We ended the jumps season on Saturday with a healthy score of 127 winners who earned a total of £2,513,233 for their owners.
So there was plenty to celebrate despite the dreadful weather of the past few months which saw us have 97 fewer runners than in the previous campaign with so many race meetings abandoned. I am really proud of everyone involved with Team Ditcheat who have worked so hard in trying conditions with snow, constant rain and frost making life very tough for them at times.
This is the eighteenth season I’ve trained a century of winners and the sixteenth consecutive season the horses have won in excess of £2 million.
Once again our squad of chasers led the way with 77 victories with a strike rate of 26%, with only one other yard in the country reaching a half-century.
So with four Grade 1 victories from Politologue x 2, Black Corton & Diego Du Charmil and two winners at Cheltenham taking us to 43 Cheltenham Festival winners, I think it is fair to say we did the best with the ammunition at our disposal. It is now a question of building on those achievements in the new season that starts on Saturday.
Obviously I’d like to add to my ten trainers’ championships but that is not the priority. That is to keep training as many winners as possible and finding the stars of the future from this yard to give us the firepower that we have lacked over the past year or two at the highest level.
First, though, I have the target of 3,000 career winners over jumps firmly in my sights which would be a massive achievement. I need a further 99 to reach that landmark so with a bit of luck I will counting down the numbers sometime next spring.
I’ve also had a handful of winners on the flat, the latest being Moabit who relished the testing conditions at Salisbury in a £15,000 Handicap on Sunday and benefited from a good ride by my daughter Megan. She seized a useful advantage by grabbing the favoured stands rail on him and then saw off the strong challenge of Jason Watson on Cleonte in the closing stages. Moabit is one of a small team we will be running on the flat. He could be out again at Ascot next month while Act of Valour, who ran so well at Sandown on Saturday, might have a crack at the Chester Cup.
For the first time we also have five two year olds in training at Ditcheat in the care of Megan under the supervision of myself and Clifford Baker.
Whataguy is the first of the juveniles to run today in the opening race at Salisbury though we can’t be sure he will enjoy heavy ground. While I am still learning about preparing two year olds he has been shaping nicely at home and is ready for a race. It makes sense to run some of our dual purpose horses on the flat in the summer and maintains interest in the yard.
Jump racing will continue to be my priority. It is my business and my passion and that is not about to change.