From the all consuming owners’ day to the string doing their first pieces of work, I feel like there is plenty to report on from team Ditcheat, hence I thought I’d provide an update for those jump fans missing the sport.

Owner’s day success

There has been a great vibe around the yard this week just gone, with the whole team thrilled at how our annual owner’s day ended up. By a sheer stroke of luck we had a break in the rainy weekend and for the hours we hosted the 300 odd people that came along the weather gods smiled on us.
We paraded the 82 horses stabled in top yard all of which looked absolutely fantastic. Paul did plenty of work with all of them on Saturday, the idea being come parade time they would hopefully be calm and sensible.
Well, although it was great to see that Saturdays work hadn’t affected most of them it did give the team of staff leading them up some white knuckle moments!
We could not have been happier with how they all looked as a group, with their coats shining in the odd bit of sunshine that crept through the cloud.
Owner’s day as I described last year is a day I have always loved, I endeavour to be as busy as I can trying to talk to all of our owners in attendance, thank them for their continued support and give them an update on their respective charges.
Those updates I think are always easy at this time of year, because well in September none of the horses have been disappointing and we can dream that they are all superstars!

The work is stepping up

The daily routine for the horses is now stepping up all the time, with a lot of the yard doing their first pieces of work either Friday or Saturday. Obviously like any year there are more forward horses that are doing a great deal more, but as a rule the vast majority have just started to gallop at speed once or twice a week with aims of their first races in the middle to later part of October.
At this stage I could name paragraphs of horses that are taking my eye but I’ll give you three horses maybe a little of the beaten track who are catching my eye.
A juvenile hurdler called Dolos continues to impress with his maturity at this stage of the season. He a strong, seriously well built son of Kapgarde, a sire we have done well with, who could be ready to go to Chepstow in early October.
Another hurdler who the team is really pleased with is a four year old called Garo De Juilley, Jordan Williams one of our conditionals here is doing a brilliant job with him every day and is very pleased with how he is progressing.  A four time winner on the flat in France I believe that Garo has a touch of class and I can’t wait to see him over timber this autumn, possibly at the Cheltenham showcase meeting in October.
Alcala is a horse who has now been with us for three seasons and I still don’t think we have seen the best of him. He is rated 129, had some good form last year and I think over fences this term he will start to realise his potential. A great jumper who will possibly have a run over hurdles to start the year, he could be a nice horse to watch as the season develops.

A senior star bulletin

Another cause for great optimism at this time of the year is how our older stars are coping with their pre season. Silviniaco Conti Dodging Bullets, Zarkandar and Ptit Zig are all training really with plenty of zest and vigour. Conti in particular is going along very nicely, and as Paul said last week we are planning to go to Down Royal for the Grade One JN wine chase at the end of October.

A personal note

Now five months into my role as assistant trainer I think I am starting to find my feet a little more. Apart from riding out, there is no set routine to my days with Paul encouraging me to make the job my own and develop so that I will hopefully be as useful as I can. As with anything it takes time to learn about new jobs but I’m trying my best and being a bigger part of this amazing team is something I am really enjoying.

A big well done

Most of all though at this stage of the year I think our fantastic team of staff deserve lots of credit, we are working the horses very hard at the moment but the guys and girls are putting just as much in and it’s great to see so many partnerships being struck up.
From Scott on Cyrname, Harriet on Pilansberg, Lorcan on Southfield Theatre, Andrew on Crin Au Vent or Matt on Clic Work everyone is working extremely hard to make sure the horses are having the perfect preparations for their seasons. A season, which if you’re Harry Derham literally cannot come soon enough.