Runners climb the hill at Cheltenham

09th January 2015

Nick Scholfield Blog- Heading into 2015 & The Festival

I’ve really enjoyed 2015 so far. It’s been a good start with five winners and I hope it continues. January is a quiet time generally in the jump racing calendar, especially for my stable. The majority of horses are given their flu jabs and they’ll ease off their work ready to get going again at the end of the season. Paul (Nicholls) is in Barbados having a holiday too so he’ll be as fresh as a daisy and as hungry for winners as ever when he comes back.

The Gold Cup, Ryanair and Queen Mother Champion Chase entries are all out and the interesting will be whether the novices, like Kings Palace and Coneygree, will go for the Gold Cup.

In that race, Silviniaco Conti is the stand out one so far on form although a lot of horses entered won’t have peaked yet and the Irish horses haven’t performed as hoped, but that’s not to say they won’t on the big day.

The ground was quite testing at Wincanton last Saturday but Fletchers Flyer made light work of the conditions and he really impressed me. He galloped his rivals into the ground. He may go for a better race at Haydock in January but it is doubtful whether he will go for the Festival.

Harry Fry is such a good trainer and I have the utmost respect for him. He knows how good Fletchers Flyer is and Cheltenham won’t be a high priority at this stage in his career.

I’ve known Harry for a long time, and lived with him when I first went to Paul’s and he’s the ultimate gentleman. He’s very laid back and takes everything in his stride. He also has a very good tutor in Richard Barber who has trained thousands of point-to-point winners.

Vago Collonges was a nice winner at Taunton in the novices’ hurdle. He has an enormous amount of ability but he’s been a bit too keen for his own good. Paul has tried a few things with him and he settled really well. He won quite cosily in the end.

Sean Bowen, who is based with us and who I often share lifts with to the races, was going great guns and riding full of confidence but he had a nasty fall at the first fence at Catterick yesterday and will be out for a while. It just goes to show what a tough game it is, but he’s only 17 and he’ll be back soon enough.

Jack Sherwood is another very good conditional based with Paul. He’s had a good few winners and is a nice lad.

I’ll be at Kempton or Warwick on Saturday – I’m not sure where yet, and it looks like I will be having a day off on Sunday when I will catch up on sleep.