Lady Balko followed up her win at Hereford with another success at Taunton last week carrying a seven pound penalty.  This win was over two miles seven furlongs and she was a little keen in the early stages but she shows a great attitude and it was a comfortable enough success at the line, writes DAVID PIPE

It was also lovely to start the new week with a winner at Plumpton on Monday.  Activist won for the first time over hurdles under Jack Tudor in the colours of owner Lynne Maclennan.  A winner in France on the flat he has taken a little while to acclimatize to life in Britain but he made a nice comeback run at Lingfield a couple of weeks ago to be second and that seems to have brought him on nicely.  My wife Leanne rides him every day and she said he had come on a lot for that run and was is in good form at home and she was right!

We didn’t have many other runners last week but Heure De Gloire bounced back from a disappointing effort at Fontwell to run well again and be third at Exeter. Sidi Ismael unfortunately got no further than the second fence where he fell in the Devon National.  He continued to run the whole race loose jumping most fences and crossing the line alongside the race winner.  When a horse gets rid of their jockey early in any race you always hope they don’t go too far. He returned home with a little injury sadly and is likely to need a period of rest.  Thanksforthehelp got tired in his comeback race at Chepstow on Saturday.  He has had a few niggles behind the scenes this year and on that ground he could not quite sustain his effort at the end.

This week on Friday we have entries at Newbury and Ffos Las.  We don’t have lots of entries over the weekend but keeping checking the Daily News for the latest information on the stable runners. 

I actually had my first point to point runner since taking out my professional training licence on Sunday at Larkhill.  We have a couple of young lads in the yard keen to have rides and it is not easy for anyone starting out if they don’t have the family support.  Back in the autumn I offered the lads the chance to have two horses for point to pointing if they were prepared to put in the effort.  

Lukke Morris rode Castle Daragh in the restricted race at Larkhill on Sunday which was just his second ever ride, having had one ride for Polly Gundry last season.  He was pretty nervous and while I wasn’t present myself I’m told he did well!  They pulled up just before the last fence and would have finished fourth if they had jumped it but he was under instruction to look after himself and the horse.  

Conal Kavanagh is the other young lad who will be riding.  Aged 16, he is the son of Noel Kavanagh who used to be at Pond House as a conditional jockey a few years ago.  He is very much looking forward to having his first ride in the next few weeks.

Approaching the last few days of February and the weather continues in the same vein has it has done for much on the month…wet! According to our records we have had just short of 200mm to date making it the wettest February we have recorded at Pond House.  There is more rain forecast in the coming days and we look highly likely to make it the wettest month we have ever had.