It’s a big relief to be back racing today with six runners at Kempton following a blank week during which everyone at the yard worked tirelessly to overcome the heaviest snow I’ve known during my time at Ditcheat.

At the start of the week it was just bitingly cold but by Friday the village resembled a scene from Siberia with the nearby A303 shut and huge snowdrifts everywhere. Yet, nearly all the staff managed to get in that day under their own steam and we were able to pick up others who couldn’t use their cars.
It is amazing what you can do with a mixture of goodwill, enthusiasm and hard work and I can’t praise every single member of Team Ditcheat enough for all their tremendous efforts during a seriously challenging period. What they achieved together was beyond the call of duty.

We spent all Friday morning doing vital jobs like clearing the snow and putting down salt on the roads and in the yard. Then all the horses cantered twice up the hill that afternoon and again on Saturday morning.

Now all the snow has just about gone and you wouldn’t guess how difficult the last 72 hours had been. The decision by the the BHA to stage a few cards of jumpers bumpers was timely even though we would not have been able to send our horses anywhere for three days. But it is all systems go again now with half a dozen runners heading to Kempton today at the start of a busy week.

Tommy Silver would normally have had a gallop round Wincanton last week and a run at Kempton should put him spot on for Cheltenham while I’ve deliberately kept Zubayr away from the worst of the winter ground.

On Friday More Buck’s heads to Sandown for the Grand Military Gold Cup and Malaya could run in the Imperial Cup on Saturday if the ground is not too soft.