King Turgeon - Happy With His Win!


In the blink of an eye the 2023 Cheltenham Festival has been and gone. All of us involved in our sport dream of having Festival winners but with the domination of the Irish at the moment it is proving very difficult for everyone but we will all re-group, re-build and try again next year!! Thanksforthehelp was carrying the weight of our Pond House expectations but sadly it was not meant to be. He did not get the clearest of passages from the very beginning of the race after the standing start and I never really felt totally happy at any stage. He had a few traffic problems and even though he came through to have a chance before the last, he could not sustain his challenge. Ultimately he was only beaten eight lengths which covered the first 12 horses home, perhaps testament to the fact the early gallop was not that strong which also would not have suited.

Thomas Mor

All of our horses have returned home safely which is the main thing and there will be other days for them. Thomas Mor ran a cracker in the Albert Bartlett novices hurdle at a big price. Always prominent he kept galloping to the line and finished sixth, only beaten just over sixth lengths. He handled the softer conditions absolutely fine but we do know he prefers it a bit quicker. He is a lovely chasing prospect for next season but in the meantime there is more to come over hurdles this spring on some nice ground and I was delighted with his run.

Brilliant Week

While I had a few reservations heading into Cheltenham week about what would be making the headlines, I am delighted that the horses and the racing did all the talking in what was a fabulous week for racing, showcasing all that is good about our sport. I don’t think I have ever felt an atmosphere like it on a racecourse like there was on Tuesday afternoon after Honeysuckle had won the mares hurdle. The reception she received coming back into the winners enclosure was incredible. What a career she has had and what a star she has been for racing and her connections.  Special congratulations to her owner Kenny Alexander and it will be lovely to see her offspring on the racecourse in a few years’ time.

Cheltenham – Marquee & Son Jack

We once again had our marquee for the week and hosted over 100 guests every day. Familiar faces, young and old could also be found in there at various times and it is lovely people pop in and see us year in year out. A special thanks must go to Matt Chapman and Tom Scu who came in everyday to run through the card with me before racing.

My son Jack has his first visit to the Festival and loved every minute!! He even got interviewed by Rishi Persad on ITV racing and thank you for all the kind comments we have received, everyone thought he was great!! He got to meet lots of different people, including Ronnie Bartlett of Albert Bartlett potato fame- he’d wanted to tell him his potatoes are the best and pitch a business idea to him…he managed to do this so watch this space!!  Jack enjoyed it so much he desperately wanted to have another day out but a school sports fixture put a halt to this idea.  He is already looking forward to 2024 and I may have to put him on the tipping panel!

King at Fontwell

It was great to get a winner over the weekend at Fontwell with King Turgeon who was winning for the first time in his career on his second start for the stable. Placed in France we bought him from Arqana sales and he was disappointing on stable debut at Exeter in January. He subsequently underwent wind surgery and I am delighted this had a positive effect on his return to action at the weekend. He is a lovely big five year old and Tom Bellamy gave him a nice positive ride. This will have given him a lot of confidence and I am sure he can build on this going forwards.  He does have an entry at Newbury on Friday of this week but we are unlikely to run unless the handicapper is too harsh!

This Week

The racing action continues thick and fast in the coming days and we have runner’s every day this week, spread around the country so keep checking the daily blog for more news on stable runners.  On Tuesday we have First Lord Du Cuet at Wetherby and Little Red Lion at Plumpton.  On Wednesday we are at three meetings, Ffos Las, Haydock and Warwick.  Looking a little further ahead to the weekend we have a couple of entries at Newbury on Saturday which includes Eden Du Houx who was a good second at Sandown on his latest start.   On Sunday we have entries at local track Exeter.

Sales & New Aquisitions

After racing at Cheltenham on Thursday there was sales in which horses are sold in the parade ring. There were joint top lots with two horses fetching £420,000 and both have returned to Ireland to be trained by Gordon Elliott. Plenty of lots were sold for six figure prices but I was delighted to secure lot 12, Vision De Maine privately outside the ring. He is a lovely big four year old who has won his only start in an Irish point to point. He returned home to Pond House over the weekend and has settled in well and we look forward to learning more about him.  We also have a new arrival from France, a three year old filly who we hope will be prepared to run in the first juvenile hurdle race of the season at Hexham in the Summer.  Waitara has won two races on the flat in France showing a good attitude and having only arrived in the last few days she is already starting to jump a few poles.  Sales continue this week at Ascot on Wednesday so I have had plenty of bedtime ready to keep me busy!