Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form

This time next week, all being well, we could be set for our first day’s racing since it was stopped in March.  We have been receiving lots of guidance from the BHA about protocols and PPE to ensure everyone follows strict guidelines.  There is an online course that staff have to complete if they will be attending race meetings as well as health screening forms and temperatures will be taken of everyone arriving at the racecourse.  Failure to complete any of these steps will mean they will be prevented from entering the racecourse.  We were used to doing it for the horses last year when we had the equine flu and so now we will have to get used to doing it for humans!

We have also received a provisional fixture list that runs up until the end of August. The first scheduled jumps meeting is at Southwell  on Wednesday 1st July with one the day after as well although that venue is yet to be confirmed – it is likely to be in Wales or Scotland but they are waiting for further government guidance before confirming.

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            Delface & Mr Clarkson

There have been significant developments in the last week in the racing world with regards to the resumption of racing in this country.  Everyone is now focusing on a return to flat action behind closed doors on 1st June at Newcastle.  A programme of race meetings and races has been released for the first eight days while they are hoping to produce the fixture list for the rest of June by the end of this week.  There is a big weekend planned for 6th/7th June with the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas scheduled to take place while Royal Ascot will take place on its original dates 16th – 20th June.

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      Extra Mag & Brinkley Out at Grass

Another week has passed and while Boris’ speech did not give any clues as to when racing might resume I believe we will find out more in the next couple of days.  The government will hopefully put some ‘meat on the bones’ to the Prime Minister’s speech and give further details of its road plan later today and when the Resumption of  Racing group have met as well we should find out more.  Fingers crossed we may get a date when the flat will be able start sometime this week.  My three children watched his speech with us last night and were all left a little disappointed.  They were hoping to hear about sleepover’s and when they might be able to go shopping next and it is really hard to explain to Martha (4) that these things would not be happening for a while!

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Days seem to be passing by quite quickly despite a relative lack of things to entertain us which I guess is a good thing!  There are still plenty of jobs going on at Pond House and I am managing to keep out of trouble!  The kids are settled into their home schooling routine and although it is quite stressful for Leanne things are going pretty well and she is doing a great job.

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                 Brinkley at Sunset

Another week has passed and thankfully we sort of remain in our own little bubble at Pond House.  Life continues relatively normally, while things outside are of course nowhere near normal.  Thankfully all the staff and horses remain healthy and everyone I speak to fortunately seems relatively untouched by something that has brought so much disruption and heartache to many. 

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 Champers On Ice after Winning at Newbury

I thought this week I would pick out a few key moments and horses from the past season which has been a good one for the yard.  We enjoyed a fine season with 64 winners and a good ninth place in the trainer’s championship.  We sent out more winners than the likes of Colin Tizzard, Jonjo O’Neill and Donald McCain despite considerably fewer runners.  I was particularly proud of our winners to runner’s ratio this term.  With 49% of the horses to have run for us during the season winning at least one race we boasted a strike rate higher than any other stable in the top ten of the championship, Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls included. 

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          Some of the 'Girls' at Grass

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable Easter weekend all things considered.  The weather has certainly played its part and I have enjoyed spending time with the kids in the garden.  cricket, football, water fights and Easter egg hunts, you name it we have done it!  They would have been going back to school this week but obviously with the lockdown still in place it is back to home learning in the days ahead, good luck Leanne!!  My girls, Sophie and Martha both entered the Fairyhouse racecourse colouring competition.  We weren’t winners but they enjoyed doing it and it was great to see a lot of the entries on Twitter yesterday.  Had things be different I might well have been in Ireland today with Vieux Lion Rouge in the Irish National, maybe if it is rescheduled for the Autumn we will consider it.

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