Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form

Despite the loss of another host of fixtures due to the adverse weather conditions last week, we did manage to hit the mark with the cosy success of Night Edition.  With Cheltenham now only a fortnight away, the string continues in good form and we are currently on the 57 winner mark for the season.

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   Ramses De Teillee - Winner at Haydock
Unfortunately as with Storm Ciara, Storm Dennis is playing havoc with the racing calendar but Ascot and Haydock both survived the storms onslaught on Saturday.  Ramses De Teillee travelled to Haydock and put in another fine display to win the Grade 2 Prestige novices hurdle under David Noonan.  Given a sensible ride in conditions he led at a nice pace and the race turned into a duel between the market principles as they turned for home.  The second favourite, Kalooki looked to be travelling slightly the best and in fact hit the front at the last but Ramses responded willingly to the jockey’s urgings close home and asserted inside the final furlong to win by four lengths going away at the line.  The runner up is held in high regard by the Hobbs team and Ramses was giving his rival 5 pounds which makes it an even finer performance. 

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There seems to have been an abundance of bad news of late and sadly that trend continued last week as the racing industry lamented the loss of two notable characters. Gold Cup winning trainer Robert Alner passed away at the age of 76, whilst former jockey James Banks was just 36 years old.

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The good form of the stable continued last week with the successes of Main Fact (pictured above) and Eden du Houx taking our tally to 55 winners for the season which is comfortably more than our total for all of last term.  We have also surpassed last season’s prize money haul and our strike rate is also considerably higher, which means we have already achieved the three main targets I set for myself at the start of the season and that is with three months of the current campaign still remaining.

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It was a real rollercoaster of a week for the stable with some fantastic highs and a couple of the most dreadful lows.  We did enjoy three winners over jumps, marking our first victories of the New Year.  Main Fact (pictured above) was a real hero, winning twice within the space of three days, whilst Ramses de Teillee produced a fantastic performance to land the Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Doncaster on Saturday.  There were however some crushing lows to deal with as we lost Eur Gone West to a fall at Huntingdon on Friday and Warthog who was pulled up having gone wrong at Cheltenham on Saturday.

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  Ghost Serge - Winner at Wolverhampton

Last week was another quiet one for the yard but that was less by design and more to do with the elements!  With another 50+mm of rain falling around the area in the last fortnight there were a number of abandoned meetings and where racing did take place, there was some atrocious ground to contend with.

Little Red Lion was our only runner during the early part of the week, running in the 2m3½f amateur riders’ handicap hurdle at Lingfield on Monday.  He looked to be in a little bit of bother with a circuit to go but he kept responding to rider Fergus Gillard’s urgings to hold every chance approaching the last hurdle.  He was unable to match the pace of the winner from there but he kept going well to finish a clear second, doing more than enough to suggest that he can win something similar for the David Pipe Racing Club.  He certainly wasn’t disgraced, trying to concede 23lbs to Shimba Hills and should prove even better over a longer distance.

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I did say in my latest column that last week would probably be a quiet one and so it proved.  Indeed, we didn’t have any runners over the last seven days, partly to give the horses some additional time to recover from their flu jabs and partly due to some desperately soft ground owing to further heavy downpours.  Not even ‘Lucky Gem’ can help us if we don’t have any runners!

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Happy New Year to all of our readers!  As we head into the second half of the season I have been very pleased by the form of the yard.  The horses have been running really well and I was delighted to reach 50 winners for the campaign before the end of 2019.  With the Cheltenham Festival now less than ten weeks away, attentions begin to turn to the biggest four days on the National Hunt calendar.

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I can’t believe that this is the final column of 2019!  I hope that all readers had a most enjoyable Christmas.  I had a lovely one with the family but have to confess that I was pleased to get back to work on Boxing Day; one of the most prestigious day’s racing on the calendar.  I was even more delighted to notch an across the card double on the day courtesy of the successes of Hugo ‘N Taz (pictured above) at Market Rasen and Meep Meep Mag at Sedgefield.

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The stable heads into the Christmas period on 46 winners following the impressive Ascot success of Israel Champ in a hotly contested Listed bumper under Tom Scudmore on Friday.  He is a horse I have held in high regard since he arrived in the summer and although I was a little disappointed with him first time out for the yard at Worcester he has done nothing but improve ever since.  He won a competitive race at Cheltenham last time and bettered that performance this time by giving four pounds to some very talented rivals.

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