I travelled down to Hickstead last Wednesday with Kalico Bay, Pircolando M, Roland and Talori.
Due to a staff shortage, and my groom Kristen getting Ruby [Fresh Direct Coralto] ready to go into quarantine on the Saturday, Holly Howsam, a girl I help, came to help me. And she was thrown in at the deep end!
I was at Hickstead until Sunday. It was hot and a good show. Kalico Bay went well and Talori went nicely, but Roland didn’t go as good as I expected, which is why I didn’t jump in the King Geroge V Gold Cup.
Ruby had a good workout before I left on Wednesday and went for a working swim on Thursday. On Friday, she did some galloping work with Daniel Delsart, who rides for me and is very good on the flat.
Then on Saturday, Ruby and the rest of the British team horses started their quarantine period at Unex Towerlands. It’s the perfect place for it and has all the facilities the team needs.
The horse stables are massive, about 5m sq, within a separate yard. They’ve made available lots of rooms, and a café where a chef comes in three times a day to cook meals for the grooms.
Then of course there are the exercise facilities — there’s a big indoor school — and the outdoor arena has white sand, like there will be in Hong Kong. And we’ve got a horse container, like that the horses will fly in, to practise loading them. We are very lucky, I think this place is second to none.
We’ve also had good weather over the past week, with temperatures between 28 and 30 degrees, so we have been able to do some training in warmer conditions.
Quarantine is a bit of a pain, but the advantage is that it’s brought us all together which is a really good team building exercise.
Last night we all ate together, included the reserve riders. With everyone in one place, including all the grooms, we’re starting to become more and more like a team.
Everything is going very well. Long may it last.