We have recently been treated to some absolutely beautiful mornings in Ditcheat which has made for wonderful starts to the day.

However, we are getting closer to the stage of really needing some rain in order to run some of our horses that are ready to go.

Last weekend, as everyone knows, always represents a big few days for us with lots of the winter horses making their seasonal reappearances. Thankfully, that all went really well.

We enjoyed some taking performances from our young horses Including Knappers Hill, Outlaw Peter, Magistrato and Timeforatune and even some of the horses ran nicely in defeat.

Threeunderthrufive warmed to the task on chasing debut and jumped great for the latter half of the race until getting a little tired from two out to the line. He will be much better in a month’s time on some slower ground.

In my opinion, Fidelio Vallis ran one of the races of his young chasing career to finish second behind Tea Clipper, while Amour Du Nuit was at his best in the Silver Trophy to be third under what I thought was an excellent ride from the Cob.

Lallygag also ran well at Newton Abbot in the bumper sticking to his task really well to finish second.

The star performer for us over the weekend however was of course Bravemansgame who made a sparkling chasing debut at Newton Abbot. Plenty has already been written about him and we are all excited about his talent at Ditcheat so I hope Sunday went some way to demonstrating why we have so much faith in him.

Cobby was beaming when he got off him such was the manner in which he jumped and how “he didn’t come out of first gear.”

There will be much much harder tasks ahead but it was lovely to see him do that with his ears pricked first time out.

It obviously helps at the races when the horses are running well but I’m sure anyone at Chepstow or Newton Abbot over the weekend will have noticed what brilliant crowds there were at those meetings.

It really is fantastic to have big crowds back at the races and it looks to me like people have clearly missed going for a day out.

With things now in full swing everyday is packed to the rafters with either schooling, working or looking after owners or guests to the yard, which is great.

We had a big schooling morning on Monday, jumping 48 horses all together. Plenty of novices caught the eye by doing things nicely, with all of them basically ready to go and just waiting on a some rain for them.

On a depressing note I turned another year older last week which did lead to a funny story which I will share with you my loyal reader.

Paul and I generally have a bit of breakfast together. About 8:40 after first lot, I came in after riding out, took my coat off and much to my delight there was a couple of presents placed on the side.

“Open that one first,” he tells me, a grin appearing across the champion trainer’s face.

So I did, delighted with a present but curious as to why he’s already smiling. It’s aftershave, very nice after shave I might add.

“Thanks Paul.”
“No problem chap, I thought we’d get that for you as it strikes me like your current after shave is not working!”

Who needs enemies hey when you have friends like that . . .

Anyway, I did have a fun day all the same.

We all enjoyed a good night at the McCoy’s at Cheltenham the other day with Mr Vogt and Frodon collecting yet another award, undoubtedly richly deserved after the season he enjoyed.

It had however been a day or two since I had worn the dinner jacket and I was gutted to see the trousers slightly slimmer fitting than I recall at the last party.

I just want to talk to you all about a couple more things before I head on.

First of all as I said earlier it was great to see Lallygag finish second at Newton Abbot in the bumper on Sunday.

He was the first of the four year olds we have to run this season and it was encouraging to see him run so nicely. I think they are a good bunch of bumper horses this season but it is always a nervy time at this stage in the year as you want the last few weeks to go well before they get to the track.

I have always said those young horses are a massive part of why I love this job so much and I am hopeful they will do well for Paul again this season.

Jumping is a massive part of our training from day to day so it always fun when we have an ex flat horse that we need to teach how to jump.

Generally Lorcan Williams is the man in the saddle on these days and recently we have been teaching two three-year-olds the basics. Individualiste and Irish Hill are their names so hopefully later on in the season you will hear about them both.

It is endlessly interesting watching how individual horses take to it and how they adapt and learn to what is being asked of them. We start with just poles with the idea of progressing to hurdles when they are ready.

It is something I love doing and hopefully those two, as well as plenty of others, will jump nicely when they make it to the track.

I think that’s just about it for now actually so until next time, go well.