It is scarcely believable that another week has passed and it is blogging time again.
Once again it is nine o clock and yes, you guessed it, I am sat on the sofa with racing replay on mute in the background and I again have the pleasure of being able to tell you all about another manic week in the wonderful world of team Ditcheat.
Sitting here this evening having driven back from a memorable day at Aintree, I would be lying if I said that the four-and-a-half hour journey home has not taken the edge off me, but in all truth this weekend, racing wise, could not really have been much better. Although we have just enjoyed a great weekend, the week was also good to us providing three winners in the shape of the good looking debutante Enrilo, who created an excellent impression at Worcester, the tough and exceptionally likeable Dr Sanderson who got the Million In Mind syndicate off to the best possible start this season and Amour De Nuit who finished alone at Ludlow having put in a solid round of jumping.
There are rarely huge races to be won between Monday to Friday throughout the season, but churning out winners day in and out is key for the yard to keep ticking over and ensuring that all of our young horses get their chances to run in the right races. Ludlow in particular was an enjoyable one on Wednesday as I made the journey up in the lorry with good pal Scott Marshall to represent Paul. Amour De Nuit, now a six time winner for us, is a true professional and a straight forward horse who loves good ground so Ludlow suited him perfectly.
The real satisfaction however stemmed from his owner Mr Andrew Williams who loves his horses and always makes the long journey from his home in Cornwall up to whichever venue to watch. Owners have horses for all kinds of reasons, but Andrew is a passionate racing fan who loves being involved in the sport and it is satisfying to see Amour continue to give him a huge amount of enjoyment.
It is a long way to Ludlow in the horse box, but some good chat from Scott and the obligatory chicken dinner to go with the winner made for a considerably easier journey home.
‘The King’ rules at Prestbury Park
I always think there’s a bit of excitement and nerves floating around in your stomach anytime you take the journey to Cheltenham and Saturday was of course no different. The first meeting of the season at the home of jumping racing is always greeted with everyone eager to get one on the board and I was obviously keen for Paul to do the same. Happily that winner arrived and in great style.
For those longer-term blog readers you will know that Modus has quite a strong fan club in Ditcheat, headed up by our very own Aodhagan Conlon who refers to him solely as ‘the king’ and with good reason. Modus boasts a kind nature, is an exciting ride on the gallops, has his fair hunk of ability and, more importantly than all of that for a racehorse, he does plenty of winning.
He is a popular horse in the yard who we all think a lot of and it was great to see him battle so hard up the hill to win in determined fashion. If asked at any point last week would Modus win, Aodhagan did not once hesitate and answered everyone the same “yes” – there were no ifs or buts – he thought Modus would win and win he did.
It was great to enjoy a winner at Cheltenham in their first meeting of the season and walking back into the winner’s enclosure there reminded me, be it March or October, winners there mean an awful lot.
Frodon and Bryony light up Aintree
I spent Saturday night in Cheltenham before heading up to Aintree and hopes were seriously high that the legend that is Frodon would run his usual big race in the Old Roan Chase.
Moabit made it a super start to the day winning the Countryside Alliance charity race with Paul’s friend Lucy Felton aboard giving Lucy a day she won’t forget in a hurry. Her smile on arrival back to the winner’s enclosure was nearly as big as Moabit’s winning margin, before Frodon and Bryony once again stepped up to the plate.
For all of you racing fans out there and, more specifically lovers of the horse, I just wish you got the chance to know Frodon like all of us at the yard are lucky enough to, because to put it simply he is the most hilarious horse I have come across. Of course his brilliant performances are there for all to see but his antics at home keep us all entertained. Whether he is jumping off on the gallops with his regular pilot Holley pulling like some kind of possessed animal or being lead back from the walker with his groom Michelle where he frequently drags her to one of our lawns for a five minute pick of grass leaving Michelle helpless on the other end of the lead rein, his antics are endless.
Talking of Frodon dragging people about, another one of his favourite tricks is dragging me around during the pre-race parade, picture this if you will. From the moment he leaves his racecourse stable he knows exactly where he is going and struts powerfully around the paddock, Michelle doing all she can to keep him contained. However, when the bell goes and he knows it is time and that is when Frodon comes properly alive.
Bryony then hops on and he is ready for action which leads to me doing all I can to restrain him so that we do not break the parade down the course. His enthusiasm and love for racing is really quite special and we are all so lucky to be part of this horse’s career. Bryony boasted a smile like she had won the race before the tapes had even gone up and I think that goes a long way in saying what kind of a horse he is, going into battle with a warrior like him on your side must be some feeling and she gave him the perfect ride.
I know you will read this at some stage Mr Vogt so very, very well done, we are all delighted for you.
So there we are, another week done, the clocks have gone back but we happily keep moving forward. It is brilliant that the horses are in such good form and all of us here will continue to try our best to ensure they stay at that level in the coming weeks and months. With the racing schedule now set for us to get busier and busier it once again is so important to thank all of our staff who make all these great days possible.
Everyone in the yard is working so hard to make sure the horses are ready to perform and happily it is paying off which for everyone is hugely satisfying.
I am really looking forward to a day on the yard on Monday with no racing meeting to go to. I will have the chance to catch up with all the team and enjoy riding out my lots. We do, however, have another busy week in store so fingers crossed the horses will keep up their good form.
Of course, it is remarkably early on in the season, but whatever happens for the rest of the campaign, personally this weekend will take some topping – thanks Modus, thanks Frode you’re a pair of diamonds.
Go well, Harry.