The countdown to Cheltenham with Zoe Moore-Williams
Ahead of one of the most exciting weeks in the year for National Hunt racing, we caught up with the lovely Zoe Moore-Williams. Zoe is a racing groom at Philip Hobbs Racing and shares some behind the scenes insight on this final countdown. Plus, she has a special message for racing grooms on the road to Cheltenham this year…
A magic four days
‘On this quiet Sunday I find myself engrossed in Festival previews, numerous blogs and plenty of Twittering! It’s less than 48 hours before the start of the most magical four days in National Hunt racing and the excitement is overwhelming.
For stable staff, this week is so important, there is a real buzz around the yard and the attention to detail is second to none. We have a good number of horses being prepped for this year’s Festival, and a couple of them have very nice chances.
Thyme Hill (pictured above – near side) is currently favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. I caught up with Ella who rides him out every day;
“Riding a Cheltenham horse is a wonderful experience and I am very grateful to Johnson (Assistant Trainer) for giving me the opportunity. Preparing him for Cheltenham is a very big thing and there is quite a lot of pressure.
Thyme Hill is a very relaxed horse who is always wanting to please. He takes everything in his stride so this should play to his advantage on the big day.”
I know that Leigh who looks after him has also put a lot of work into making sure he is looking and feeling his very best. She is always back early in the afternoons to give him an extra brush over to ensure his coat is gleaming. It’s these little things that really prove how much we all care about the horses we look after.
Obviously I can’t write this blog without mentioning the wonderful Defi Du Seuil (pictured above – far side). What an incredible horse he has been for the team and we’re hoping he can continue his winning ways in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday. It won’t be an easy task for him taking on Altior and Chacun Pour Soi but he has such a big heart and really loves Cheltenham.
I know the whole team at home have been working tirelessly over the last few weeks to keep all of the horses in the very best form possible. They really are all a credit to their grooms and riders.
On a final note I would like to wish all the Racing Grooms attending Cheltenham this week the very best of luck. Enjoy every moment… win, lose or draw. It’s truly the most magical week to be a part of and it wouldn’t happen without you all!’
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We hope everyone has a fantastic festival experience. If you’re attending on Wednesday with your Jockey Club pass, you’re in for a real treat watching Defi Du Seuil line up in Queen Mother Champion Chase!