OUR KEY STAFF
Team Ditcheat's engine room
Team Ditcheat does not run itself – behind the scenes with have a fantastic and loyal team that keep everything in check and running along smoothly.
Assistant Head Lad
David is Head Lad at the Highbridge yard in Ditcheat. He has always been a keen follower of racing with his interest sparked by the family point-to-pointers from a young age. David also rode in six point-to-points before gaining a degree in History at Reading University, graduating in 2007. David then decided to pursue his passion for National Hunt racing and gained valuable experience when working under Malcolm Jefferson for three seasons. He later joined Team Ditcheat as a lad at the beginning of the 2011/12 season and was appointed Assistant Head Lad in July 2013.
Travelling Head Girl
Kate started at Manor Farm Stables back in 2009 and spent a couple of seasons with us, firstly as a work rider and then as a full time member of staff. After a spell as Travelling Head Girl for Harry Fry, Kate returned to Ditcheat in December 2016. Kate rides out every day and has ridden in both point to points and Arab races, including riding 4 winners. Outside of racing Kate has successfully competed in various equestrian disciplines and has been a regular instructor at Pony Club Camp for the Blackmore Vale Pony Club.
Sarah started in 2006 after four years as secretary to flat trainer Ralph Beckett. She assists Paul with entries, declarations and other racing arrangements. Sarah rode 36 point-to-point winners and formerly rode out daily at Manor Farm Stables. Having been lucky enough to partner Master Minded, Big Buck’s and Taranis up Ditcheat Hill on occasion, these days she prefers her office chair and eventing as a hobby with her own horse!
Lina joined us in 2010 and manages the accounts at Manor Farm Stables. Lina has an equine background having worked in racing, point-to-point and eventing yards. She took time out when her children were born and used the opportunity to gain an accounts qualification. Racing is her first love and she was very happy to be able to re-join the industry in a more administrative role.
Hannah rejoined the team in August 2015 having previously spent seven years working as a stable Lass. During that time Hannah was lucky enough to look after some amazing horses, including Master Minded, Al Ferof and Celestial Halo. Hannah’s new role involves a combination of office work and riding out.
Having spent the last thirteen years working for successful west country trainer Phillip Hobbs, in several roles from second travelling head girl to running his second yard, Natalie joined us in the summer of 2018 as a pupil assistant and amateur jockey. Natalie spends her time at top yard riding some high class young horses including her favourite horse Getaway Trump. As well as being a hardworking and committed member of the team from day to day she has struck up some excellent partnerships with Virak for Rose Loxton between the flags and Southfield Vic in hunter chases last season. Natalie a qualified HGV driver occasionally takes horses racing and does a superb job representing the yard when required.
Charlie, 23, arrived in Ditcheat in July of 2019 having worked for Jonjo O’Neill and Charlie Longsdon in the past. He has ridden winners between the flags and ridden a small amount under rules but has really found his niche in what he is doing now. Charlie works mainly from Highbridge helping David in various ways from ensuring all the morning work with the horses runs smoothly to feeding on his weekends. During afternoon stables Charlie spends his time working tirelessly on both yards and on the gallops to keep everything to the standard that is expected at this yard. A lifelong racing fan Charlie has an excellent knowledge of the sport and has very quickly become a popular and important member of the team.
Kate has now completed six years for Paul on a full time basis and gained a richly deserved promotion to head girl in the summer of 2019. Having joined us in July 2013 with a rich knowledge of horse management from her previous job as a head girl at livery and riding school, she has now developed into an integral part of the team where she works closely with Clifford on a day to day basis ensuring the horses at Manor Farm stables are cared for with an immaculate attention to detail. Kate rides out her two favourite horses Secret Investor and Captain Cattistock before spending the rest of her time running the yard. A passionate and knowledgeable horse woman Kate compliments Clifford perfectly at Manor Farm Stables enabling him to over see the whole operation.
Pre-training and breaking
A proud Cornish man Will is now the winning most British point to point rider of all time and having set up his business in the autumn of 2016 has very quickly become a vital part of the operation with the Paul Nicholls team. A Cheltenham festival winning rider in his professional days in the saddle Will has a remarkable talent with young horses that gives all our unbroken or troublesome youngsters the best possible start to their lives in our care. Will is based in the village of Alhampton a mile south of Ditcheat, so is able to use all our facilities on a daily basis. Will has a wonderful nature with horses and teaches them all the skills they need to have before joining us and embarking on their racing career, he is a special horseman and bumper winners like Enrilo, Eason and Grade two Aintree festival winner Mcfabulous prove that.