Entries & Recent Form

It is Christmas Eve and even though it has only been a day without racing, I am missing it already!  Fortunately there are only two more sleeps until Boxing Day and some cracking action which includes the King George VI Chase from Kempton.  Of course, the big news yesterday came with the government announcements that most parts of the country are moving into higher tiers and that the majority of racecourses will have to operate behind closed doors, whilst many bookmaking shops will have to shut.  Let's hope that the latest measures have the desired effect and we are able to return to some sort of normality in 2021.

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Well, that's it for the racing until Boxing Day now.  The jock's get a couple of days off, although I don't suppose too many of them will be indulging in too many festive treats as they will need to be back on top form for a big weekend of racing with the King George meeting at Kempton on Saturday and the Welsh National at Chepstow on Sunday.  It was announced yesterday that any Irish raiders who were intended runners will not be able to travel across following a new set of travel restrictions.  How long these will be in place for is anybody's guess but some of the Christmas racing will be less competitive as a consequence.

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There are three meetings taking place this afternoon with jumps cards from Huntingdon and Sedgefield and an all-weather flat fixture from Lingfield.  It is very much the calm before the Christmas storm as with all due respect to today's fixtures, they aren't exactly inspiring.  There are no runners from the Pond House team today, although David Noonan makes the long journey to Huntingdon today for one ride aboard a 66/1 shot.  That is a seven hour round trip for him, so let's hope that it can outrun his odds, otherwise it is going to be a pretty arduous drive home.

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Unfortunately it was a disappointing weekend for the stable with Main Fact not giving his true running in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.  Our seven year old entered his first try in Grade 1 company on a nine race winning streak but after travelling well for much of the way, he was unable to go with the leaders when the tempo increased off the home bend.  It was always going to be a tough ask, but he is certainly capable of better than he produced here.  The main thing is that he is home safe and sound and in one piece and there will be plenty more big days for him.

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Following the abandonment of Bangor yesterday due to waterlogging, we are left with just two meetings.  There is jumps action from Fakenham and an all-weather flat fixture from Southwell.  David has one runner today as Gabrielle du Seuil makes the trip to Fakenham to contest the 2m handicap hurdle at 2.20pm.  She showed promise in two starts in France and was far from disgraced on her seasonal reappearance.  The four ahead of her that day have all run creditably since, with the winner and fourth both scoring subsequently.  She is 10lbs lower today in what looks a less competitive race and looks to have each-way claims under Tom Scudamore.

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Today is a massive day for everyone at Pond House as Main Fact aims to make it a perfect ten in a row!  Our incredible seven year old gelding heads the card for the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot today on his first foray into Grade 1 company at 2.25pm.  He produced the best performance of his career when coming from a seemingly impossible position to win the valuable Grade 3 Stayers' handicap hurdle at Haydock last time but this will require another level again.  He faces former champion stayer Paisley Park and the ante-post favourite for Cheltenham Festival glory, Thyme Hill but who knows where the ceiling is for Main Fact?  The rain-softened ground will certainly aid his cause.  Fergus Gillard, who gets on so well with him, retains the ride despite not being able to claim his 5lbs allowance which is a great sporting gesture by his owners.  Let's hope they are rewarded this afternoon, we will all be cheering him home!

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There are four meetings taking place this afternoon with jumps action from Ascot and Uttoxeter as well as a couple of all-weather flat fixtures from Southwell and Wolverhampton.  David has one runner today as First Lord de Cuet contests the fiercely competitive conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle at 12.45pm.  He has reached the frame in each of his three starts this term and is 2lbs higher this afternoon.  The trip and ground should be fine for him so he shouldn't be far away again and has place claims, although there are many with chances.  Fergus Gillard is in the saddle.

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