Nick Scholfield

10th April 2015

Spring Heeled ticks all the boxes

Riding a double at Taunton yesterday was a great confidence booster ahead of my two rides at Aintree today and the big one – the Grand National - tomorrow.

I always like going to Taunton and it was nice to win on Vide Cave for Paul Nicholls. He hadn’t got his head in front before so hopefully he’ll win some more. I had another winner  on Chance Encounter for Linda Blackford and fingers crossed he’s come out of the race in good order this morning.

We drove up to Aintree last night and with nothing to ride out today, I’m hoping by the time you’ve read this I will have had a lie in!

In the Betfred Mildmay Novices’ Chase I ride Irish Saint for Paul who is stepping up in trip to three miles. Its an open enough race although his stable mate Saphir De Rheu is the one to beat if he gets a clear round.

In the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle I ride a horse for Harry Fry called Thomas Brown who was fancied at the Festival until the rain came. The going is good which will suit him although with 17 runners it will be a tough race. I expect him to run better than he did at Cheltenham.

Tonight we’ll go out for a bit in town for a nice bit of dinner which is fine as I don’t have any light weights so will more or less be able to eat what I like. Another lie in beckons tomorrow morning and then I will be at the racecourse by noon for the debrief.

The Grand National is a different race to any other and you have to go into with an open mind. There are 42 runners with 42 jockeys on board and after there will be one celebrity, someone will be gutted because they’ve finished second, someone will have been hurt…  It makes you think like that, and with two days this week with no racing I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

I sat on my horse Spring Heeled last week and he’s a really nice sort. He looks in great nick and I am really looking forward to riding him. I’ve watched all his races and he seems straight forward and the nice thing about it is that he does have a realistic chance. You can make cases for a few of them including Balthazar King, Rocky Creek, Unioniste, Shutthefrontdoor, Spring Healed, The Druids Nephew and Oscar Time.

I’ve got a good idea of how the other horses will run and I have plans a, b and c in my head. Spring Heeled can make all or he’s come from out the back so I will ride him where he feels happy.

It will be AP’s last Grand National and Great British Racing have done a terrific job celebrating this by projecting an image of him onto the Liver Building and then generating a Twitter campaign around this. The build up has been fantastic.

I really enjoy Aintree and I must say I am very lucky to have even picked up the ride. You could argue that’s he’s one the best spares to pick up.

After the excitement of Aintree, I will be at Ffos Las on Sunday and Exeter on Tuesday.