We secured our fourteenth trainers’ championship title and recorded a new high regards prize money on Saturday.
At times during the afternoon at Sandown it seemed that we might fall just short of our previous best tally of £3,646,511 set in 2007-08.
But we cracked it in the end in the very last race of the campaign with Samarrive and Iceo earning enough to set a new record by the slender margin of £74. While it wasn’t a massively important thing it was nice to do it having got so close after a season when our horses have been in consistently good form with a strike rate of just under 28%.
I’ve now finished first or second in the trainers’ championship for the past twenty five years and couldn’t have done it without all my loyal owners and the whole-hearted support of Team Ditcheat led by my long-time head lad Clifford Baker who is such a key player.Harry Cobden has been riding at the top of his game all season supported by our other jockeys. We have missed him in a few races just as Manchester City suffer when Erling Haaland is out of action. Harry knows the horses, has a great temperament and rides with so much confidence. The next ambition is to win another trainers’ title which would match the record of Martin Pipe. We will not be that busy over the summer but as usual will move into top gear from the start of October.
I’m pleased to report that Bravemansgame is A1 after going so close in the Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday given a confident ride by Harry Cobden and will soon be on holiday in the field in front of my house with with Pic D’Orhy.Knappers Hill proved to be our only winner at Sandown with a few of ours under performing after a long season on ground that was a bit softer than ideal. With Harry stood down for the day after his fall with Enrilo in the bet365 Gold Cup Bryony Frost proved an able substitute. I was a little concerned about him getting the trip on the ground so was keen for her to take her time and let Knappers Hill creep into the race late on and she carried out the tactics to perfection. He has won ten of his sixteen races for Paul Barber and Paul Vogt and will be going over fences in the autumn with the Rising Stars Chase at Wincanton a possible target. McFabulous was sensibly pulled up by Lorcan Williams in the Oaksey Chase after suffering an irregular heartbeat. We ran plenty of tests after it happened the previous time at Newbury and need to investigate further to discover what is causing the problem. The good news is that he was right as rain on Sunday morning.
We ended a memorable season with 163 winners and a total of £3,646,585 prize money, almost £1 million more than the runner up Nicky Henderson.Now we are all back to zero. It’s exciting that we have a lovely collection of horses including a nice bunch of young prospects that we have been buying recently. The future looks as bright as ever.