With racing greats over the past few years, such as Kauto Star, Denman and Master Minded to our current stars Big Buck's, Al Ferof and Silviniaco Conti as well as many other multiple Cheltenham Festival and Grade One winners, our team sets the standard for jump racing success.
Our reputation for discovering and nurturing the best young equine talent into Champion racehorses speaks for itself over the past two decades. All of us here at Paul Nicholls Racing are extremely honoured and proud to handle one of the most powerful yard of National Hunt horses in the country.
It is hard to imagine from its current set up, but just over 15 years ago Manor Farm Stables was a small training yard with 28 loose boxes and an uphill woodchip gallop. It currently can accommodate up to 82 horses, has an eight-horse covered walker and two all-weather gallops. As part of the on-going improvements here at Ditcheat, during the summer of 2011 market leader Easyfix fitted the stables with rubber floors. Although at significant cost, this is something we see as progression and modernisation.
As a routine refurbishment, Easyfix have also fitted their hard wearing long-life matting to our horse-walkers. We have a second yard just outside Ditcheat catering for 43 horses that has been in use since 2000. The walk to the gallops is slightly longer and it also has a smaller covered walker that can take six horses.
Ditcheat's famous Hill Gallop covers just short of four-and-a-half furlongs in length but climbs a staggering 232 feet. Drainage is a big problem on such an incline so the gallop is placed over and flanked by plenty of land drainage.
Flat Gallop: Dead flat, the gallop is railed from end-to-end and bends left and right along its path. It was originally a deep sand gallop but was upgraded to a surface similar to the Hill Gallop over time.
Schooling: We have both hurdles and fences outside that can be utilised when a horse is in need of some experience of jumping at speed before it runs (traditionally novices and unraced horses). We use Gill and Punter plastic brush hurdles and Easyfix hurdles and fences, which are excellent, as the novice chasers respect the fences and the hurdlers learn to get height without being intimidated.
The 20m x 40m schooling ring located at Highbridge has a Martin Collins EcoTrack competition surface and is enclosed by a 6ft high cladded fence. The obstacles within the area are reversed 4ft high plastic brush hurdles so horses can jump them in both directions.