After the coldest week of a difficult winter I’m keen to pay tribute to everyone involved with the yard who have kept the show on the road despite temperatures below zero night and day.

My thanks to the teams of lads and Natalie who have been gritting the roads in the village first thing before the horses can go out and to everyone who has worked so hard riding out in the cold and wet without missing a single lot.
It’s been a great effort at a time when COVID-19 restrictions make life challenging for all of them. In normal times they could all snuggle up together in the warmth of the staff room at breakfast time with the heaters on.
But strict government rules mean that they haven’t been able to do that for months. Instead they have to sit in their cars with their heaters on or sit outside in the fresh air which was not fun last week.
While we’ve done our best to keep them warm by providing a nice breakfast every day I’m keenly aware that things have been hard for everyone involved with Team Ditcheat this winter. I’m proud of every one of them because none of our winners could have happened without them.
With the cold snap playing havoc with jumps fixtures last week it was good to have the chance to send some of our horses to Kempton for two bumper cards. Three winners over the two days took our score for the season to 122 and hopefully we can kick on again in the days ahead before a big weekend for us with runners at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton on Saturday before Newbury’s re-scheduled Betfair Hurdle card on Sunday.
Cyrname and Master Tommytucker are both set to start in the Betfair Ascot Chase, I’ll make a couple of entries in the Swinley Chase while Pic D’Orhy, who has had a wind op, and Malaya could run in the handicap hurdle at Ascot.
Christopher Wood, now rated 150, and Monmiral will get an entry in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton although Monmiral is more likely to wait for the Adonis Hurdle a week later at Kempton.
Young Buck could head for the Grade 2 long distance Albert Bartlett Prestige Novice Hurdle at Haydock where Monmiral and Good Ball will both be given entries in the juvenile hurdle.
A day later at Newbury I’m considering adding Dolos to our original entries in the Game Spirit Chase and most of our original entries in the other races will run.
For the latest news on all our runners on Saturday and Sunday please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late Friday and Saturday afternoon.