Nick Scholfield

13th January 2017

The weather has its say and day at the Chiefs

I was at Linfield on Tuesday where the rumour started that Kempton Park will be shutting down. It was such a shock as you don’t expect it of a bigger course. You can understand why smaller tracks are closed, but not a grade one track.

From a professional point of view, I’ve really enjoyed riding there and to me it’s the best track in the country. I have a lot of very good memories. Lets see what happens.

The weather is having its say in the racing but, thankfully, its not looking quite as bad as first forecast which hopefully means that tomorrow’s very good meeting at Warwick goes ahead. I have a couple of very nice rides including Ut Majeur Aulmes for Victor Dartnall. He’s carrying a bit of weight but he’s the best horse in the race and has been running well this season. I’ve also picked up a nice spare in the 3m6f Classic Chase for Venetia Williams on Emperor’s Choice, a former Welsh National winner. It’s lovely to pick up this sort of ride as he has proven stamina and hopefully he will run a big race.

There’s a good card at Plumpton on Monday, on Tuesday its Exeter, Wednesday Newbury and Thursday Wincanton so I should be fairly busy which is great. A few trainers choose January to give their horses there injections and a bit of a breather. It can go quiet for a week or so, but there are still plenty of horses running and racing is being well supported. It actually seems to be busier than usual and I think that’s because we had quicker ground until into November so trainers were waiting to run their horses.

The Timico Gold Cup entries are out and Colin Tizzard has an incredible five entries. Just a handful of years ago, he would never have dreamed he’d be in such a great position. Thistlecrack is the one on everyone’s tongue at the moment and he has still yet to be tested. I’d imagine this will be in the Gold Cup.

It’s sad to read that Coneygree and Don Cossack won’t make the race, two former winner, but looking through the entries there are some terrific horses in there and it’s a proper Gold Cup field.

The Irish and English horses haven’t met this year, there are some older horses, and there are the young guns coming through, but they will all need a bit of luck to get there.

I was riding out yesterday morning and I only had one lot as I had to get to Leicester. As soon as I was done, I had a cup of coffee and jumped in my nice warm car. I couldn’t help thinking to myself fair play to the staff as it such a cold bitter day with torrential, icy cold wind. The horses have to be ridden, so all they can do is get on with it. You have to take your hats off to all the stable staff. It’s a very tough job and I think they should be paid more!

I was looking forward to seeing Exeter Chiefs playing Ulster on Sunday as I was initially having a day off. I am now riding at Fakenham. One of my good friends is the lock Jonny Hill, all 6ft7ins of him! I will catch up on a match soon. They are all such a good bunch of people and love their racing!