Sitting in front of my computer on this Sunday morning pretty well represents the first opportunity I have had to pay some attention to my blog in the last ten days or so.
Since then a lot of water has passed under the bridge, some nice horses have won, we’ve been drenched in sun and rain in equal measure at home on the gallops and every single jockey in England I know from my brief weighing room days has told me with delight how good it was to see Amy beat me in the charity race at Wincanton.
My well-rehearsed answer now being: “Well, she’s always been the most talented Derham!”
I’ll briefly touch on our fun day at Wincanton which included an excellent win for Mr Mix under a truly fantastic Harry Cobden ride, where he waited and waited until delivering the killer blow onboard, in my opinion, a quietly improving companion. Congratulations to Lorraine then who rides him every day and the whole team who have played their part.
Amy the star turn as valuable funds raised
Last Sunday was for us a culmination of three months of trying to raise money for Key4life and in the end Amy and I were delighted to have raised £3300 for a charity that really did change my perspective on how lucky I am to lead the life I do.
Most importantly I must say well done to Amy for winning on Volpone Jelois, a horse which is now her firm favourite and will be for some time. I’m not sure I’ve ever quite experienced someone so nervous, but she did well during the race and held off the challenge from a couple of her rivals, at least I think that’s what happened, I wasn’t sure as I was so far behind!
At this stage of the season horses are making their reappearances on a regular basis and being involved with Paul we are lucky enough to have some really nice types to unleash, none more so than Modus, who made a blemish free start to his chasing career at Bangor on Tuesday, in the process setting up an exciting novice season for him. I spoke last season in the blog about our love for Modus and his abundant talent, but that has gone hand in hand this season with some excellent everyday riding from Aodhagan Conlon, who I’m pretty sure loves Modus more than most and harnesses his enthusiasm for his job with skill and touch.
Another to contribute to an excellent 10 days on the track has been Malaya, who notched up her first Listed victory on English soil (second of her career) when making all of the running at Wetherby.
Posh Trish, who battled oh so hard at Aintree, As De Mee who stayed three miles well at Kelso to win under the guidance of our resident Welsh wizard Mr Bowen and the quite wonderful Black Corton who scored at Cheltenham all contributed to a terrific spell of form for Ditcheat.
The last named is a horse that if you saddled him with the weight of the world on your shoulders he would jump off and gallop until he dropped to cheer you up such is his genuine nature.
Finally, Challico got off the mark in gritty fashion at Taunton putting in a much more polished round of jumping than his previous run.
Busy Ditcheat continues to challenge and reward
Back at base camp, things are as busy as ever with the yard now in the full swing of the winter routine and the rhythm to the yard beats steadily. Fifty winners is the current total and with the yard in good health we are optimistic a steady stream will continue to flow.
It is such a relentless game this with new focus’ and goals emerging almost on a daily basis; a new race to study, a new schooling session to co-ordinate, a young horse to look at, more entries to trawl through it is non-stop, but that surely is why we all love it.
For every horse that disappoints you there is one who steps up a level and fills you with pride. That is our game and in Ditcheat we are always keen to be positive, look forward and work hard to ensure no matter what success we might have enjoyed, there is plenty ahead of us god willing.
I hope that is true of this week with some nice entries dotted around the country, including two in the Haldon Gold Cup on Tuesday. That is a big day for the West Country and I am hopeful we will play a big part in the Exeter show piece.
I’ll leave you with something that nearly a week on still has me chuckling, a line that came from Seamus Mullins at a National Trainers Federation meeting on Monday.
I was obviously representing Paul, something I actually really enjoy doing at those meetings as it is a great opportunity to hear what is going on within the sport, changes good and bad as well as hearing the views of other trainers on the racing world.
As we came to the end of our meeting, Rupert Arnold, chair of the meeting, took the chance to welcome Jack Barber to the fray and Seamus asked him how things were going.
“All good thank you, enjoying it and I’ve had a good week” Jack replied, “Yeah you’ll have one of those every now and again,” was Seamus’ swift reply followed by knowing laughter from his fellow trainers, a sharp response that still has me chuckling now.
Until next time, good luck.