5 minutes at Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat

5 minutes at Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat
Clifford with Kauto Star

Clifford with Kauto Star

Some people think trainer Paul Nicholls is a bit pompous. They say the christening of his stable as “Team Ditcheat” is arrogant.

I say that’s nonsense.

It is simply a reflection of how teamwork can ensure one stable enjoys more success than others.

Yes, of course, big money owners play a huge part in that. But I have known stables with big money owners, and their talented horses, which do not deliver anything like the number of winners they should. The owners soon remove their horses from such stables.

I have seen the good people of Manor Farm stables at work and at leisure. They work very hard but, when enjoying big race winners, they also get together to play a little at the wonderful neighbouring pub, Manor House Inn.

But they do not have time to stay up all night. After all, like stable workers up and down the land, they get up in the dark at all times of the year.

You have to love horses and love your work to be a stable lad or lass. You would not do it for the money, that’s for sure.

Clifford Baker is a lovely man. A quiet man who has experienced family tragedy in recent years. But working at Manor Farm, as head lad for Paul Nicholls, keeps him sane. Clifford has a very responsible job. It was he who rang Paul’s mobile during my interview with the trainer. Out on the road, he wanted to immediately alert Nicholls to a problem with one horse.

For many years Clifford rode out Kauto Star, Denman and other stable stars. As I write this, Clifford will have been at work for hours. Preparing horses for a busy weekend of racing.

Watch this video of Clifford at work. Just five minutes in another very long day at the home of the admirable, and rightly named, team Ditcheat.

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