Hello and welcome to Manor House Stables

Hello and welcome to my blog. As the Flat season gets under way, I am going to be writing an exclusive blog on chester-races.com as the team at Manor House Stables prepares for my second full season here in Cheshire. Chester is our local course and many of our owners want to have runners (and winners!) there, and so it is great that we are able to team up here with the Racecourse.

We officially arrived here at Manor House Farm in August 2009, but it wasn’t until the following January that I moved here completely, as I was overseeing the transition from my former yard in Lambourn. The 2010 season was not as straight-forward as I had originally thought it might be, even though we ended up with 40 winners all told.

After 65 winners the year before, when we moved here I had solid ambitions, coupled with high personal expectations, to better that total. Maybe I thought it would be easy, but moving house is never without its problems and for us, changing yards, training facilities and, in some cases personnel, was the same. For 2011, we have made a lot of changes to how we are do things in all departments, having reviewed what we were doing last year.

Last year, we added a new 5f section to the gallop directly up a hill with a pretty much perfect gradient to it. This was an essential development and I am pleased with it, although even now, it is still bedding in to a certain degree. Training in Lambourn, where you share many miles of different gallops with other trainers, I had adapted my training regime to use specific gallops for slow, medium and fast work. At Manor House, I initially tried to implement the same regime using just the one gallop; however, over the winter, we have changed the regime to suit the gallop, a strategy that should bear fruit as the season goes on.

Another change to our approach this year has been to take more time with the horses. I am convinced that the colder weather in Cheshire has meant that the horses are a few weeks ‘behind’ those based in the South – i.e. it is taking a couple more weeks for them to come in their coats and really develop into the Spring. Therefore, I have not been pushing the 2-y-o’s especially – we are not trying to win the Brocklesby – and will let them tell us when they are ready.

The yard itself, with its brand new barns etc is fantastic and I will talk more about the further investment we are making in a later blog. We now have a large team – up to nearly 40 of us – keeping the show on the road, and looking around, there are many years of experience on show wherever you look. Again, I will write about some of the vital cogs in the Manor House machine soon.

With 87 horses on site, and another dozen or so doing some pre-training before coming into full training, there is a lot to juggle and many problems to solve - normally before breakfast.  I am always looking to better understand how well the horses are, so as to be able to win more races. 2010 was tricky as, having started the year with a good winner at Lingfield in March, things did not really go right thereafter and many of the horses ran extremely inconsistently throughout the season.

It became very difficult to put a finger on why. We had horses tested by vets from around the globe, let alone the North-West and seemingly, they were all clinically healthy, even if they were not running like healthy horses should. Trainers have very different approaches to bloods (i.e. the results of blood tests) and what they tell you about a horse’s well-being in terms of the white/red cell balance. This year, whilst we will continue regular testing on a monthly basis, I will trust more in what the horse is telling me and probably refer to the blood results only if a horse is obviously unwell.

I am looking forward to the Flat season ahead, and especially some warmer weather. The horses at the moment seem fine and healthy and I am happy with where they are. Hopefully, the changes that we have instigated will mean a better season this year, so fingers crossed.

I will be writing here during the lead-in to Chester’s May Festival, talking more about the Manor House operation, some of the key figures in the team and how things are going; we will try to get some photos and video on line in the next couple of weeks to complement that. For more regular updates about our runners etc, just go to TomDascombe on twitter.

Thanks

Tom


Comments

Tom Dascombe

Nice one Tom !!! hope you can live up to the Master of training flat horses in Cheshire .... the late great Eric Cousin

Good luck

Good luck for the new season, Tom. Roy David, Racing Manager to Michael Watt.

The New Blog

Really enjoyed the blog, im not much of a reader but when the content is this interesting it makes it much easier. I am looking forward to this seasons blog updates, I am sure they will be candid and honest. well done roll on the Chester meetings Andy Harris

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