Regular visitors to Cocklebarrow will recognize the dulcet tones of our presenter, Richard Phillips, raconteur and comedian, whose day job is training racehorses from the picturesque surroundings of Adlestrop, near Stow-on-the-Wold.
And today, if a little later than many of his peers, Richard got his season off the mark, when Irish Point-to-Point winner Lesser followed up that early promise at Ballycastel with an 11l victory at Bangor in the concluding Bumper, a 51st winner for kjockey Daniel Hiskett.
Richard has had a colourful career, during which he's trained over 300 winners. Fior a brief period from the turn of the millenium, he was the preferred choice to train from Jackdaws Castle after David Nicholson's retirement. However, that didn't play out and a more select team now occupies Adlestrop Stables, which has a fine reputation with brilliant horsemen like Mark Todd.
At the other end of the county, a contemporary of Richard also had a winner in the greater limelight of Cheltenham this afternoon. Tom George runs a tight ship from his family farm, which combines Dexter cattle and 80 or so blue bloods in Slad - Laurie Lee country. Tom's ruddy complexion would have you believe he too enjoys the ciders made famous in the eponymous book with heroine Rosie, and for sure, there;'s been enough to take cheer from recently.
ComeonTeddy was the better fancied of two runners in the staying handicap hurdle, and won going away under Sam Twiston-Davies, totting up winner number 13 of the season for the yard that also includes Summerville Boy, Clondaw Castle and Seddon, three stars in the making that have Festival credentials.
Well over 10% of the National Hunt horses in training are now housed within the county, making Gloucestershire a new powerhouse for racing. Thirty years ago, Yorkshire could do no wrong with Dickinsons, Fitzgerald et al carrying all before them. This past few decades has been the opportunity for the South West with the huge poeerhouses of Nicholls, Hobbs and Tizzard. But this relatively small county is now without doubt a market leader in its own right, with a training yard in virtually every village.
Small wonder we can enjoy racing at every level from Point-to-Point to Cheltenham and everything inbetween.