With Christmas now just days away I thought I’d put a few words together and bring everyone up to speed with the latest team Ditcheat news.
I will begin with an update on One Journey who, as all the loyal readers of the blog know, I have slightly fallen for at home due to her wonderful character.
She debuted over hurdles at Newbury last week and, having jumped and travelled smoothly throughout the race, she did not quite see the two miles out and faded from the second last hurdle.
It was clear to see that she did not stay the distance as thoroughly as required so I believe she will go back to Mr Charlton’s to continue her flat career, where I wish her all the best. She is such a sweetly natured filly and I hope she continues to progress on the level.
On the same day, another grey mare shone at Newbury with Silver Forever making light work of Listed company to canter home under a beautifully confident ride from Harry. Silver is such a talented mare and it has been particularly satisfying for Paul this year to get her back to her best.
She is owned by Colm Donlon who has been a fantastic supporter of Paul for a long time now and it was great to train another nice winner for him. I can’t talk about Silver or Marge as we affectionately know her without mentioning Natalie Parker who rides Silver every day.
I ring Natalie as soon as Silver pulls up from every race and this was a first as she answered in tears of joy. I think that demonstrates beautifully just how much the team cares about these horses.
Talking of very smart novice chasers, in the last few weeks there have been excellent Grade 2 winning performances from Threeunderthrufive at Doncaster and Pic D’Orhy at Ascot.
Two very talented horses with different profiles so we will deal with Threeunder first.
Rambo, as he is known, is just a no-nonsense winning machine. Michelle Marsh who cares for him so brilliantly every day rarely reports a problem with him, he just eats, sleeps, trains and repeats.
Owned by the McNeill family he is ridden by Adrian Heskin who does a great job on him and in the 10 races they have combined together they have been successful on eight occasions – a fine strike rate by any measure.
Max McNeill and his family think the world of this horse and I am really confident he will continue to do them proud during this season and beyond.
Pic D’Orhy is a horse of enormous ability and has undergone his moments of frustration it would be fair to say, falling at Newbury with a Grade 2 contest seemingly at his mercy last time out.
Paul knew he was taking a gamble running him back quickly at Ascot last weekend but believed in Harry and Pic that they could get the job done and get it done they did.
It has been a very long time since I have been so nervous watching one of our horses run but I was so anxious for it to go right particularly for Harry who has thought for hours about how to get the best out of Pic when partnering him.
Johnny de la Hey and his family are huge supporters of Paul and of Ascot racecourse so it made for a super day on Friday as we enjoyed a great time in their box after racing looking back at Pic’s win and making plans for the future with him.
While we are on the subject of Friday at Ascot, I must talk about a young super star called Henri The Second who remained unbeaten having made all the running in the Listed bumper under Harry.
Henri, like most of our bumper horses, has come from the Will Biddick academy and it I know it is so pleasing for Paul to see these young horses being procured like this having invested heavily in store horses over the last four summers.
The week before last Paul, Natalie, Bryony Clifford, Charlie and I were lucky enough to be invited by Mr Vogt to the ROA awards in London to see Frodon win yet another prize when winning chaser of the year, a prize he won two years before.
He really is a horse of a lifetime for Mr Vogt who absolutely deserves to own such a talented racehorse.
As normal, Mr Vogt gave me plenty of stick throughout the evening about drinking too much of his wine, not serving him enough wine and just about everything else, but we always have a fantastic laugh with him and this night was no different. As I say Frodon is a great horse but in team Ditcheat’s opinion he is owned by an equally great man.
As excitement levels increase around the country for Christmas, our excitement levels for Boxing Day and the King George do the same. We schooled all of Sundays runners on Monday and happily they all seem to look in superb condition. One obviously hopes that the week now goes well and they get there on Sunday in the best of form.
Watching the likes of Clan Des Obeaux, Frodon, SaintCalvados and Bravemansgame’s school I really do have to pinch myself at how lucky I am to be around horses like this.
One more day’s racing on Wednesday awaits before Christmas at Ludlow and then a few days at home before what will hopefully be an exciting end to the week.
A few points to finish on please.
Firstly I wanted to say a big well done to my cousin Megan. She has recently been in the yard to do some filming with Racing TV for a Ditcheat this racing life. I am obviously biased here, but I think Meg did a great job in what I am sure is not an easy job.
The whole show is on YouTube now and if you skip the 10 minutes I’m wittering on it is well worth while watching. Well done Megs, the only one in the family with a face for tv I say!
Secondly with Christmas round the corner I just wanted to wish you my blog reader the warmest wishes for Christmas and the festive period.
I am watching increasingly little news at the moment such is the state of our country’s leader and the fact that there does not seem to ever be any good news, but Christmas is generally a special time for families and I hope yours is a great one.
I try not to ask for unrealistic things at Christmas but as I feel like I have been a particularly good boy this year I have written to Santa and asked for the England test team to try and at least be competitive in one Ashes Test this winter.
As I say I feel bad asking for such an impossible thing but who knows. Miracles happen, if that doesn’t happen a King George win for the boss would do!
For now though, have a fantastic Christmas, eat too many pigs in blankets, drink too much, play stupid games, do your best not to fall out with Aunt Sybil and be kind, it’s Christmas after all.
Much love and go well.