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First double and young rider breaks duck on special day for our yard.

MY WEEK FOR me as a trainer, Thursday was a day to remember as we had our first double. For our 18-year-old apprentice, Stephen Cummins, it was even more memorable.

It took me 50 races before my first success in the saddle. It took Stephen only ten. Only two hours after Sydney Ruffdiamond won for the team at Chepstow under Shane Kelly, Stephen was able to enter Epsom's famous winner's circle after giving Wordismybond a peach of a front-running ride.

I've been trying to knock some of the rough edges off him. Importantly, though, he is a good horseman with good horse sense. That's crucial. I'd always rather have a smart horseman on my side than a mechanical, stylish rider devoid of any horse sense.

I always felt I was a better horseman than jockey. While not as stylish or agile on a horse's back as Frankie, I do know I had great horse sense and was a horseman. Some jockeys would not be able to tell you if the horse wants five furlongs or two miles. That doesn't impress me much, no matter how tidy they look in a finish.

A person with horse sense will know how the animal will react to something just by looking at it. That person will understand that if you walk through a stable door a horse will naturally follow. For a horse it's the most normal thing in the world to do. What you don't do is try to walk in besides the horse, just as you wouldn't walk into a lift alongside someone else. If a person did try to enter a stable with the horse right next to him the horse would probably stop because the horse is more intelligent.

Stephen is actually unlucky not to have been on the scoresheet before now. We had a plan on Blenheim Warrior, who we fancied, at Newbury in May but circumstances ensured the plan went out of the window. The horse got left at the start and, all in all, it was a bit of a disaster.

Stephen's confidence was knocked. He also took plenty of stick from the lads in the yard - which, in itself, is not a bad thing - but he has got on with it and proved he can overcome setbacks. Bad days like the one Stephen had at Newbury can either make or break a young jockey. Stephen has come out the other side and now has a bright future.

As for Wordismybond, he has a fair bit more experience than Stephen. I won on him myself at Windsor three years ago and when Peter Makin retired he kindly sent me three horses - given I'm a new trainer that was incredibly kind and supportive of him - and Wordismybond was one of them. The old horse has now won two races from Weathercock House - he feels like a two-year-old at the moment, which is marvellous to see.

As a trainer in my first full season, it's normal to sometimes doubt yourself. One thing I never doubt is my knowledge of Britain's racecourses. That came in handy on Thursday.

Shane Kelly rang me before Sydney Ruffdiamond's race, a six-furlong handicap, to have a chat about tactics. Shane pointed out he was drawn out on the wing in stall one. Normally I don't interfere, but Shane asked me if I thought he should tuck in. I told him definitely not to do that and to instead do his own thing and use that far-side draw, regardless of what anyone else might do.

They go flat out at Chepstow and it's very difficult to make up ground there. For that reason I told Shane to stay where he was and go in a straight line from A to B as quickly as possible and ignore what everyone else was doing. Pleasingly, those tactics worked a treat and he made all to win well.

Everyone in the yard works incredibly hard, so days like Thursday are special. I know neither Wordismybond or Sydney Ruffdiamond are ever going to win valuable races, but every winner counts. To see a horse win at any level is a real treat. Horses like those two really are worth their weight in gold.

These have been quite trying times for us. It hasn't all been rosy in the yard. Some of the horses weren't 100 per cent, but we feel we've got to the other side of late. There is great positivity at Weathercock House and after our first double that positivity has become even stronger.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 16, 2016
Words:758
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