It was a very quiet week on the runners front since last writing with just four runners and Kintaro faring best with a third place over hurdles at Bangor.  He improved from his debut at Hereford and stayed on nicely on Saturday after jumping well throughout at odds of 66/1.  He has ability but is a quirky character and it was just nice to see him finish off the race so well.  He looks capable of winning over hurdles if he can build on this effort.

Pub Crawl hasn’t taken to hurdling as well as we had hoped just yet but he has an engine and there is definitely better in his locker.  Behind the Curtain was badly hampered by a faller at Newton Abbot when he returned to fences and did well to finish as close as he did in fifth after this.  Heure De Gloire did not enjoy the quicker ground conditions and we will have to wait for some more rain before she runs again.  I am thinking of taking her on a trip to France a bit later in the summer to run, she is already a winner over there and ground conditions are more like to be in her favour.

This Week

We start the week with a runner on the flat at Windsor on Monday evening, Rebel Angel.  It looks a competitive race but if she can build on her promising third behind a well-handicapped rival at Chepstow last time then I hope she can run well.  Promising apprentice, Ethan Jones rides again.

On Thursday, we could have two new stable recruits making their Pond House debuts. Both Coltor and Groundbreaker carry the colours of the Value Racing Club and are entered at Worcester.  Groundbreaker will be making his hurdling debut while Coltor has some high class hurdling and flat form to his name already and has an entry in the staying handicap hurdle.  Groundbreaker has some very good flat form in the book and has a rating of 94 on the level.  He has schooled well at home and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.  Coltor has to carry top weight in his race with a mark of 137 over hurdles.  He is a likeable character at home and shows plenty of ability and there is plenty of fun to be had with him in the coming months both over hurdles and on the flat.   

On Friday we have entries at three meetings with Manuelito entered on the flat at Goodwood and entries at two jumps meetings, Market Rasen and Newton Abbot.  Manuelito has done nothing but improve since we have had him and was most impressive in winning over hurdles at Ffos Las last time.  He has a flat mark of 63 from his early career with Richard Hannon and I hope he can capitalise on this when we try him back on the flat.  He also has entries at Sandown on Saturday and Salisbury on Sunday and so is likely to take up one of these engagements.

Nibras Gold and Steppenwolf have an entry at Market Rasen after both running well at Ffos Las last time.  Nibras Gold looked like winning on his chasing debut before being caught late on while Steppenwolf won nicely on stable debut.  The handicapper has had his say with both of them since but both still have scope for improvement.  Happy Helen could make her stable debut in the juvenile hurdle.  She has recently joined us from the Michael Dods yard and while her form shows rooms for improvement, jumping could be the answer.  Her breeding suggests hurdling and a step up in trip could be the making of her as she is half-sister to the useful Mark of Gold.  She has settled in well since joining our team and has done plenty of schooling.  She has taken to it very well and has been enjoying it so hopefully she can put up a good performance in what is just the second three year old hurdle of the year.

A little closer to home we have entries at Newton Abbot which include recent course runner up, Walk of the Roses, Ocean Heights, Hammer Dan and newcomers Born In the West and Tres Bien in the bumper.  Born in the West is a point-to-point winner while Tres Bien has been place in a couple of point-to-point bumpers.  The plan is to run both of these.  Newton Abbot is evening racing and there will be a big crowd in attendance no doubt.

On Saturday we have jumps entries at Uttoxter and also on the flat at Sandown.  On Sunday we have flat entries at Salisbury so keep checking the Daily News on the website for the latest news on the stable runners.

Happy Retirement Darren Edwards

Amateur jockey, Darren Edwards, brother to Gemma in the office retired from the saddle on Saturday after riding a double at Umberleigh point to point.  I believe there was even a couple of Frankie Dettori dismounts as well!  He was crowned Devon and Cornwall champion rider once again and bows out having ridden 360 winners point to pointing and under rules combined.  Darren rode Maximize to win the Kim Muir at the 2004 Cheltenham Festival for dad and owner David Johnson in 2004 at odds of 40/1.  Gemma had not long started working in the office at Pond House and helped to get him the ride! It really was a remarkable race and you can watch a replay of it on You Tube by clicking the link below.

Maximize was the highlight for Darren in what was an illustrious career in the saddle, a true amateur having a ‘proper’ office job Monday to Friday!  He is a great rider and he gives a lot back to the sport, now sitting on the Point-to-Point Authority board.  Happy Retirement Darren!