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Entries & Recent Form

Monday 13th December was a very sad day at Pond House stables when we learned of the passing of Neville Harrison at the age of eighty-five. Neville was the father of our long serving secretary Gail and her brother Martyn.

Neville was an eminent vet who had a practice at Ashburton and also used to conduct the veterinary dope testing at Newton Abbot and Devon & Exeter racecourses as well as the other local tracks when required.

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I had just settled in for the afternoon to watch racing from Folkestone on the television and I couldn't believe my eyes - no pictures, just a commentary!  It was just like going back 25 years in time to when there were no pictures in the betting shops.  While the racecourse commentators do a very good job (and in fairness make a very difficult job sound very easy) it is not the same as getting pictures from the course - with pictures you can see if your horse is in trouble some way out, but with commentary only, it seems as though the caller is trying to make it sound as though every horse still has a chance!

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Even if you are not a Blackburn Rovers supporter, I am sure that it would have still come as a shock that manager Sam Allardyce was given the sack yesterday.  Sam has done a fantastic job at Blackburn, the problem is that many of these football clubs are now owned by people that don't have any idea about the game.  Clubs such as Blackburn do well to remain in the Premiership.  The new owners say that they are going to spend £5 million in the January transfer window - I don't mean to be flippant, but what does £5 million buy you in football these days?...a pair of Tevez's shin pads?!

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Amanda_Barrie_Panto

On Saturday night Martin and Carol, along with friends George, Angie, Simon and Susie were invited to a pantomime of Cinderella, showing at the Bournemouth Pavillion starring Amanda Barrie. It was a spectacular show…oh yes it was!

There were loads of children present (including us!), all shouting “He’s behind you!”   Amanda played the Fairy Godmother and she was fantastically funny, while director Chris Jarvis (of CBeebies fame) was very entertaining as Buttons. Tom Owen (Last of the Summer Wine) played Baron Hardup.

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Some things in racing never seem to change...and so it was yesterday as Huntingdon abandoned their card at 10.30am.  I am sure that most of the intended runners were already on the road by this point.  Personally, if I was a trainer I would be inclined to send the course a bill for my raceday expenses.  I know that having gone to the trouble of rescheduling the meeting from Friday they would want to give the course every chance of racing, but I am told that there was very little chance of the meeting ever getting the go-ahead, so why was there the need for three inspections?

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Surely the Racing Post must have a better picture of Henry Cecil than the one they used in yesterday's paper.  Apparently on St Patrick's Day Henry will be making his first visit to the Cheltenham Festival Meeting in March - I find that really difficult to believe.  Maybe I will be able to persuade him to join us in our hospitality marquee?  I stayed with Henry at Warren Place a few years ago along with MCP and AP and I still have the picture of the four of us holding gold cups from Henry's Group One collection hanging on my wall.  He put me up in a room full of thousands of metal soldiers from The Charge of the Light Brigade (Battle of Balaclava, 1854) - I was kept awake all night by the noise they were making!

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What a great card at Cheltenham this afternoon, it wouldn't look out of place at the Festival in March!  The race I am most looking forward to is the 3.05pm which features a clash between Cue Card, Menorah and Silviniaco Conti - all three wouldn't look out of place in a Champion Hurdle and all have big reputations to uphold so something has to give here.  Don't forget that it's an early start too, with the action getting underway at 11.40am.  Allow plenty of time if you are going - the traffic is likely to be heavy as there hasn't been much racing and jumps fans will be getting withdrawal symptoms!

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