Thankfully, it was a very sunny start to the week in Ditcheat, Iʼve just got off my second lot and am now heading to the gallop with Clifford and Grandad so this is very much a blog on the fly.
A late night home from racing followed by watching Rory play the back nine in Mexico scuppered all chances of the blog being written last night. I am however delighted to say it has been another productive week for our horses with lots of winners and excellent runs.
My week was also pretty unusual where a rare trip to London included an appearance on the Luck On Sunday show, thanks to Nick himself who wanted me on there. It was a good but nervy experience and one that in the end I enjoyed after my apprehension at first.
Heading back to the beginning of the week it started off in really quite perfect style with Capitaine winning well and Taunton bringing up Paulʼs overall winners tally to 3000, a truly remarkable achievement.
That winner was always going to be a big deal for Paul, but it was made all the more special being at one of his local tracks in Taunton and having Mr Barber in attendance for the win, a man who has been Paulʼs biggest supporter throughout his career. Capitaine is not the easiest of horses to deal with at home as he has had his fair share of problems so I must say well done to Megan who rides him every day and has done a good job in keeping a lid on him.
Captain earns his stripes at Exeter
She must really love Capitaine as he even lured her to Taunton to lead him up and having Megan there for the picture after the victory made it a great day for Paul and, in all truth, winning that race was a lovely one to get to 3000. My personal highlight of the week arrived on Friday courtesy of Captain Cattistock who, after having had a slightly frustrating stop start-season up until now, showed what a promising young chaser he is winning in determined fashion at Exeter.
The thing about the Captain is he will never be all that impressive as he is slightly lazy when he gets to the front, but he has plenty of ability to go with an excellent technique and in my opinion he will quietly progress in staying novice chases.
Kate, who rides him every day, has done a brilliant job with him as he was not in a great way after his Haydock fall, but along with Paul and Clifford, she has brought him back to winning ways and was rightly very proud of him at Exeter.
We were lucky enough to have four winners over the weekend and the one that stuck out for all the right reasons was Southfield Stone who I felt was given a really excellent ride by Harry to win the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle. He may not have been on the best horse, but made a decisive race-winning move around the final bend and, with the help of a willing partner, held on late on. Harry is growing in confidence all the time and ahead of Cheltenham that is obviously very good news for us.
Bumper crop continue to excel
While the more experienced, open company horses of the yard continue to run well this year, it was once again hugely satisfying to see all three of our bumper horses run so well this weekend; two of them winning and Golden Gift finding only one too good for him at Chepstow.
Enrilo who won well at Kempton is a beautiful young horse who already jumps very well and looks a great prospect for next season. Big shout outs must go to Natalie, Jana and Lorraine who ride the three bumper horses that ran this weekend and, without patient and accomplished riders, young horses cannot flourish the way you want them to. Hopefully, all three will make up into nice novice hurdlers with a summer behind them.
After racing on Saturday I resembled some sort of lost tourist as I headed into London in the hope I would locate my appointed hotel before my Luck On Sunday debut. Well, I found the hotel without any trouble at all, that however was not the big issue as the nearest car park was more of a mystery and, after half an hour of driving round in a state of countryside confusion, I stumbled across the nearest car park.
The London adventure was not yet over however as a trip on the tube was next in order to get to my destination for dinner. I had been given extensive instructions in order to navigate my way down the central line, but I was not oozing confidence as I headed into Ealing Broadway.
Lucky to spend Sunday watching another master
Luckily I found my way there and back without any drama and was ready for Sunday morning’s fun. After the initial nerves and sweaty palms I enjoyed my time on the show and bagged a croissant afterwards. One thing which is great to witness is watching Nick Luck himself in action.
He is so normal in front of the camera and, having been out of the country for the past two weeks on other work duties, the sheer amount of coffee a man could drink during one show was also impressive.
Having Nick host the show immediately puts you at ease and lets you feel like you are just having a chat which makes things a little more comfortable. The week was then concluded by a trip to Fontwell which was drenched in sunshine and it was lovely to witness Ostuni win nicely for Barry and Anne Fulton having been a bit of a nightmare earlier in the year.
Bryony has done a brilliant job with him as he has been anything but straightforward in his first couple of races, trying to do anything but race sensibly. He is growing up now though and will hopefully start to progress into a nice horse.
Cheltenham is now not a million miles away and, with that in mind, I have my first festival preview this week; they are evenings that always amuse me so I am looking forward to that. Aside from that though I think Monday is the only day I will not be racing so it is looking like another busy one. I very much hope you all have a good week.
Go well, Harry.