Entries & Recent Form

With the rain arriving in some style (38mm in just a few hours on Tuesday afternoon), could it be that the winter jumping ground is finally on its way?  With Chepstow’s Silver Trophy card taking place this weekend, it is that time of the year when the jumps calendar really begins to step up a gear and anticipation around the yard begins to mount.  The horses are in good form and we were on the mark again last Monday with the ready success of Flammarion (pictured above) at Newton Abbot.

With a very dry June, August and September, punctuated by a wet July, the ground has not been easy to predict, switching quite quickly between extremes.  However, like most jumps trainers, I am hoping that is all about to change with the softening ground allowing us to unleash the winter horses.

Chubby Cheeks A Cracker

I was very pleased to win the novices’ hurdle at Newton Abbot last Monday with Flammarion, who was having his first start over obstacles for the team.  Given a patient ride by Tom Scudamore, he jumped well for his hurdling debut and making his challenge in the straight, he scampered clear on the run-in.  Runner-up on his first start for the stable on the flat at Ffos Las, he is already looking a great buy, having been knocked down to my wife at the Doncaster Sales in May for £10,000.

He has been my youngest daughter, Martha’s favourite horse since arriving at Pond House and she is responsible for dubbing him ‘Chubby Cheeks’.  She was absolutely thrilled when she returned from school to learn of his success and quickly went down to see him with a congratulatory carrot.

Mr Tambourine Man also ran a good race in the 2m5½ handicap hurdle on the same card, finishing a close second and again looking as though he would appreciate a greater test of stamina.  His turn does not look far away.

Ocean Heights ran a promising first race for the stable when fifth on the all-weather at Lingfield on Thursday in the one mile novices’ contest.  A bumper winner for previous connections, we may give him another run or two on the flat but he will go hurdling at some point and looks a nice dual-purpose prospect for his owners.

We rounded off the week with a couple of runners at Fontwell on Saturday.  Veiled Secret ran another creditable race to finish fourth in the 3m2f conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle, probably finding this longer trip on rain-softened ground just taxing his stamina a little too much.  Meanwhile, Itacare was third on his first start for the stable in the 2m2½f handicap chase and he probably paid the price for trying to mix it with the winner from a long way out.  He will certainly improve for his first start in this country and is a horse we like.

The Week Ahead

Our first runner this week will come at Ludlow on Wednesday when Oneonechop contests the juvenile hurdle.  He has done well so far over timber, finishing in the frame in all bar one of his starts over hurdles.  He wouldn’t want too much rain between now and then.

We have several entries at Exeter on Thursday with Nabvutika, Paricolor, Ranco and Major Robinson all engaged, with the latter-named also in at Worcester.

Chepstow’s opening meeting of the new season gets underway on Friday and Vieux Lion Rouge is an intended runner in the veteran’s chase, a race our evergreen twelve year old won two years ago.  He is owned by Professor Caroline Tisdall and John Gent and Caroline is kindly sponsoring the race…it would be fantastic if he could go well for her.

Ramses de Teillee and Umbrigado are entered on day two of Chepstow’s card on Saturday.  Ramses is engaged in the staying handicap chase, whilst Umbrigado holds an entry in the Tote Silver Trophy handicap hurdle.

Our entries are completed this week at Newton Abbot on Sunday with Ramses in the staying handicap hurdle and Grangeclare Glory in the 2m5½f handicap hurdle.  We will take a look at the ground and opposition before deciding who goes where.

Horses To Follow

I am pleased to bring you the latest instalment in our horses to follow series.  This time it is my turn to nominate one for the season ahead.  Great friend of Pond House, broadcaster Mike Vince spoke with me ahead of the core part of the season and you can watch the interview by clicking the image below…

A Right Riveting Read!

If you follow our daily news page, you will no doubt know by now that we are selling copies of our new Horses In Training brochure at the special offer price of just £8 including postage until this coming weekend.  It features 88 full colour pages with all the information about the team at Pond House and plenty more besides – it’s a great book (even if I do say so myself!) so be quick to take advantage of this offer, details below


Finally, you may have read last week of the exploits of Ali Galliers-Pratt and Jo Supple.  Well, I am pleased to inform you that both ladies finished their respective races.  Ali completed the low course of the Snowdonia Sky Race – it was run over a much shorter route on account of the weather conditions, but provided a good test nonetheless.  Meanwhile, Jo Supple finished the London marathon in 3 hours and 47 minutes, finishing 1,099th in her age division and 10,488th overall.  Given that there were 80,000 participants, that is a quite extraordinary achievement and I am in awe of them both.

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