Cheltenham Festival 2020

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     Ramses De Teille - National Entries

Well as I write we are all of course waiting for news of if racing will resume on Wednesday with an announcement expected to be made later this evening.  I was quite hopeful over the weekend with no new reports but with the breaking news overnight of four news cases at Simon Crisford’s Newmarket yard being confirmed this surely puts Wednesday’s re-start in doubt.

It seems that Pond House is one of the lucky yards.  I had no runners involved in any of the meetings from which trainers were placed in ‘lockdown’ although as Charlie Mann has said we are all effectively in this state with no racing taking place.  Fortunately we have not had to swab our horses and we are not in the long queue for results of tests and waiting to be cleared.  We have entries later in the week and we are all set to run should racing get the go ahead.  At the weekend I am very much looking forward to the Grand National trial at Haydock should racing be on.  This morning we have confirmed Daklondike, Ramses De Teille and Vieux Lion Rouge for the race.   

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The fixture list was once again affected by the severe weather during the course of last week. Indeed, temperatures at Pond House plummeted to -3°c during the daytime last Friday and we had 5 inches of snow descend upon us. Fortunately I have a dedicated team of staff who braved the elements to make it into work and look after and exercise their beloved charges…my grateful thanks to all of them for their efforts. With temperatures remaining low over the weekend the treacherous ice remained for a couple of days, whilst there is still a little snow on the surrounding hills now despite it being considerably milder.

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The weather was playing havoc with the fixture list again last week. Freezing temperatures meant that we were left with two days where there was no jump racing at all in this country and I see that there are weather warnings in place for the days ahead. Consequently we only had one runner last week, but he performed with credit and things are already looking busier for the week ahead (weather permitting!) with four runners at two meetings this afternoon (Monday).

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Unfortunately last week was a story of ‘what ifs’. Whilst the horses continued to perform well, we endured a somewhat frustrating run with a number of runners reaching the frame without quite getting their heads in front.

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Last week perfectly illustrated the up’s and down’s of our wonderful sport. It may be a little clichéd, but as the old saying goes the only certainty is the glorious uncertainty! Having suffered the low of a shock reversal for 1/14 chance Queens Cave (more on that later), only a couple of hours later we were celebrating a first success for one of jump racing’s staunchest supporters and most revered owners.

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The New Year is now upon us and with the Cheltenham Festival only nine weeks away I continue to be pleased by the form of the stable. Indeed, what better way to say goodbye to 2018 than with a winner at Uttoxeter and hello to 2019 with a double at Exeter on New Year’s Day?

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I hope you all enjoyed a great Christmas! With 2018 coming to a close I am pleased to be signing off the year with the horses in good form. Ramses de Teillee ran a cracker to finish a very creditable second in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow while many others also performed well to reach the frame. With Delface a winner on the last day of the year, I am looking forward to 2019, the remainder of the season and beyond.

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