I ended last week’s blog with a big mention for one of our young jockeys so this week I am going to start the blog with a mention for a couple more of our team.
We have been lucky enough to enjoy another successful week with eight winners including two trebles at Fontwell and Wincanton, four of those winners being ridden by Lorcan Williams who had the biggest day of his career on Friday when riding his first treble winning on Captain Cattistock, Danse Idol and Romain De Senam.
The thing I enjoyed most about Lorcan’s treble was at that very meeting two years ago he rode his first winner for us aboard Southfield Vic in the novice chase he won on Captain.
Two years have gone by and in that time Lorcan’s riding has improved leaps and bounds. His confidence is currently sky high as he is riding some nice horses capable of winning and so long as he keeps his focus then he will continue to succeed.
Lorcan is a good friend of mine and it has been very satisfying to see him enjoying some luck.
The other jockey I am going to reference is Natalie Parker who rode Southfield Vic to success on Sunday at Wincanton and, although he was a short priced favourite, he did not win in that manner and Natalie had to work hard for the win.
Nat is one of two pupil assistants in Ditcheat and has done a great job since joining us last summer. She is an extremely capable horsewoman and would be the first to admit her track riding is getting better all the time.
I think what is great is that our stable jockey Harry, who has done quite brilliantly for us this season, is in regularly and if you are a young rider in an environment where Harry is riding out and Sam is coming in then you will only improve.
Both Natalie and Lorcan have done really well this year and I have thoroughly enjoyed their success.
Schooling sessions promise plenty
Without much racing until Friday, it gave us a chance to do plenty of schooling through the week with one morning in particular proving very interesting.
We are always bringing through the next batch of young horses and three we have recently purchased joined that list, they go by the name of Young Buck, Jeremy Pass and Bravemansgame, all bought at the Cheltenham festival sale.
I quite like this time of year as we are receiving new horses all the time and I know Paul has always thought this is a great time to get them and the reason is this. Buying a horse at this stage in the season gives you some time to really get to know the horse and let them get to know your routine before their summer holidays. It serves as a taster month or six weeks in our yard. The new recruits get used to the bigger strings, work out the new gallops, become accustomed to a new diet all without the pressure of a looming race.
The three horses that I mentioned have done just that, they joined our second yard, Highbridge, settled in perfectly and will do a few more weeks of training before we begin roughing them off. Paul always thinks that it gives them a great advantage for next season as they know all about our systems, gallops and way of life in Ditcheat.
The three of them took to our outdoor arena really nicely and look like being nice horses next year. They will all have a nice summers grass now and I’d imagine will all start in bumpers in the autumn.
Trump popular in Ayr for a change
While I spent the day at my favourite track Fontwell on Friday our annual trip up to Ayr was in full swing and made very much worthwhile with two winners in the shape of Getaway Trump and Secret Investor.
I’ll deal with Trump first as I think this could be a horse next year who is going to be quite something; he a is big strong powerful gelding who I simply cannot wait to watch tackle fences.
With some big races up at Ayr every year we always take the trip to the Scottish National meeting and, for us from down here, it is a very very long way indeed, so spare a thought for the team of guys that spend all the time in the lorry getting our horses up there.
I have said it before in my blog, but travelling with the horses is no holiday. With no walkers at the races, if you are not caring for the horses you are probably leading them out for their leg stretch or riding them out. Work away from home with the horses is not easy and, any time we go away, the people that travel with our runners are very much the stars of these trips.
From Kevin Parker, who drove the big lorry, to Michelle, Natalie and Frankie who went up to care for the horses and Kate Nutt our travelling head girl who, after a late night Saturday night, was up and on parade on Sunday morning for Wincanton.
Paul is always saying how important his team is and there is never a truer word said, you cannot teach or pay someone enough to have high levels of dedication they either have it or they do not and we are lucky enough at Ditcheat to have many members of staff who regularly go beyond any call of duty.
That to me is what makes a huge difference to Paul’s yard, good people who are very passionate about their work.
While on the subject of Ayr, the Scottish track played host to my undoubted highlight of the week and that was of course Secret Investor who put in a brave front-running display to win the Grade Two future stars novices chase under an inspired Harry Cobden.
Harry has really made a man of Seeky during his last two races and riding him positively from the front has seemed to bring about more improvement from him. It is yet another feather in Harry’s cap for getting these kinds of performances from him. I know I have professed my love for this horse before so I was very proud of him winning his second Grade Two of the season and he will now head for his holidays.
Before I go I just want to thank one more person in this week’s blog and that is my old man, aka big Geoff, and I’ll tell you the reason behind that. At many charity auctions and plenty of other events, Paul often donates a morning on the gallops and stable tour of our yard, so throughout the season from very early autumn right up until now it is Dad who shows all of these people around. Every Thursday morning he is in the yard bright and early awaiting his guests for the day and generally the general feedback is that he does not do too bad a job!
He would be the first to admit he would know more about Jurgen Klopp’s team than Paul’s squad and, having worked in insurance for the last couple of decades, he would never say he is an expert at the racing game, but he is a brilliant tour guide for the guests we have and I know Paul is grateful to him for doing it.
Owners’ day a success as I double my friends’ tally
I am aware this blog is a little like a bad song that just won’t end at this stage, but there is just one more thing before I promise I am done. Yesterday (Sunday) we welcomed 400 Owners’ Group visitors to our yard in a successful visit with a parade and burger van!
I know, what an idea by Ryan Bliss, but the point I wanted to make was, and you will all be shocked to hear, I found a genuine fan of my blog. I regret to inform you I cannot tell you my new friend’s name, I think in the shock of meeting my new pal I forgot to ask, anyway the point of this story is this.
At the end of every blog I say go well, a little saying used on a podcast I am a huge fan on, a saying that is always responded too by saying cheers. My new friend yesterday ended our conversation by saying ‘go well’, and I responded cheers,
What a moment, a racing fan, blog fan and fellow podcast fan, the day could quite literally not get better, hope you enjoyed the day my man and the Masters.
Talking of podcasts there is a small chance a friend of mine and I are going to start one if we can find the time and enough subjects to talk about . . . I will tell you more about that in due course.
In the meantime however, go well.