When I finished blogging at the end of April I promised myself I would take a break until the end of September and I would start all over again.
In all truth there has been two occasions where I have sat down to pen the first blog of the season with no success, so forgive me if this is not my best work!
The writing rust has well and truly set in so in racing terms there is a fair chance I will improve a good bit for the run; more Buena Vista in October rather than Saxon Warrior in the Guineas if you catch my drift.
Throughout the week I have been mulling over the various subjects there are to discuss with you, my loyal reader, to bring you back up to speed with the weekly on-goings in Ditcheat.
I promised myself I would look forward more than cast a glance backwards in an effort not to bore you witless when I recount tales of resurfacing the gallop in baking hot conditions, which this year seemed to last for weeks.
I mean summer is fine isn’t it for a day or two, but looking like a giant tomato in shorts wears off after a short while and, although I had two fabulous weeks away, the rest of it is never as appealing as the winter months for this correspondent.
Way back at the very start of my blogging adventure the very reason for compiling these weekly updates was to inform you, my long-suffering reader, of the outstanding work our team behind the scenes achieves from day to day. This year will be no different.
We have a great mix of new and established members of staff and, in the ensuing weeks, I will once again endeavour to bring their sterling efforts to your attention.
For the last couple of months the question I have repeatedly had to answer is: “Are you looking forward to the new season getting going?”
While the answer to that question is of course yes, I would suggest excitement is not topping the list of my emotions right now, that label would be reserved for ‘focus’.
Hunger for success as intense as ever
I realise that working for a man like Paul who has enjoyed decades of success at the highest level that there is a pressure at this time of year, an expectation for more of the same, a continuation of the excellence that has preceded him and his team for many years. That is something I take very seriously indeed, we all do.
We at Ditcheat are in the most fortunate position to be working with some of the top equine athletes in the country and ensuring they realise their greatest potential in our care is at the very top of my list of ambitions as it is with all of the staff.
A slow summer in terms of a modest volume of runners has given us all a raging hunger for success and, given we are now only a handful of days from unleashing our first decent assault on this season’s jumping campaign, we are all ready for action.
Of course as always the most important thing in Ditcheat is our horses and, as a rule, I believe they have summered well and are in good condition at this stage. Their pre-season training schedule has, on the whole, been problem free (he says touching every piece of wood in Ditcheat), intense and most informative and I think Paul has the vast majority of his string just where he would like them.
Talented trio promise plenty this term
I have always kept you, my reader, up to date with who I am riding out in the mornings and this year once again will be no different with three enjoyable lots to tell you about.
There is Politologue who needs little introduction, he is an absolute joy to ride, his straight forward and honest nature providing the first smile of the day.
Second lot arrives in the shape of a French four-year-old called My Way who is a striking chestnut. There will be plenty more on him another time before last, but not least, a winning Irish point to pointer called Ask For Glory, conveniently all stabled alongside one another . . . nicely done Clifford he says tongue firmly in cheek.
If you read the blog throughout this season – and I sincerely hope I can keep your attention all year – then you will get to know those three horses and all of our other inmates in greater detail.
Hopefully though if you read the blog and join me in the journey a winter in Ditcheat provides I will be able to share all kinds of stories with you, the ups and downs, good days, bad days and every other kind of day in between.
In a world where things are often fabricated and spun to be a certain way – be it good or bad – I intend to bring my weeks to you as honestly as they happen.
There will be times when I am shattered so I will scrape together a distinctly average few paragraphs, but I also really hope there are moments that are so special I cannot stop talking about them.
Either way, I am delighted to be back writing the blog and look forward to sharing another season’s work with you from Ditcheat. Go well.