The last two weeks have been plain sailing with Harry’s preparation for Wadebridge. They have also flown by and I don’t know where the time goes!
Harry had his last gallop on the Friday before his run. My mum was on board for this occasion and she reported he felt good, so it was all systems go…
He had a dreaded bath the morning of his race and then got extremely cross when mum was plaiting him. He reckoned I got water in his ear, but that’s utter rubbish — he was just being a wuss!
His mate Teddy had his and didn’t make nearly so much fuss. I tried to tell Harry to watch and learn, but I know it will have gone in one ear and out the other!
We loaded up and headed down to Wadebridge, picking up my brother’s wife Jo (Harry’s regular hunting rider) en-route.
When we arrived at a wet and pretty miserable looking Wadebridge, I found some tarmac to park my big lorry on then I went off to declare and hand the colours in to the jockeys.
Harry’s colours belong to his part owner Mike and they are a very eye-catching purple body with a pink star and light blue sleeves with a light blue cap.
The boys had a leg stretch, which was cut short by rain, so we had some beverages (medicinal to calm my nerves I may add!).
Teddy ran first and Harry was a very good boy standing on the lorry while he was out trying his best.
Ted ran how I thought he would. I was convinced he would need the run as he’s a lazy so and so at home! Jo pulled him up at the second last as he had slipped into the third last and the others went away from him — right decision as always Jo Buck!
Harry’s big moment
Then it was Harry’s turn after booting him up in his new Woof Wear smart event boots, and Kevlar hinds.
He came off the lorry looking an absolute picture, even if I say so myself!
Will Biddick came and saddled him up and his dashing orange paddock sheet was put on. A few finishing touches and off he went to the paddock.
My friend Charlotte was assigned the job of leading him up and Harry decided to get rather wild in the lorry park, showing Charlotte his belly on a couple of occasions — BAD HARRY!
But once in the paddock he was a total star and looked fantastic!
Will came in and we had a quick chat. All his owners said was please bring him home in one piece. It’s been a long road getting Harry to this point and as the season progresses I’m sure we will all become less nervous.
Harry cantered to the start and circled nicely with the others, then they were off.
Too late for me to freak out so I just didn’t watch the first circuit… I had my head in my hands, listening to Mark Dennis call them along!
We decided to race Harry close the front so he wasn’t interfered with too much in his jumping and it worked. He got better as he went around.
My heart hit my shoes
However, after passing the post and heading out on the last circuit, it became apparent that Will wasn’t happy with something. He tried for quite some time to pull Harry up, much to Harry’s disgust!
I have to say my heart hit my shoes, I couldn’t help but think the worst — the champion jockey knows when something’s a miss.
So I pleased to see Will put Harry into a hack canter and poddle up the hill towards the line.
Will’s explanation was simple — Harry had started to hang left quite violently, badly enough that Will felt that something had gone seriously wrong with him.
Upon pulling up Harry was sound and seemed fine. As he had never hung at home before it was a new trick!
Will was happy with how he handled the track and the ground and said that, while he was rather exuberant to begin with, he settled reasonably well for a horse who hasn’t seen the track for 18 months.
I’m very grateful to Will for doing the sensible thing and stopping Harry. If there had been an issue and he’d carried on, who knows what the outcome of this blog would be!
He has come out of the race absolutely buzzing and went completely to town doing his hippo impression in the field on Monday!
He will have today off as I’m on a CPC course and then return to work on Wednesday, beginning in earnest his bid to loose his maiden title!
Read Lizzie’s last blog
Lizzie notes Harry's great progress leading up to his first run and talks us through a typical week in point-to-point…
So… onto next time, the plan is to go back to Wadebridge on 11 January for Harry’s next run, this time in a stronger bit so bad Harry doesn’t reappear.
Hopefully Will can ride him again, and between now and then there is plenty to do! No Christmas break for me!
Have a wonderful, happy and healthy Christmas. I hope Santa brings you all you want!
With love from Harry and Lizzie