Many of our horses enjoyed a nice long holiday out in the fields surrounding the yard and they all came back in looking great with plenty having strengthened up nicely over the summer, putting on a good bit of condition in the process. We are very fortunate to have some great turn out paddocks available to us and it's very important that the horses really benefit from their summer break as it will be a long and hopefully fruitful season ahead.
Despite a good number of them being on their holidays, most of the boxes were still occupied and we've had plenty of runners throughout the warmer months. We've made a very pleasing start with 25 jumps winners already under the belt and that sets an encouraging foundation to now build on as we try and improve on last year which was a brilliant achievement, breaking the 100 winners barrier for the first time, finishing with a total of 108 winners over jumps. Our constant goal is to keep improving the quality as well as the quantity of winners and with such a diverse range of horses in the yard, we are very hopeful that another successful season lies ahead. It's not all just about our jumpers though, as we are very much a dual purpose yard. We are very proud of the vast array of horses under our care here at Conkwell Grange and it was a testament to the versatility of the yard when we had a two year old winner over five furlongs earlier this month at our local course.
I have a great team behind me here at home as well as on the track, where Noel Fehily remains our number one, with Tom Scudamore regularly riding for us too. We very much try to use the best available, or the riders we think will best suit individual horses and we are fortunate to have a talented team of younger lads that work for us full time. Harry Reed and Phillip Donovan are our conditional jockeys, both claiming a valuable 7lbs which we hope to put to good use throughout the season ahead, while James King, last year's champion amateur and winner of the Foxhunters Chase at Aintree, continues as the yard's amateur jockey. With several of our staff from last season staying on, as well as a good mix of new faces filled with enthusiasm, we are grateful to have a strong backbone to the operation for the winter months ahead.
Thanks to the loyal support from our owners, we have our biggest and strongest team of horses to go to war with to date, with an really good mix of older handicappers, exciting novice chasers and hurdlers as well as a few promising youngsters who we have high hopes for too. With plenty of new faces behind the stable doors as well as all the old favourites, I couldn't be happier with the way things are looking at the moment. The horses have continued in good heart throughout early autumn and this is always the best time of the season in respect to our jumpers, as all our hopes and dreams are still alive at this early stage. If we can keep our horses sound and healthy, we should have plenty to look forward to over the coming months.