Early October has always been my favourite time of the year, the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures and, most importantly in my world, a winter of racing ahead of me.
It’s been a while since I last blogged but I am happy to report I return to the fold in great form with things never better. A holiday and new house with Kate made for an unforgettable summer and looking back it was not only enjoyable but productive.
A number of new horses have joined the team, so getting to know them has made for an intriguing couple of months. Obviously, like any new season there are not only new horses to get to know but new people, something I particularly enjoy.
With a successful summer under our belts we currently sit on 27 winners and are well placed to attack the winter with the usual relish Team Ditcheat does. On the racecourse the highlight from the summer has been without doubt the flying grey Alcala, who has completed his five-timer in good style, winning the Summer Plate at Market Rasen under a brilliant Sam Twiston-Davies ride.
Frost ready for a big winter
Emergence of young talent is something we are all well accustomed to in Ditcheat so, although it is nothing new, it is always very satisfying when someone starts making a splash and that has been the case this summer with Bryony Frost, who has joined the conditional ranks and made a flying start. She is a very capable rider who is only getting better and will get plenty of support from us in Ditcheat this season.
So what I can tell you about the forthcoming season?
I think Paul summed it up well in a recent Racing Post article when acknowledging it is a big winter for us – but then with his determination and that of his team every winter is a big one.
The ambition from the top burns just as bright and, with Paul now riding out every day, there is a sense of renewed relish and love for a job he is now 26 years into.
The workings of a yard this size take plenty of monitoring and through the summer months Hannah, Paul’s PA, and I had a think about how we could reward our staff more for all their sterling work in and around the yard.
Following some thought and one or two phone calls, the employee of the month was born, kindly supported and sponsored by Dodson and Horrell. It goes without saying we are chuffed to bits to be able to formally and properly thank our team’s dedication and work.
From my perspective I have been slightly dreading my first blog as once you are into it every week it’s pretty easy and enjoyable to update folk on the workings of my life, but how on earth can I update everyone on five month’s worth?
Well the simple answer is I can’t really. As I said there is the new house with Kate and the aforementioned holiday but there has been plenty else. The discovery of Periscope has been a hoot with some great feedback from the Twitter faithful enabling us to open up the yard doors and show to the public how we train our horses. I have loved doing that and I will continue to post using that medium over the course of the season.
Benny king of my affections
With Dodge now well into the groove of retirement, and thoroughly enjoying his various National Trust visits, bingo nights and trips to the garden centre I had to go about finding a new regular ride for this season and that has come in the shape of the wonderful little character that is San Benedeto. What a character he is.
He reminds me of that boy in school P.E. that was pretty much good at all his lessons without really trying, concentrating is never at the top of his agenda but goodness is he good fun to ride. Bucking is his favourite past time and I am not embarrassed to admit that early summer he managed to decant me from the saddle. David and Harry who were with me at the time enjoyed a serious laugh and happily no harm was done. He’s a gem to ride though and I enjoy him no end.
Away from Periscope and San Benedeto not much has changed I don’t think; work is fantastic, busy as ever and the team is in high spirits as we enter the season proper.
I have every intention of blogging every week now throughout the season but the day it is posted might not be the same every week so bear with me and hopefully I can share another great season with you.