Well, the Indian Summer dramatically gave way to an autumnal storm and last week's blissful conditions were a distant memory. This large beech tree snapped 10ft from the school whilst the horses were cooling off after 2nd lot; it provided an interesting example of the horses' natural instincts as none of the riders could work out why they all started panicking and a couple of seconds later - crash!
The sun is shining again now though and there are few things better than early mornings out with a bunch of National Hunt horses as they are prepared for their winter campaign, watching them progress week by week is exciting and rewarding. Without wishing to tempt fate we have had a smooth start to the season and I couldn't be happier about where we are with the horses. We will have 12 to run under rules, 3 handicap chasers in the form of Native Coll, Seeking Power and Isla Pearl Fisher and 9 youngsters - none of whom have jumped an obstacle in public, some have had a run or two in bumpers, they are all very unexposed and hopefully progressive. All of these horses are now half fit and the stronger ones are just starting serious work with a view to them being ready to run in mid October, I know that I have never had such a nice bunch of horses so the pressure will be on me to translate this into success on the course. I'm fine with that, I just don't want any excuses in the form of weather etc. We also have six point-to-pointers who have just come in and are starting on the horsewalker, plenty of success required there as well.
So, we've assembled an exciting bunch of horses, we have an excellent team of staff and really good support from outside - what's the target - 70 runners - 20% first two (10 winners please!) and 50% first four.........
And by the way, would the Chinese people who leave such interesting comments on this blog please introduce themselves as I'm quite mystified!