Ditcheat, England (CNN)It's lunchtime at Manor Farm Stables and stable star Clan Des Obeaux wants his carrot, and he wants it now.
Cheltenham Festival: A day in the life of Paul Nicholls' racing yard
Tall, dark and handsome, his coat glistening in the unusually warm February sun, the French-bred bay gelding pricks up his ears as Clifford Baker, the head lad, tickles his soft nose and hands him his favorite vegetable.
"He just is special, he's won some big races," Baker told CNN Sport at the yard in Ditcheat, a small village in the rolling hills of Somerset, England. "And you're friendly, aren't you? And you like carrots."
The seven-year-old Clan Des Obeaux, who is partly owned by former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, is one of the standouts of the racing yard owned by Paul Nicholls, the 10-time champion jumps trainer.
With more than 3,000 wins, including four Cheltenham Gold Cup victories and one Grand National, Manor Farm is one of the most successful stables in National Hunt racing.
Green boards with gold lettering adorn each box, listing the achievements of the inhabitants or famous former stars. The stable's biggest names have been 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner See More Business, 2007 and 2009 Gold Cup champion Kauto Star, next door neighbor Denman, who won the showpiece in 2008, and 2012 Grand National winner Neptune Collonges.
Nicholls, a former jumps jockey, began the yard in 1991 with eight horses. The operation now consists of two yards in Ditcheat, where up to 50 staff train and look after 128 racehorses.
As head lad of 23 years, Baker has played a crucial role in its success. He lives next to Manor Farm, and is always the first to arrive and the last to leave.