Monday morning in Ditcheat today is glorious. The sun is out, it is warm, the horses are looking well and we managed to saddle a couple of winners over the weekend.
It is hard to believe we are now not far off the end of the season and, with a dry week forecast, it kind of feels like spring is in the air.
In terms of reflecting on last week there was not a huge amount going on in terms of runners, but of the runners we did have it was nice to have a couple of good results. Birds Of Prey won in cosy fashion at Taunton last Monday in a slowly-run race which would not have suit him at all.
He will now go to Sandown on the last day of the season for a 100k novice handicap hurdle which is a race I believe will suit him well as I can’t help but feel a strongly-run race will much more suitable.
Throughout this week we have obviously been bringing the Cheltenham horses back into work and happily all seems good with them. Unsurprisingly, they have not been undertaking masses of work, but are all back cantering and, with some of them now turning their attention to Aintree, it is important the next couple of weeks go without problems.
The most interesting point of my week came on Thursday when I represented Paul at an event in Manchester for his chief sponsor Morson. I was on a panel with Brian Robson, Ricky Hatton and Mark Cueto which made for a really interesting discussion about their careers in sport and what they have done since.
Each of them have been hugely successful in their disciplines and it was fascinating to compare sports and the challenges that each of them have faced during their lives. I loved the day and was really grateful to Ged Mason whose company is Morson for letting me be part of such a cool event.
The weekend that followed went well with the trip to Kelso made worthwhile courtesy of Kuputana jumping and winning well under an excellent ride from Sean who was so calm on a tricky mare.
David Rochester must also take huge credit for her victory too as he has ridden her since she has been with us and done a great job with her. Kuputana is a talented mare who has not quite put things together up until now, but I have no doubt she has a great engine and if she can continue to put in clear rounds I’m convinced she will win plenty more races.
Harry’s century the week’s highlight
A career best from Saintemilion at Exeter on Sunday made it a really excellent conclusion to the week. He jumped quite brilliantly on his way round for a horse having his second run over fences and stayed on well to win.
The most important part of that win though by some margin was that the victory marked Harry’s 100th winner of the season; a brilliant milestone considering he sat out the vast majority of the summer with a neck injury. Harry has done a great job in his first season as stable jockey and I thought it was fitting he rode his 100th winner on one of Paul’s horses.
Harry partnering his 100th winner and Saintemilion obliging was without doubt the highlight of my week and pretty much made my entire weekend. Once again we have a fairly quiet week ahead with some nice entries to look forward to on Sunday perhaps the pick of which is Scaramanga who steps into his first handicap.
Aintree preparations continue to progress and all being well we will head up to Liverpool next week with some live chances.