It was late April when I received a call from Harriet Tucker. She was in floods of tears telling me that her shoulder was a good deal worse than she had imagined and things did not look good.
If you are not aware of Harriet’s story you will soon discover that the last 12 months of her life have been quite a tale. In the past year she has ridden her first winners in the pointing field, bagged the ride on Pacha Du Polder, won the Cheltenham Foxhunters’ Chase – in the process dislocating her shoulder before popping it back in to continue riding.
She then carried on riding until a fall a few weeks later left her in all kinds of trouble. The shoulder problem was not getting better and, courtesy of Paul and Pacha’s owner Mr Andy Stewart, Harriet was put in touch with the right doctors in an effort to get things sorted. Unfortunately, after our conversation on the phone, it soon became apparent that this issue was sadly not going to be solved overnight, quite the opposite in fact.
The reality of the situation revealed that if the proposed operation did not work then Harriet would not only have to face never being able to ride again, but her arm would be pretty well useless in years to come. As you can imagine Harriet was in pieces at this horrific news and upset at the prospect of not being able to ride again.
The Latarjet procedure (whatever that is) took place in mid June and what followed for H was an agonising six-month wait until she could get back in the saddle. There were times in those long six months when Harriet was driven mad by not being able to do what she loves more than anything but, with the help of the quite amazing Oaksey House, she has thankfully managed to make a full recovery.
Gibraltar proves to be Harriet’s rock
Sunday was the day Harriet had been waiting months for. It was the day she was able to get back and ride competitively once again and what a return it was. To ride a winner on Monsieur Gibraltar for the wonderful Rose Loxton in her first race since April was no mean feat and everyone in the whole team was so made up for her. Harriet rode brilliantly on her comeback and her smile on the way back in demonstrated that all her hard work was more than worth it.
I rarely go point to pointing, but Sunday was the absolute highlight of my week to see H back racing again.
Paul homing in on another historic milestone
Elsewhere, it has been an historic week for Paul who on Tuesday became the tenth most successful winning trainer in the UK of all time when Greaneteen marked his 2951st winner of his career.
For Paul’s name to be on a roll-call with some of the greats of the game made him extremely proud and rightly so. It is amazing to be under 50 winners away from Paul training his 3000th winner – an achievement that when it does arrive will be very special.
A lot of people can be successful for a short period of time, but what Paul is building is a remarkable record and it’s so cool to be part of him hitting those amazing milestones.
For big fans of the yard you will be aware that January is always our quietest month of the winter with all of our horses having their flu jabs and letting them have a quiet couple of weeks, before preparing them for what will hopefully be a big spring. It does mean that January is always a little dull for us, but it’s very important the horses have a slightly quieter time so they can get through the season at their best.
For now though that is just about it for this week, I’m going to watch Rory play his last round in Hawaii and then get some sleep.
Go well, Harry