Nick Scholfield’s racing blog: the jumps season gets underway and my four to watch

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  • The jumps season is well and truly underway now and it’s all go. It’s a really exciting time of year and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead. I’ve had a couple of winners already, so it’s good to get on track.

    There are a lot of nice young horses at Paul Nicholls’ yard — where I’m second jockey — and I’ve been there a lot schooling and riding out (pictured).

    I’ve also been to Jeremy Scott’s a fair bit and have been racing nearly every day. We don’t get many days off now, and I’m spending most of my life driving around the country — which as I’ve said before is not my favourite part of the job!

    It’s good to have had some rain come too. There are now some bigger fields running as trainers weren’t able to get their horses out much in September as the ground was too hard. But now the racing is coming thick and fast and it’s getting very competitive.

    There was some good racing at Chepstow and Aintree at the weekend. I was up at Aintree and it was great to see Wishfull Thinking roll back the years to take the Old Roan Chase. He’s a classy horse and has done so well the past few seasons. I was pleased with my ride in the race, Rolling Aces. Unfortunately he finished third but I was happy with his run.

    Farewell to the flat

    Although I was at Cheltenham racing, I kept a close eye on the results at Ascot on 18 October. QIPCO British Champions Day is a great initiative to close the Flat season over here.

    This year they were unfortunate with the rain, meaning some non runners, but Noble Mission was a dream result.

    To have Frankel’s half brother winning such an exciting race was brilliant. There’s some excellent prize money there too and it’s great that the day has such support.

    My four to follow

    I’m going to pick out four horses for H&H readers to follow throughout the 2014-15 National Hunt season — two from Jeremy Scott’s and two from Paul Nicholls’.

    It’s just to give you all a bit of interest though — don’t hold it against me if they don’t win!

    They are horses that have impressed me from work so far.

    Boogie in the Barn — a six-year-old trained by Jeremy Scott. He won three times last season and is a nice horse who’ll probably start off hurdling. He’s a buzzy horse, he takes time to get his jumping and galloping together but a summer at grass has done him a world of good and I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes. He used to be quite headstrong but now he’s pretty chilled and he could certainly go well this season.

    Dashaway — another of Jeremy’s. He’s a five-year-old full brother to Briar Hill, who is a good horse trained by Willie Mullins that won six out of eight starts. Dashaway has only run three times and has taken time to develop but he’ll improve a lot I think. He’s a laid-back individual who didn’t quite realise how big his body was last year. He’s an out and out stayer and if he’s half as good as his brother we’ll be happy.

    Ptit Zig — a five-year-old trained by Paul Nicholls. He was a top-class hurdler last season and came fourth to the New One in a Grade One at Aintree as well as winning in Auteuil. He wouldn’t be the flashiest of types but he’s got chaser written all over him. He’s an exciting prospect to go out over fences.

    Great Try — a five-year-old owned by Trevor Hemmings and trained by Paul Nicholls. I came fourth on him at Aintree at the weekend. He’s by Scorpion, who seems to be doing very well as a sire at the moment. He’s a well-balanced, good looking horse who covers the ground exceptionally well. He gave me a really good feel and I think he could be a star for the future.

    Good luck…


    Don’t miss the exclusive H&H interview with Paul Nicholls in next week’s National Hunt special — out Thursday 6 November.

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