Our first frost of the autumn this morning and beautiful skies first thing too – absolutely stunning here albeit a little colder than the warm weather we have been getting used to!
Matt Capp and his father Andy were here second lot to watch Robsam jumping at Jon Trice-Rolph’s under Patrick Cowley. We also took Batsford Stud Racing Club’s Miss Antipova with Paddy Berkins and it was a successful schooling session. It does both the horses good to get away and jump under Jon’s instruction and the riders always benefit from a different set of eyes watching them from the ground. It always amazes us that in most other equine disciplines the riders have constant tuition even daily yet in racing jockeys are expected to know what they are doing wrong themselves often and learn from their mistakes without much guidance. The introduction of jockey coaches for the younger riders is a vast improvement and things are changing but they needed to. We are always keen to improve the work riders in the yard too not just the jockeys as it is the people at home that help the horses run so well on the course.
Yesterday John and Claire Abernethy were here to watch Capital Force on the gallops and school over fences too and it was great to see them. Last time they visited they kindly brought us some of their homegrown lamb and we’ve already had a couple of joints and, as usual, it’s absolutely delicious.
We’ve not had any runners since Southwell on Tuesday where both horses finished 4th. Big Nasty ran a creditable race on his seasonal debut and jumped well but the soft ground found out his lack of a run. We knew we’d left a bit to work on as it’s a long season and on better ground we may have got away with it. Leighton looked after him once beaten and we were pleased with him. Debden Bank was also 4th and was making his hurdling debut and was quite rightly a 100-1 shot after two disappointing bumper runs. Although he didn’t trouble the leaders, he jumped well and ran a much better race and showed a good attitude. Both horses ate up and trotted up sound yesterday.
It’s great to be able to work and school the horses on the grass after the downpours we have had over the past week or so. They certainly learn more, I feel, by working on the surface that they are going to run on and the babies that haven’t yet run learn an incredible amount from working in a bigger group on the grass.