Entries & Recent Form

Welcome to 2011!  I wonder how many people have already broken their New Year's Resolutions?  My first one was to stop backing West Ham just because they are my team - I will probably break that one later on today when they take on Wolves at home.  The biggest price available is 21/20, although Wolves did look good against a very poor Liverpool team last time.

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The stable is in great form following a treble at Taunton yesterday afternoon.  Lucy's Perfect started the ball rolling under an inspired Tom Scudamore ride, rallying on the run-in to get back past A P McCoy on Mizzurka having been headed at the last.  Tom was very pleased to get the better of the champ in a driving finish - it is not very often that anyone can say they have done that!  Dream Esteem finished a close second in the handicap hurdle under a big weight (conceding a stone to the winner), before Dynaste won the big race of the day.  He was providing conditional jockey Conor O'Farrell with his first winner in this country - Conor looked very strong and I can see him riding a few more winners yet.

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Wow!  Can you remember the last time that Pond House produced a 50/1 winner?  Well African Broadway won the concluding bumper at Newbury yesterday afternoon at that price under Johnny Farrelly.  There was no semblance of fluke about it either as the ex-Irish point-to-pointer came through the gloom sixteen lengths clear of the remainder of the field.  Johnny said that he was a nice stayer in the making, but judging by the way he won yesterday, there are a few more races to be won with him over two miles.

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I was thrilled to see England retain the Ashes over the Aussies with an innings and 157 run victory in the final Test.  Australian captain Ricky Ponting is apparently considering his future - I am not surprised really...the Aussies were completely outplayed by England and I am bewildered at how we ever lost a Test to them!  This was probably the worst Australian side that I have seen during my lifetime and I bet some of the old Aussies are turning in their graves - one thing is for sure, Shane Warne certainly knew the right time to retire!

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Good news!...We have at least two race meetings on - over the sticks at Ffos Las and a National Hunt flat race card at Southwell on the all-weather.  It is of course a consequence of the milder weather that we have had over the last few days in the South of England.  I had better find a few winners on the Pipeline to pay for Christmas - the wife is going to hit the sales in Exeter this afternoon (she did Torquay yesterday)!

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We have temperatures of 4c at Pond House this morning!  It is the first time that temperatures have been above zero at this time of day for a long time, which is great news.  We still have several inches of snow so it is going to need to stay at these sort of temperatures for a while to melt it all, but there is hope!  I remember back in 1962/63 when there was no racing in England from 23rd December to 7th March with the loss of 94 race meetings.  Just imagine if there was a similar sort of bad weather this winter, I'm sure there would be several more fixtures lost than that due to the increase in meetings.  It is lucky these days as well that we have some all-weather racing to keep us going.

If they put the King George back any further it will be the summer King George!  The new date of the race is January 15th and they will also stage the Grade 1 Christmas hurdle, although maybe we could call it the Easter hurdle!  Surely they can get a meeting on before the 15th January?

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I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day?  What a shame but there is no racing on today as the last remaining hopes of seeing any action at Fontwell and Wolverhampton were wiped out when they were both abandoned this morning after inspections.  It was a very cold night across the country with temperatures still on at -7C at Pond House at 8.30am this morning!  It is a real sporting day however in the Barnes household.  I am very lucky in Brixham with the weather not quite as bad as everywhere else and my local golf course, Churston is having a Texas scarmble competition this morning and later on I shall be watching the football, Fulham versus West Ham.  It is such a shame that the King George has been abandoned as it is tradition in my household to be watching Kempton on Boxing Day.  They hope to run the re-arranged King George and the William Hill Christmas Hurdle in the card at the track tomorrow and what a days action that proposes to be, but once again we are in the lap of the gods as to whether any racing will actually take place.  They are inspecting the course at 2pm this afternoon so we shall know our fate later today.

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