Hello and welcome to my first blog as a trainer!
I do not really know where to start.
I have been so excited to write this blog and, given so much has happened, I guess the best thing to do is to give you a brief run through of how things have progressed since my last blog for Paul back in April.
The final day at Sandown was amazing where we saddled an incredible five winners and Paul was crowned champion trainer for the 13th time.
My working life at Ditcheat could not have finished in a better way and we celebrated in true Ditcheat fashion on the Sunday which was a great way to say goodbye.
The end of one chapter and the start of another, new, exciting, terrifying hopefully successful chapter. Harry Derham the trainer . . . gulp!
My plan has always been to be prepared to race at Christmas this year so the summer represented the first time in my life that I actually had a long period of time off “work”.
A free man with a business to build, horses to buy, golf to play and crucially cricket to watch.
Well, I did all of those and all in all my summer, like no other, was thoroughly enjoyable. Weird, but enjoyable.
However, that’s quite enough about that, let’s cut to the present and what I’m doing now.
As you would expect with a new business, we have experienced a few teething problems in the build of my new site which is slightly behind schedule.
When Upper Farm is finished at Boxford it will be an amazing yard and I’m so excited to be operating from there.
Fortunately, I have managed to find a temporary home in Oisin Murphy’s Frenchman’s House Stables in the village of Upper Lambourn, a 20-box yard with the use of all the gallops and facilities that Lambourn and the Jockey Club offer.
My horses came into the yard on Wednesday 7th September, and I was back to doing what I absolutely love.
The night before I did not sleep a wink with anticipation and excitement, and I think looking back at it I was probably a nightmare to my new team of staff that Wednesday morning.
Talking of that team I better introduce them hadn’t I.
Graham Baines is my head lad and is ably assisted by Ryan Holley, Joe Wroe, Danni Stewart and Rupert Wilks, while my phenomenal sister Amy has been the signing of the summer.
That is us at the moment and to be honest I could not wish for a better group of people to start out with. Danni and Rupert joined the rest of us two weeks ago and have fitted in wonderfully.
Fortunately for me all of them have great experience in the industry and know their jobs inside out having all worked for excellent trainers before.
Ryan has been in Newmarket, most notably as assistant to David Elsworth, Graham has been at a number of places including Shadwell and Warren Greatrex and brings a wealth of knowledge to his job. Danni has been at Jeremy Scott’s whilst Joe and Rupert had been at the same university as me.
The team have arrived with differing background and from various locations but they have knitted together really well and it delights me that a random group of people have already turned into a slick team that boast great standards in the yard and bring to their jobs lots of skills with the horses.
I have obviously been part of a team before, but it is only when your name is above the door you properly realise just how important having good colleagues is.
Amy is running my office side of things and along with Joe Drien has set up the website you are reading this on so thank you for that Amz.
So, how is the yard going?
Well so far so good, I have twenty horses in work which is great and having had them in a couple of days shy of six weeks I feel like I am starting to get them into some good routines, and they are beginning to come together nicely.
It has been challenging getting to know a new set of gallops and understanding who is who in Lambourn and what string will generally do what on a daily basis.
I will say though that everyone I have bumped into have been incredibly kind and welcoming.
I am lucky to have a nice mix of horses from youngsters, who I am going to take my time with, and some older horses who are ready to rock when I get going.
Throughout this process Amy and I have been in constant contact with the BHA who have been extremely helpful and speaking to them we have made a plan that it is realistic to think my first runners will be at Christmas time.
With that target in mind, I have 12 or 14 horses that I am training now with the intention of being ready to run around that period so there is currently an awful lot to look forward too.
In the spring, every now and again, I had this little fear in the back of my head. What if in my summer off and away from the horses I did not miss working with horses on a day to day basis?
What if I stepped away from the summer and did not have that desire to be back with the horses?
Well happily that was never the case, I missed working with them almost every day and now I am back working with my new yard of horses I am once again in my element.
For a trainer just starting out I am really excited by the fact I think I have a decent little team of horses that hopefully can be competitive in the right races.
The majority of the string are up to doing two canters everyday now and I am going to give a good few of them their first jump later this week all being well, so things are really starting to get going.
It really is so nice to write a blog again and, while I am not going to commit to writing one every week, I am going to try and get as many blogs up as I can as I love telling you about what I’m up to and I hope that you as readers will enjoy hearing about my new venture as much as you did my last.
So there you have it. I am underway, excited about what is to come and excited as I say to share that with you as I go along.
That feels like enough for today, but before you go if you have not fallen asleep by the time you have finished the blog please do have a little look round my new website.
For now though,