The Racing Horse is a huge fan of Oliver Sherwood as a man and a trainer, and has been given permission to post his end of season thoughts here. Following him on Facebook this season he has been kind enough to pass on so much information giving us a fabulous insight to the day to day running of a major stable, and he has done so with humility and kindness. He is an absolute gentleman and must be the best boss to work for. We hope his difficulties will end soon and that his younger horses reach their potential, perhaps one of them might be a little special. We take this opportunity to pass on our thanks for sharing his time with us and his many followers...
Long and difficult winter
It’s been a long and very difficult winter for everyone involved in jump racing, we’ve experienced some horrendous conditions, so bad that at times it’s been tricky for the staff to even get to the yard let alone get all the horses ridden out. We managed though, not one of the horses missed a days exercise and as always my team were amazing and the spirits remained good throughout the snow, frosts and never ending rain we all endured....thank you all.
On the face of it but...
On the face of it 21 winners is disappointing but at the start of the season over half of my horses were unraced and I also had plenty of others that wanted better ground, a lot of them have run with promise but without troubling the judge.
Improve for racehorse experience and tenderly ridden
It’s not my way to be over hard on my youngsters, they invariably improve for an initial racecourse experience, they are fairly tenderly ridden (as in not smacked, they are always doing their best) and they are brought along with a view to having a long and hopefully successful career.
If I had gone all guns blazing and run a lot of my youngsters on the ground we’ve had it could have ruined their futures, there are times when you just have to count to ten no matter how frustrating that can be.
Build on the promise they have shown
We will keep a few novices going until mid May/beginning of June and as long as we have decent ground with a bit of luck they can build on the promise they’ve shown us. There will also be a few older horses that want better ground that I’ll keep going, summer grass isn’t so important for those types and they’ve had an easy winter.
This has been a rebuilding season for us and a new one begins in a week, let’s hope it’s a successful one and thank you all for your continued support.
OLIVER SHERWOOD 29th April 2018
I want to continue at Rhonehurst - Oliver Sherwod
He is not one to complain but these are worrying times for Grand National-winning trainer. He has operated at his Rhonehurst base in Lambourn with a 66-box yard since he started his career in 1984 and has dismissed talk of retirement despite the historic establishment being put up for sale for £3.5m.
Oliver was positive that any deal will not signal the end of his career. He said: "The owners who bought the place off me in 2002 are selling up and it's in the lap of the gods. I want to stay but I can't afford to buy it. It's a nice place but it's out of my hands. I want to carry on training. I'm not stopping and if I have to train somewhere else, then I have to train somewhere else, but I'm hoping someone will invest in the place and I can carry on training from Rhonehurst. I'd like to finish off my days there."
He continued: "I do not want people to put two and two together and get ten that I am packing up training because I am not. It is business as usual and I am not going to panic or lose sleep over it. What will be will be! I am relaxed about the future!"
The arrival of the ill-fated Many Clouds who also win a Hennessy and two Cotswold Chases, along with Puffin Billy and Deputy Dan (amongst others) helped the trainer stage a revival in recent years. The Racing Horse would like Oliver (62) to train for many years to come, he has so much to offer our sport. Take a look at his current batch of horses in training: OLIVER SHERWOOD'S HORSES/ABOUT US
Our view is that Oliver is a man who loves every part of the National Hunt game and now he has a chance to showcase his talent at nurturing youngsters and something he has achieved with distinction in previous years and something which gives him the most pleasure. He says: "I love buying the unraced store horse and bringing them along slowly, that’s the way I was brought up and it’s what I know best. It’s not for everyone but that’s just me and if we were all the same it would be a boring old world. I like to think that we take our time with our horses, they’re not rushed and the saying ‘there’s always another race tomorrow’ is something I swear by."
He continued: "I’d love to have another Cheltenham winner before I hang up my cap and you’re always looking for that new horse to replace the likes of Many Clouds, Puffin Billy and Deputy Dan which could take you there to the big days. We were very lucky to have all three at the same time. Unless you’ve got 150 horses like Nicky or Paul it’s a different ball game.
The Racing Horse understands and we wish Oliver Sherwood all the best for 2018/19 and hope this time next year he will be still training out of Rhonehurst...
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