“You can expect disappointments; they only make the thrill of success greater…”
Dr MV O’Brien never said a truer word. A sport where ecstasy is often coupled with agony is where I have chosen to try to make a living. In May of this year I left Nicky Henderson’s yard after 5 years as his assistant trainer. Since then I have been busy developing my yard in Herefordshire. It was a satellite yard for [former trainer] John Edwards so, although it had the basic structure, it needed some time (and money!) spent restoring it.
It has certainly been a learning curve, and indeed Rome was not built in a day. Developments in the yard will never cease, but the basic infrastructure was completed by the open day we held on 11 September. The team – equine and human – all gave a good account of themselves. This is certainly a dream realised for me as I have been thinking of resurrecting Dason Court as a training establishment for years.
My first runners
That was the first step completed and the second step was on Thursday, 6 October at Exeter where we had our first two runners. This was also massively hyped up in the media – so no pressure!
I can admit that I have already made my first mistake, which was to run Tweedledrum on firm ground on which she couldn’t raise a semblance of a gallop, let alone a jump.
Strathcal ran a good race over a trip that probably stretches him and, again, he would like to get his toe in. Thankfully they both came back in good shape and we live to fight another day.
Tweedledrum may revert to the Flat before seeing a hurdle again and Strathcal might head to Ludlow on 20 October. But, alas, we need rain! I feel like Job paradoxically wallowing in nothing but gloriously warm weather, but I – along with a lot of the racing fraternity – could do with some rain. It makes preparations difficult and running horses nigh on impossible.
Advice from Sir Henry Cecil
Enough moaning! I am very exciting by the team of 25 horses we have here for the long season ahead. If I ever get tempted to rush I still hear Sir Henry Cecil’s three words of advice to me when starting training: “patience, patience and more patience”.
Certainly a man with more than enough pressure, as his stars are at the helm of an ultra-exciting racecard at Ascot on Saturday on QIPCO British Champions’ Day.
No one likes change but one has to hope this might be one of the wiser moves by racing’s governing bodies. Let’s not talk of the dreaded whip debate now!
Of course die-hard jump fans had their aperitif last Saturday at Chepstow with Cue Card putting in an impressive round of jumping. One can only endeavour, hope and dream to have a horse of that calibre one day. Indeed,a star is currently in the firmament as Frankel bids to cap a fantastic season; a great horse guided by a great man – let us enjoy them!