End Of Season!

25-April-2022 6:54
in General
by Admin
As another season ends I can honestly say this has been a tough one, probably the hardest in my 38 years of training and with only 13 winners certainly the least productive.
We moved out of Rhonehurst early last summer, which was a wrench after training from there for my entire career to date but Neardown Stables is a lovely yard and Charlie and Kate Mann made us very welcome.
The few runners that we had through the summer were all placed and our first winner from our new premises was Puffin Bay at Stratford on August 23rd.
The season proper began and it was all systems go with some nice youngsters coming through and the older horses rejuvenated by a change of scenery.
Then in the autumn I didn’t feel quite right in myself and after a series of tests I was diagnosed with lymphoma.
I began a six month course of chemotherapy on November 1st.
Chemotherapy is not for the faint hearted but my god it’s a lot better than the alternative.
The drugs are so much better now than they used to be, I dread to think what the likes of Jonjo O’Neill and Bob Champion went through.
Thankfully the whole process is so much kinder now and it is constantly improving/evolving.
It’s left me full of admiration for the doctors and particularly the nurses that became very much a part of my life, what they see and deal with on a daily basis makes all of our problems seem very insignificant.
I never stopped going to the yard during my entire treatment so when the horses began to run disappointingly in the new year it was a head scratcher, nothing had changed and we were not doing anything differently yet they were clearly not right….
In a perfect world the horses would have given me a lift during this time, unfortunately it was the opposite.
My team, especially my head man Stefan, assistant Andy and Amy my travelling head girl were fantastic during this time and I cannot thank them enough.
It was a difficult time for all of the team they are a young group of people so to see their boss clearly poorly and to lose over two and a half stone in weight must have worried them, the majority had never had cancer in their lives before.
It was a scarey unknown situation yet they were all utterly professional as you would expect and they were/are unfaltering in their support… I thank each and every one of you ????
My owners have also given me unwavering support and obviously without them I can’t do the job I love, their response was very humbling.
Looking forward …I’ve got some lovely young horses to train next season, as you’ve seen recently with the exciting bumper winners plus we’ve got some nice novices that weren’t quite right this spring and therefore didn’t run.
So it’s onwards and upwards, I’m very upbeat about getting back to training winners again and putting this difficult season behind me…. Positivity all the way and I’m always on the lookout for more horses and owners.
The reason for writing this personal account is to give hope to anyone that is going through what I have now thankfully beaten, I was given the all clear last week having been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in October last year………..never give up.