With very little chance of me writing a blog over the weekend given the Ryder Cup will be on, I thought I had better check in to give an update on all things ‘Team Ditcheat’.
In a nutshell ‘busy’ would be the description I would go for.
We have hosted schooling mornings a plenty, accommodated lots of owners who have visited the yard and undertaken the everyday tasks that go into it all. With all of that in mind, September is passing us by extremely quickly but to tell you the truth that is no bad thing.
We always target mid-October to be ready to roll, so the latter half of September is a period when you cannot help but wish time by so we can get racing and see which horses have improved, which new ones are smart, how last season’s bumper horses take to hurdling and novice hurdlers to chasing.
We are well into our schooling for the season now and have been busy getting all the novices doing plenty. They will take another step up the ladder on Monday when they have a jump round our 400m loop, which represents a bigger challenge from the indoor arena and an assignment that will give Paul a great idea of how close they are.
Today (Thursday) was a real treat as Frodon enjoyed his first pop of the season under Bryony and safe to say he has not lost any enthusiasm for his job over the summer. He carted B round the school at about 1000mph and looked to have all his usual bounce and love for life, something that never fails to make you smile.
The great weather through September has been a real treat for all the team working at the yard and kept everyone in excellent spirits. The work is hard at this time of year and things have to be done to a very high standard to ensure the horses are getting the work they need to be fit. Everyone is putting that work in though and hopefully that will all pay off.
So what have I been up to?
As I say there has been loads going and I feel like my feet have not really touched the ground recently. There has been two yard parties, one bbq and one evening at a local Italian restaurant, a great evening which always always ends up in a few sore heads.
As you can imagine there are a lot of us and, for whatever reason, they did not quite have enough staff on for the evening so if you can picture Harry Cobden and I handing out plates of carbonara and pizza then you are basically there with us.
Last time we went to the aforementioned Italian, Charlie Davies took it upon himself to drink a whole bottle of Limoncello but much to Michelle, his fiancé’s delight he chose not to repeat that great act this time round.
Away from staff parties I was lucky enough to be invited to Harry Skelton’s Champion jockey bash a couple of weeks back and I must give credit to the Skeltons as they really do now how to throw a good bash. Harry spoke beautifully about his ambition and dream of becoming champion and how grateful he was to everyone for being a part of it.
Harry is a great guy and I was very happy for him to realise his dream.
With all hands on deck at the moment I have been doing a fair bit of riding out which, in such a good month of weather, has been a real treat and often a great source of entertainment.
Angus Chelada, one of our conditional jockeys, will not mind me telling you that for all his skills on the back of a horse, his knowledge of racing would not be the best, so Charlie and I have taken it upon ourselves to educate Angus, or Rodney Trotter as I like to call him, with a regular quiz about what happened last season.
With a little more work we think he will remember that Frodon won the Fighting Fifth and Epatante the King George, something like that anyway…
“Ahhhh I was about to get that,” being his favourite line.
Talking of team Ditcheat, we were all extremely proud of one of our own, Amelia Norris, who last Sunday completed her second half marathon inside a week for the incredible Racing Welfare and raised well over what her target originally was.
It represented a fantastically brave effort on her part, perhaps the bravest bit of all was her riding out four lots the Monday after when even walking across the yard looked a bit of an effort.
The one bit of sad news we have had to stomach is that poor Topofthegame is having to have another season on the sidelines with his injury taking longer to heal than first anticipated.
Since the news was broken, I have read serval people on various social media platforms helpfully telling Paul what he should do with the horse. But please rest assured he is in the absolute best of hands and Paul will do what is correct for the horse.
Topper is owned by two very patient men in Mr Barber and Mr Giles who will always put him first.
The horses on the track have continued to go well despite us not being busy and we are now up to 29 winners for this season which is great going for this time of year. Hopefully the summer form bodes well for the winter that lies ahead.
The last point I want to touch on is that our ‘horses in training’ brochure is out now and available online, essential reading if you are a fan of Paul’s horses.
That is just about it for this time but hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be back with lots of racing to talk about.
Until then however, go well.