I am just walking home from a rather soggy morning stables, but in good spirits as the morning has gone well and, one by one, the days tick by on the countdown to Cheltenham.
The last week has been another good one with the horses continuing to hold their form and run very well. From San Benedeto to Christopher Wood, Macfabulous and Rhythm Is A Dancer there have been plenty of excellent winners.
Without any doubt though, my highlight was Tommy Silver who suffered desperate luck on his previous start when looking like the winner only to be carried out late on. However, this time though in his first attempt at three miles, Tommy and Harry were quite brilliant. I have honestly never seen him jump in such a brilliant rhythm and there was never a moment’s doubt.
This win was great not just because it saw a slightly frustrating horse finally put in the sort of performance we hoped he was capable of, but it was also Paul’s 100th success of the season, another milestone that further confirms the consistency of the man at the helm.
The victory at Ludlow presented the perfect scenario as Tommy is owned by yard sponsor Ged Mason, ridden by stable jockey Harry and showcased a horse putting in a career best so the culmination of all three factors made my Ludlow Wednesday the real high point of the week.
Young guns promise plenty for the future
There are two more performances I would like to touch on briefly as regular readers of the blog will know how much I enjoy seeing nice young horses run from the yard. The horses that really caught the eye this week were the juvenile Christopher Wood – now unbeaten in two starts – who created an excellent impression at Newbury, hurdling slickly before powering away late on to book his place to Aintree in April.
The second classy performance of the week from the young guns came courtesy of Mcfabulous, who is a really exceptional athlete and advertised that opinion by making all to win the closing bumper on Saturday. Paul has always held this lad in really high regard and we cannot wait to see him hurdling next year. He may run again this season but Paul will make that decision in the next few weeks when he knows how he came out of that effort.
Back at the yard, a lot of eyes are starting to look quite firmly towards Cheltenham and, in terms of the horse’s preparations, this week ahead of us is as crucial as any. Their final half-speed and piece of work will take place over the next six days as will their final schooling sessions so, while the excitement mounts, it is so important everyone remains extremely focused on the job in hand.
With the big four days almost in touching distance, it is important to remember there is a huge amount of work to be done between now and then, while there is also some big races beforehand with Malaya poised to head up the charge in the Imperial Cup this weekend.
My week, although not nearly as busy as next, has plenty going on with my final Cheltenham preview to go to, while Exeter, Wincanton and Sandown play host to our runners this week.
Cheltenham quiz provides more questions than answers
Of course the biggest task that lay before me ahead of Cheltenham is our annual pre-Cheltenham quiz that takes place in the Manor on the eve of Cheltenham, a night always enjoyed by many and much to my frustration normally won by Paul’s team – not that he’s remotely competitive.
I always enjoyed the quiz when I competed in it and continue to enjoy it now playing the part of the quiz master. I must briefly say a massive thank you to a good mate of mine Rhys Williams who I would not be able to do it without. He writes all the questions, comes up with ideas for the rounds so I just have to read it all out. Rhys is more reliable than Google when it comes to racing knowledge and it is a huge help to me trying to do the quiz.
With that in mind and about 100 other things to do over the next two weeks, my next blog will be posted the Monday after Cheltenham.
I am hoping that I will still have a hangover and we have enjoyed some memorable moments at a week that means so much to all of us. Until we do speak next however I hope that you all enjoy Cheltenham whether you are going or just watching it on television. It is a fabulous week that I feel so, so lucky to play a tiny part in and I try my best every day I am there to appreciate how lucky I am. Oh and before I go, don’t miss a double figure price about Posh Trish.
Go well, Harry