Entries & Recent Form

I am sure that with the start of the Cheltenham Festival now less than 24 hours away, you will excuse me if this week’s offering is somewhat shorter than usual. Suffice to say there are many last minute logistics that need to be taken care of, while I will also be at Taunton this afternoon to saddle my runners there so it really is all go, go, go!

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With Cheltenham now only a week away it is looking like a very low key build-up to the Festival as far as the Pond House team is concerned. Hardly surprising given the storms and snow blizzards of last week, but we did manage to have one runner on the all-weather, while this week is looking similarly quiet. Hopefully the ground will dry out sufficiently for there to be some jumps action at the weekend, with Sandown’s two day Imperial Cup fixture in particular being one that I always look forward to.

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We are approaching the final countdown to the Cheltenham Festival now and with only two weeks left to go until the biggest four days in jump racing, the preview season is now upon us. Indeed, as usual I will be featuring on the panels at Exeter and Taunton racecourses on 6th and 9th March respectively and they are normally informative and entertaining affairs. Furthermore, they benefit good causes so I would encourage anyone who has not been before to take a look – details can be found on their websites.

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With Cheltenham now only three weeks away, I remain pleased with the form of the horses. Indeed, with three winners last week taking our tally to 26 and a whole host of other creditable performances, I am very much looking forward to getting the four biggest days on the jumps calendar underway. With most of the trials now behind us and the bulk of the preparation done, it is now more a case of keeping the horses ticking over.

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Just as I have finished writing this it is great to get a winner at Plumpton this afternoon with Eamon An Cnoic!  This was his second win over fences this season and he bounced back from a below par effort last time.  Tom Scu gave him a nice confident ride and he was giving twelve pounds to the runner up so it is a good performance.  He will be better on a more galloping track and I hope there is a bit more to come from our seven year old over the larger obstacles. 

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I was pleased to be on the scoreboard again last week following the success of promising former Irish recruit Remastered in the bumper at Chepstow on Friday. The countdown to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival continues apace and with five weeks remaining until jump racing’s blue riband it is good to keep the tally ticking over.

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Our racing week was curtailed somewhat when Fontwell was abandoned on Sunday due to heavy rain leaving the course waterlogged in places. That left us with just three runners during the course of the week and I was pleased to be on the board with the success of Taj Badalandabad (pictured above) at Huntingdon on Friday, while our other two runners both performed creditably to fill the runner-up position. With just six weeks to go until the Cheltenham Festival I am pleased to see the horses in good order and going well on the track.

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Last week was a good one for the stable with winners at Newbury and Chepstow taking our seasonal tally to 21. Those scorers; Friday Night Light and Ramses de Teillee are promising young horses who look to have bright futures over hurdles and fences respectively and I am looking forward to many more big days with them.

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Last week was a quiet one with only three runners over the sticks and while it is a similar story to begin this week, things pick up with plenty of entries from midweek onwards.

Looking back to last week, I thought Broadway Buffalo took a step in the right direction at Taunton when a close fifth in the staying handicap chase. Following a long absence, I was a little disappointed by his reappearance effort in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock last month but this was much more like it. Racing prominently throughout, he jumped and travelled much better and stuck to his task well in the closing stages despite conceding weight to all of his rivals. Hopefully he will be able to build on this again and he still looks capable of making his mark in nice handicap chases where stamina is at a premium.

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The first day of the New Year was a busy one for the stable with five runners at Exeter, although the inclement weather, downpours and freezing temperatures have since started to play havoc with the fixtures list. We are yet to make it onto the scoresheet this calendar year, although there were a number of notable performances to mention, not least from Rathlin Rose who outran his odds in the Welsh National at Chepstow on Saturday.

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