NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Tue Aug 14
Uttoxeter
Wed Aug 15
Newton Abbot, Worcester
Wed Aug 15
Uttoxeter

Entries & Recent Form

How time flies…I was reminded only yesterday that it was the anniversary of my first winner as a jockey under rules.  It was an amateur rider’s handicap hurdle at Hereford and I was aboard a horse trained by my father and owned by the Martin Pipe Racing Club called Passed Pawn.  He was a cracking little horse in the right grade and he looked after me to oblige by a comfortable four lengths at odds of 2/1.  That was NINETEEN(!) years ago and digging through the Pond House archives I found a black and white article from the now defunct Sporting Life newspaper commemorating the achievement.  There is a picture of us in the winners’ enclosure with Chester (no more fashion sense then than now!) on one side and my father (holding a “mobile” phone the size of a brick) on the other.

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We opened the doors to Pond House again yesterday for the second and final Garden Party of 2011 for owners and friends of the yard.  Around 150 people joined us for an informal tour of the establishment where they could catch up with old friends human and equine before enjoying drinks and a bite to eat.  Fortunately the weather was kind to us and we experienced a warm, sunny summer afternoon.

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Thankfully the weather held fairly fine on Sunday as owners and friends gathered at Pond House for the first of our garden parties. It was great to catch up with new and old acquaintances with a chance for them to have a look at the horses and around the yard and enjoy a spot of lunch. We had a couple of heavy showers but we had the tour of the yard done and were back in the dry before the heavens opened! For those of you who saw the Racing Post yesterday you will have seen myself and Tom Scu pictured alongside Grands Grus. Its great to have him back in from his holiday and we are very excited to be planning a Novice chase campaign with him for this season. Due to his trip to France he had a slightly later holiday than some of the others and has only just come in the last few days and we will be aiming to start him off over the larger obstacles sometime in November.

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We had an enjoyable trip across to Ireland last week for the third day of the Galway Festival. The Irish really know how to look after their guests and we had a great time despite coming back empty handed (unlike Dermot Weld, who had an incredible week with no less than seventeen winners!).

I thought that Matuhi was in the process of running an excellent race in the Galway Plate when he was brought down at the final fence. I must disagree with the Racing Post race analysts who thought that he was a beaten sixth at the time of his departure – personally I don’t think that Hadden had gone for everything and I would not have been at all surprised to see him reach one of the minor placings.

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What an exciting week we have to look forward to with Ireland’s Galway Festival getting under way this evening and Glorious Goodwood starting on these shores tomorrow.

I will be travelling over to Ireland on Wednesday when I will be having my first runners at the track. We will be represented by two runners in the big race of the meeting, The Galway Plate – Qulinton and Matuhi. Qulinton, who was successful when romping to a 19 length victory in Market Rasen’s Summer Plate the weekend before last will take his chance from a 12lbs higher mark. In fairness I thought that he might take a bigger hike in the weights for that and I am pleased to say that the handicapper looks to have given him a bit of a chance.   He will be partnered again by winning jockey Conor O’Farrell.

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It was a fantastic weekend for the yard with Qulinton absolutely bolting up in the Listed Summer Plate Chase at Market Rasen on Saturday. The application of a pair of blinkers certainly woke him up and he produced a great performance to demolish his field by 19 lengths.

The form of his previous narrow win at Worcester had received a nice boost when the second home, Sir Ian routed his opposition by 35 lengths last month, so the subsequent rise of 10lbs in the weights did not look out of the way. I have liked the horse for a long time and he has often struck me as the type to win a nice prize - another rise in the handicap is surely on it’s way, taking his rating somewhere into the upper 140’s, however if he can continue to build on this then another decent prize may be within his compass.

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The pace is beginning to pick up again around the yard, with plenty of the horses coming back from their summer holidays with their owners or the Pond House paddocks, as well as the arrival of the new recruits from France. With plenty more due to arrive over the coming weeks we look to have a strong squad to look forward to once the 2011/12 jumps season gets into full swing.

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