NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Mon Jan 21
Lingfield, Newcastle
Mon Jan 21
Sedgefield, Warwick
Tue Jan 22
Lingfield, Newcastle

Cheltenham Festival 2019

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Entries & Recent Form

It’s great to get off to a good start for the new season and already we have enjoyed five winners (as well as our Punchestown success). Indeed, three of those victories came on the same day last Wednesday as we completed an across the card treble at Wincanton and Fontwell.

Businessmoney Judi got the ball rolling under a canny ride from Conor O’Farrell in a race that developed into a sprint. Conor never panicked when the favourite came past her at the second last and he had enough up his sleeve to get back up by ¾ length. She has now won both starts since joining us at Pond House and is an improving mare. It was a special day for owner Bob Le Froy who was completing a notable treble – winning owner, his birthday and wedding anniversary!...I am sure days don’t get much better than that!

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I was pleased to arrive back from my trip to Punchestown in one piece and very happy to have saddled my first winner in Ireland. I thought that Street Entertainer put up an excellent performance in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle on Wednesday under A P McCoy. He has now won two of his four starts over hurdles since we bought him cheaply from the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sales in October. Indeed, he has already more than covered his purchase price so is proving a bargain. He was also providing AP with a nice 37th birthday present – it is amazing to think that he has already managed to accumulate sixteen jockey's titles, and there is no sign of him letting up just yet.

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What an amazing weekend of action on the flat! I couldn’t help but be awestruck by the performance of Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. The way in which he dismantled a field of Group One calibre horses was something that I hadn’t seen in a Classic since Slip Anchor won the Derby in 1985 – and this was only over a mile! I was thrilled (as I think everyone in racing is) for Henry Cecil…this horse looks like a monster and I will be fascinated to see how he is campaigned. It would be some spectacle to see him take on the best of the older generations over a mile against the likes of Canford Cliffs and Goldikova – I certainly wouldn’t want to be opposing him after the way he won on Saturday, especially with the promise of further improvement to come!

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Saturday marked the end of the 2010/11 National Hunt season and as is traditional, the Bet365 Gold Cup (formerly the Whitbread) at Sandown saw us out in fine style. We had a brace of runners in the season finale and Faasel came very close to landing the big prize that his talent so richly deserves. Young Conor O’Farrell was aboard, and he looked as though he was going to continue his excellent run of form, until collared within the last half furlong. We were of course thrilled for David Johnson, who owned the winner Poker de Sivola – he came from the clouds to beat us under a finely judged ride from Timmy Murphy.

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It’s back to the grindstone for the final week of the 2010/11 National Hunt season following a very enjoyable three days racing spent with Leanne and Jack up at Ayr where we were looked after in fine style by Sean and Josie Tracey. I would like to congratulate Ayr racecourse on the fantastic job they did to make the meeting such a success. Clerk of the course Emma Marley and her team should be applauded for providing beautiful, safe jumping ground, while their hospitality team provided a first class service for owners and trainers. I was extremely impressed by the entire operation and Ayr should be very proud of themselves – a number of other racecourses could certainly learn a thing or two from them.

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What an extraordinary week, culminating in the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday and a fantastic victory for the Donald McCain trained Ballabriggs, ridden by Jason Maguire. It is great for them both, as well as owner Trevor Hemmings, although I am especially pleased for Donald – I know what a relief it is to be able to say that he has won a Grand National like his father! I am pleased to say that despite a horrible looking fall for Or Noir de Somoza at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit, all three of our Grand National runners have come back safe and sound.

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The colours Or Noir de Somoza will carry in the 2011 Grand National

It was another good end to the week with an across the card double at Uttoxeter and Chepstow on Saturday with Dan Breen and E Street Boy scoring in good style. With the blinkers that were applied for the first time at the Cheltenham Festival left off, Dan Breen was able to get back on the winning track in the novices’ chase. He jumped better the further they went and won well in the hands of Tom Scudamore to record his second success of the campaign.

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Following the frantic goings-on of the Cheltenham Festival, last week was just the opposite with only three runners. It was still very productive nonetheless with two of them winning (both in the hands of man of the moment Conor O’Farrell).

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Connections with Minella Four Star and the
rather sizeable Midlands National Trophy
 Following all of the preparation and efforts of everyone at the yard it is difficult to believe that the Cheltenham Festival is over for another year. Once again we had a wonderful time of things with two winners as well as numerous placed horses over the course of the four days, and just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, we won the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter on Saturday with 25/1 chance Minella Four Star.

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I hope you will excuse me if this weeks’ blog is slightly shorter than usual, as I am sure you can understand with the Festival now only 24 hours away I have many things to oversee and arrangements to make.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the best four days of jump racing in the world and we will be represented by three runners.   Great Endeavour goes in the Stewart Family Handicap Chase, Dan Breen in the Arkle and Swing Bill in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase. Timmy Murphy will partner the David Johnson owned pair, while Tom Scu gets the leg-up in the Arkle.

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