he went on to have a successful career point-to-pointing and showing and won an ROR class at Aintree for the Prouse family.

Cheltenham Thoughts

Finally, with Cheltenham’s November meeting our usual first early season target, it seems like an ideal opportunity to give you my thoughts on my likely runners at the meeting and beyond.  Click on the image below for video…

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