This year, it appears that we’re jumping from summer straight into winter, skipping autumn entirely. The long Indian summer that has lit up October with record temperatures is going to plunge into a period of ice, heavy rains and snow. But if the weather is feeling churlish towards autumn, it can’t halt the rising excitement for sportsmen across the country.

Flat racing finished with a bang last Saturday, as Frankel, the greatest racehorse of my lifetime, maintained his unbeaten record at Ascot in sensational style. But, now, racing types turn their attention to jump racing and the long countdown of hopes and broken dreams before Cheltenham next March.

In the fields, there are bounteous amounts of sloes to be picked, and the pheasants and rooks compete for the scraps left by the recent maize harvest. Soon, all will change. In the next week, the first pheasant shoots will take place and the sound of shotguns will ring out across the countryside for the next three months. For the huntsman, the training of this year’s young entry is almost over, with the opening meets taking place across the country around the beginning of November. The countryside is about to enter a new phase, and those who live in it can’t wait.

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