NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Thu Jan 17
Lingfield, Newcastle
Thu Jan 17
Ludlow, Market Rasen, Wincanton
Fri Jan 18
Lingfield, Newcastle

Cheltenham Festival 2019

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Entries & Recent Form

I have always thought that the job of racecourse ground staff was a difficult task but the weather conditions have only heightened my admiration for the teams who work so hard to produce decent jumping ground. On the whole they do an outstanding job, although unfortunately with a mixed bag of weather across the country the ground continues to be very hit and miss from course to course. Indeed, some tracks are offering really testing, holding ground, whilst Leicester have already had to abandon one fixture due to the hard going and they currently describe their surface ahead of Sunday’s intended fixture as ‘firm’.

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Once again, the lack of any significant rain continues to frustrate and meant that we had comparatively few runners last week, primarily at Cheltenham’s November meeting where we have traditionally been so strong in the past. Of course, it is disappointing to leave that fixture without a winner but there were some decent performances, not least the impressive debut success of Umbrigado at Uttoxeter on Saturday afternoon.

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While the downpours of last week may not be to everyone’s taste, it is certainly welcome news for all fans of the jumps. With the ease in the going, there were more runners from the Pond House team than in recent weeks and I was pleased to be among the winners with the successes of Aldrin and Remastered, while there were a whole host of other good performances. This is the time of year when we traditionally get into top gear and with the Cheltenham Open fixture taking place this weekend; I am very pleased with the form of the stable.

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We were pleased to be among the winners courtesy of Jacbequick’s first hurdles success at Fakenham last Wednesday, whilst we picked up some exciting new prospects at the Newmarket Horses In Training Sales so all in all it has been a good week. With rain (apparently) on the way, we will begin to have more runners.

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The rain meant that we had a few more runners last week, although unfortunately there was not sufficient juice in the ground for a large raiding party at Cheltenham for their first meeting of the season. It is very difficult to predict the ground at this time of year and is very frustrating when you declare to run on one type of going and end up racing on a completely different surface. The rain at Cheltenham only arrived during racing on Saturday and quickly changed the watered good going to good/soft and the times would suggest that it became quite testing with some relatively slow times in the latter races.

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With all due respect to the meetings that have gone before, the jumps season ‘proper’ gets underway this weekend with the first fixture of the new season from Cheltenham almost upon us. It marks a significant change of pace around the yard and the anticipation is mounting with a hat full of entries at the jumps fixtures over the coming days, including some of our more exciting prospects for the core part of the jumps season.

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The rain finally arrived last week with a vengeance and with the downpours came an abundance of winter runners. Chepstow must have been pleased with their turn-out for their season opening meeting on Saturday and Sunday with the wet weather arriving just in time to give them the first ‘proper’ jumping ground of the new season. Although we were not on the mark last week, most of the horses ran well without quite getting their heads in front so I remain pleased with the form of the stable.

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