I think it would be fair to say that for even the most die-hard of job lovers Monday morning wouldn’t be their most loved time of the week.
Of course it’s like every other day, but something in the brain of ours tells us Mondays will be more gruelling than the rest of the week. However, I genuinely believe I have struck gold with my new slot of writing my blog first thing on a Monday. Instead of waking up a little tired or in danger of grumbling at the 5:15am alarm call, I wake up looking forward to reporting on the week just past and it’s been a busy one to say the least so without any delay I’ll get straight to it.
It is exactly a week ago now that we headed to Kempton optimistic of a good day with some nice youngsters ready to run, and happily that is how it played out. Brio Conti ensured the day started in the right manner winning his chase debut at Carlisle under a cool Sean Bowen ride, putting in a polished round of jumping and he will without doubt head onto better things.
Sean’s other or better half, depending on which way you look at it, deserves a mention here, Harriet, who in this world only loves one thing more than talking and Sean, and that is Brio Conti. She regularly reminds me what a machine he is and does a great job looking after him every day as he’s not the most robust of animals. In saying that though neither is Brio.
Sir Alex team-talk a time to treasure
With one novice chaser already winning on the day it was the turn of Give Me A Copper at Kempton who, after his slight mishap at Kelso, had a little bit of making up to do. To be fair to him though he didn’t miss a beat last Monday and jumped his sole rival silly winning not remotely extended. At the races on a normal day the equine stars provide the most entertainment and if you listen to them and watch they often provide you with something to learn from however last Monday they had to play second fiddle to a conversation I had with one of Give Me A Copper’s co-owners Sir Alex Ferguson.
After the last race we all headed to where the owners had been lunching for the day and, luckily for me, the only space around the table was next to the great man. What followed was what I can only describe as a twenty minute master-class in all things sporting, where subjects covered ranged from his management style to how to get the best out of a young player, something I questioned him about in great depth hoping that knowledge would enhance the Ditcheat Jockeys Academy. It was only twenty minutes, but it meant the world to me and I will not forget his wise words for an awfully long time.
Remember the ‘name’
Tuesday arrived and happily it was the day that Cyrname finally arrived at the party after being nothing short of disappointing since he made the voyage across the English Channel. Sean has always had a huge amount of belief in this horse though and was adamant that making the running would indeed be the making of him, and how right he was. For all that in every success many people contribute to one horse winning, there are always some that need more help than others and Cyrname is unquestionably one who needs plenty of attention and that attention is provided by Scott Marshall who not only looks after him every day but has the tricky job of riding him.
Scott isn’t one for fanfare or attention, but I really couldn’t reiterate enough just how good a job he has done with this horse. Cyrname is not for the faint hearted at home and riding him does not only require almighty strength, it requires skill, touch, and a bucket load of patience. He jumped superbly at Huntingdon and I was made up for Mr and Mrs de la Hey who have been so patient with him. Cyrname looked a smart horse on Tuesday and everyone in team Ditcheat is incredibly grateful for Scott’s brilliant work with a difficult horse.
In another busy week there have been more excellent performances on the track with our runners continuing their good run of form.
From Ridgeway Flyer making it two out of two over fences at Taunton to Some Man, Secret Investor and Clan Des Obeaux all making excellent seasonal debuts, the latter running a mighty race in defeat to a high class Whisper.
Throw in a brilliant run from Vicente, Movewiththetimes, Le Prezien and Old Guard at Cheltenham over the weekend at Cheltenham and you can see that the yard is in great order, and most satisfying of all thanks to the hard-working team in the yard every day the horses look fantastic when they go racing something I know Paul is incredibly proud of.
Ditcheat double-act dazzle at Cheltenham
In the car on the way racing on Saturday it would be fair to say my mood darkened in symphony with the gathering clouds as we moved closer to Cheltenham. I simply felt that the more rain we had the less chance Ditcheat had of success and I wasn’t overly pleased by that prospect. However, the great thing about this racing game is that every time you think you have got to know a horse they surprise you by doing something you never imagined they could.
In seven blogs this season I have written glowing about Black Corton and remarkably he stepped up again posting without doubt his finest round of jumping to date, while battling through the mud to see off two high class rivals. He barely stands at 16 hands but is all heart and quite simply runs until he has nothing left to give, making him the most wonderful little horse. Bryony and Blackie are now five from five together make a splendid team.
I didn’t expect that victory I must admit, however what I did expect was Posh Trish to put in the performance she did in the last under an intelligent Cobden ride. Rarely have I seen a mare possess the power Trishy does, she is a awesome to watch gallop and the way she rumbled up the hill at Cheltenham in the mud has us all very excited about what the future holds for her. Whatever the future does hold for her we will be sure to look after as she continues to progress.
Loss of Sam tough to take
As you can see then this week has been great, and would have been one of the best if it wasn’t for the news that came out on Monday about our number one rider Sam. I have been lucky enough to become really good friends with Sam over the past few years and a kinder, more generous person you could not meet. He is a really fantastic jockey and I was gutted for him to have to sit out some of the most important part of the season, knowing him like I do however, I am certain whatever he has to do to get back to full fitness he will do, he is a hard worker the like of which is not often matched and I know I speak for everyone in team Ditcheat in wishing him a speedy recovery, and offering him all our full support.
Get well soon my friend.