“We’d expect to be banging winners in,” Honeyball says as the 38-day drought is over.

 

“We’d expect to be banging winners in,” Honeyball says as the 38-day drought is over.

Blackjack Magic gave the yard a possible turning point for the remainder of the season with his 40th run, which brought Anthony Honeyball out of a slump.

The Dorset trainer typically thrives in the winter, but he had been struggling since December 3, and a bug is one of the possible causes of the drought.

The trainer also used a quiet spell to give vaccination shots, and he thinks it’s just been “misfiring” since.

Smart Casual, Honeyball’s last horse before Tuesday, ran well for a long distance at Ffos Las, giving the trainer confidence in the health of his group.

Blackjack Magic’s straightforward victory in the 3m novice handicap chase under Aidan Coleman added to that.

“It’s good to get the monkey off our back,” he said. “We’ve been a bit quiet, it’s been a combination of loads of factors which had been stopping them. Their blood tests have been saying don’t panic and they seem to be well. Then it’s just been a case of misfiring.

“Winning like that on this ground showed how healthy he, at least, is. It’s good to get that first win in the bank.”

The trainer acknowledges that the timing of his decline in form during crucial jumps season months is not ideal.

He continued, “If this happened through the summer then it’d be normal but it’s come at this time of year where we’ve put all our eggs in one basket to be ready to be firing.”

“We got to do our vaccinations early because they were running crap so at least we’ve got them out the way. We’d expect to be banging out a decent couple of winners but it’s just been a case of pressing pause. Now it’s the time to make hay.”

Nearly a year and a half after getting married, David Pipe and his wife Leanne are on their honeymoon. This meant that the trainer’s legendary father, Martin, was on the Pond House team.

The 15-time champion trainer was in attendance when Barrier Peaks won the handicap hurdle over 2m512 feet while he was in the Maldives.

It was a Scudamore in the saddle, a further nod to the past. Tom, the son of Pipe’s former stable jockey Peter, was aboard.

“David has gone on holiday to the Maldives so I’m here,” said Pipe. “He got married a while ago but there was Covid on so they’ve had to wait a bit!”

As part of the Racing to School program, Pipe was also on duty to teach Christow Primary School students his expertise.

He added: “I met the schoolkids and had my picture taken with them. They asked me if I thought we’d win a race, I said yes but told them the wrong one.

“I said the second race [with Anglers Crag] and we won the third. It’s great to see the youngsters here and enjoying themselves.”

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