Nick Scholfield

20th March 2015

Still on cloud nine

Cheltenham is over for another year and it was a superb festival in every sense. For me the training performance of the meeting was Paul Nicholl’s win with Dodging Bullets in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. He didn’t look good enough a year ago and he’s now won three grade one races.

Sam Twiston-Davies takes the riding honours on Aux Ptit Soins in the Coral Cup as he did well to overcome a mistake to win one of the most competitive races at the meeting.

Looking back Vautor and Conygree simply took my breath away. It was amazing to watch two front running performances like that as they have to be very special horses to go that sort of speed and keep it up and it was a privilege to watch them. Douvan is a gorgeous horse and he could well win the Champion Hurdle next year, depending what they do with him.

Its safe to say that Willie Mullins has an incredible team for 2016 but I am sure Paul and Nicky Henderson will have their say.

I am still on cloud nine about riding a winner at Cheltenham as it makes such a difference to your career. It’s the meeting everyone notices and I am grateful for the opportunity.

I didn’t make the after party which is a tradition in the weighing room on Friday evening as I had to ride light at Kempton the next day. But being a party pooper was worth it as I rode a valuable double on Rueben Cotter, the surprise 14-1 winner of the handicap chase, and Art Mauresque landing the two-mile novices’ handicap chase. I was particularly taken with Graham Roach’s Rueben Cotter who won a very competitive race.

I was suspended until yesterday when I was really pleased to ride a winner at Chepstow for Jeremy Scott on Dashaway. He’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot. His jumping has improved, he’s grown up and he’s starting to show a bit of what we thought. He’s hasn’t quite hit the same heights as his full brother Briar Hill, but we can hope!

Saturday is a really busy day for racing. I think I might be at Fontwell where I ride a nice mare for Harry Fry called Desert Queen although I am not entirely sure as there are four meetings on.

On Sunday I am at Wincanton and probably my best one there is Harry’s Farewell for Polly Gundry. I think he’ll appreciate the good ground and could run a good race.

To my mind the new Flat Championship, which cuts off the beginning and end of the season, is an absolute joke. I’ve given up reading about it, as it’s such a load of rubbish. The way to make racing in Great Britain better is to keep the great jockeys in this country for longer. Instead they will be off to Dubai and other countries as soon as they can. I think it is unfair that they’ll get £20,000 for winning a  “sub-championship” and yet AP McCoy who won’t get a penny for winning the jumps championship.

Champions Day at Ascot will never be any good as it’s the wrong time of year and none of the good horses go there and that’s what this championship is all about because that’s the day this new “sub-champion” will be crowned.

That said, I am looking forward to Exeter’s annual family day on Tuesday week, which gives children the perfect introduction to jump racing.