Entries & Recent Form

Following a handful of runners on the all-weather earlier in the week, it was great to be back on the turf at Exeter on Sunday.  Better still, we were able to secure a double at the meeting courtesy of promising pair, Martinhal and Brinkley, which took our tally for the season to 40.  After a prolonged cold snap, it is great news that temperatures have finally started to rise - with the Cheltenham Festival only a month away, it is important that the turf cards can go ahead so trainers can get their final prep runs into their horses.

The early part of last week was almost a complete write off with the frost claiming all of the turf cards and even some of the all-weather fixtures.  Hence, it was a belated start to the week in terms of runners with our first representatives at Kempton’s “jumpers’ bumper” card on Thursday.  The horses performed creditably with Home Farm House a staying-on fifth in the mares’ bumper on her first start in over a year.  The winner of a point-to-point in Ireland, she is certainly going to appreciate more of test over obstacles and I thought this was a promising first effort.

Major Robinson shaped with promise when not beaten at all far in his bumper, whilst Iron Heart continued to demonstrate ability when beaten less than a length into third.

We returned to the all-weather on Saturday for the flat at Lingfield where Ranco and Sans Logique outran their odds when fourth and fifth respectively in the 1m4f apprentice jockeys’ handicap.  The prevailing ground over the sticks is just too testing for their liking at present so these races offer a decent opportunity for them to compete until the going dries a little.  They could probably do with some help from the handicapper, but suggested they can be competitive granted that.

Exeter Double!

I was thrilled to return to the turf at Exeter yesterday (Sunday), even if it was a miserable old day weather-wise.  After surviving an early morning inspection, it absolutely bucketed it down for much of the afternoon and the going was extremely testing.  We had three runners at the Devon track and I was pleased with a double on the day.

Martinhal (pictured above), a winner at the track on his latest outing, produced another willing performance to land the 2m2½f novices’ hurdle.  Making all the running, he pulled out more and more in the straight and had just enough in hand to see off the promising Solwara One.  He is a horse we have always liked – he has a lovely attitude and looks sure to get further in time.  There are certainly more races in him over timber, although he will be a smashing staying chaser in time.

Brinkley completed the double on the card when a good winner of the Pertemps handicap hurdle qualifier over 2m7f.  He put up a really good performance when winning at Wincanton over 2m5f on his last outing and bettered that, winning here from a 10lbs higher mark.  Travelling nicely throughout and clearly enjoying the testing conditions, he readily saw off his nearest rival after the last and confirmed himself a stayer very much on the upgrade.  He is now qualified for the final of the series at the Cheltenham Festival next month and whilst that will be more competitive again and he will be reassessed by the handicapper, it would not be hard to imagine him going well granted similar conditions.

Astigar was the only disappointment on the day when he simply failed to fire in his division of the novices’ hurdle.  He had shown a good level of form in a bumper and a hurdle on his only two previous starts, form which should have given him a good chance at Exeter.  He may just have found the ground too testing for his liking - a promising type, he will certainly be winning races sooner rather than later.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and with the prospect of warmer weather, I am hopeful of having more runners.  The first of those will come at Wetherby on Wednesday where we run Umbrigado and Hugo ‘N Taz.  Umbrigado contests the 2m handicap chase and he has taken well to chasing winning on his second attempt at Fontwell.  He will certainly enjoy the prevailing ground.  The same comments apply to Hugo ‘N Taz who runs in the 3m handicap chase – he was a good winner at Market Rasen last season and is back down to a mark only 1lb higher than that success.

We have loads of entries from Thursday onwards.  Eamon An Cnoic could contest the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Sandown.  He ran much better last time and richly deserves another success.  Promising types Grangeclare Glory and Gericault Roque also feature among the entries.

Popular grey, Ramses de Teillee would be top weight for the limited handicap chase at Kelso on Friday, whilst we have confirmed him at the latest stage for Haydock’s Grand National Trial on Saturday.  We will make a decision on where to go with him later in the week.  Prolific winner Main Fact holds an entry in the Grade 3 Rendlesham Hurdle and the Pertemps qualifier at Haydock, the scene of his great Stayers’ handicap hurdle success and once again, the ground cannot be too soft for him.

Remastered, who is unbeaten in two starts over fences holds multiple entries, including the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot.  Night Edition has been confirmed for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury’s rescheduled Betfair Hurdle on Sunday.

We also have entries at Market Rasen and Uttoxeter on Sunday.  With plenty of action coming up, there are exciting times ahead – keep up to date with the daily news page for all the latest on the Pond House runners.

Well Done!

I would like to offer my congratulation to course officials at Exeter for managing to get yesterday’s meeting on (albeit just the hurdle and bumper races) and the BHA for having the foresight to facilitate this.  The weather conditions have certainly thrown something of a curve ball of late, but it is great that they are able to demonstrate a degree of flexibility to get racing on the turf as shown by the rescheduled meeting at Warwick this afternoon and Newbury this Sunday.

A Perfect Present!

Finally, the success of Brinkley (pictured below) could not have come at a better time as it was owner Garth Broom’s birthday yesterday.  Anne and Garth have been tremendous supporters of the yard for many years but this is the first time we have managed to get a birthday winner for them.  Obviously current Covid-19 regulations mean that owners are not able to attend the races, although hopefully this success will have given them extra reason to celebrate.

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