NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sun Mar 24
Carlisle, Exeter
Mon Mar 25
Wincanton
Tue Mar 26
Hereford, Hexham

The Grand National 2019

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Entries & Recent Form

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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Despite the promise of some rain last week, it never really materialised with just over 4mm falling at Pond House throughout the course of the entire weekend. It certainly wasn’t enough to save Exeter who were hoping to host their season opening meeting this coming Thursday. Unfortunately with the ground officially firm (hard in places) at the end of last week it is not really surprising that the fixture has had to be abandoned. Obviously the safety of the horses and jockeys are of paramount importance so the correct decision has been made, but it is a shame nonetheless.

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With the unusually dry weather conditions of late and no rain in the immediate weather forecast the ground at the tracks remains unseasonably fast. People often forget that this can happen and it will be a few more weeks before the winter horses from Pond House will be reappearing.  Consequently we have had relatively few runners, while there is a bit of a dearth of entries for the week ahead. Even so, those that have run have continued to do so with credit and I remain pleased with the form of the stable.

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Autumn is now officially upon us and nice as the summer has been with an abundance of fine sunshine and sizzling temperatures, there is something about the changing of the seasons that brings a heightened anticipation to the place as the horses continue their preparations for the core part of the jumps season. Although maybe not as strong in numbers as we have been in previous seasons, I think we have a very nice team of horses assembled for the coming months and annual members of Chepstow racecourse were able to witness them first hand when they paid us a visit last week.

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There was a somewhat truncated National Hunt programme last week with the jumps action finishing on Wednesday and as such we were limited to just the three runners. They were spread far and wide with Dell’ Arca contesting the Kerry National at the Listowel Festival in Ireland. I am pleased to report that the horses continue to perform well as the bulk of the string continue their preparation for the core part of the season – after all, the first fixture of the new campaign from Cheltenham is little over a month away!

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There were only three runners from Pond House last week (and two of those were on the flat), but I am pleased to report that the horses continue in good form and we were back among the winners again with the success of Jacbequick on the level at Ffos Las. With the bulk of the horses at the stables continuing their preparations ahead of the core part of the jumps season and an Owners’ Day last Saturday to organise it has certainly been a busy time.

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Although there were only a handful of runners last week, the majority performed well and I was delighted to produce a winner for long-standing (and colourful!) owner Stuart Mercer. While there isn’t a huge amount of jumping in the coming days, we still have a handful of entries and even turn our hands to the flat this afternoon.

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It was once again fairly quiet on the runner’s front from the yard but we had a few that ran well.  It was a particularly pleasing comeback/stable debut from Midnight Sapphire who finishes second at Newton Abbot.  We had her in the yard a while but a few little setbacks have kept her off the track for 18 months.  Her owner/breeders have been very patient and it was great to reward them with a good effort.  She showed a very willing attitude keeping on all the way to the line, nearest at the finish and only beaten 1½ lengths.  The good thing is that she has come out of the race well and hopefully she can build on that run next time and go one place better.

Whitley Neill was a shade disappointing at Newton Abbot on the same card.  He finished third but Tom Scu said he found the track a bit too sharp and a return to a more galloping course next time should be more to his liking.

Dell’arca made a quick reappearance on the flat at Goodwood after his Newbury win and he probably ran better than his finishing suggests.  Jockey Luke Morris said he did not really handle the track.  He remains in good heart and he will have a few easy days before we decide his next target, whether it be on the flat, over hurdles or fences.  A nice little problem to have!

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