Nick Scholfield Blog - 14th November

I was really pleased to hear that Lewis Piper has won Exeter Racecourse’s ambassador role. Lewis’s uncle Graham is a jockeys’ valet and a bit of a legend in racing circles.

One of Lewis’ work placements is with me and he’ll come racing for the day and see what a jockeys’ life is like. He’ll also have work placements with Racenews, David Pipe, course inspector Richard Linley and Racing UK, to name a few. It’s a great initiative and hopefully it will give Lewis a leg up in the industry.

Wednesday’s meeting at Exeter was exceptional in terms of the potential talent on show. It was a day to remember as some serious racing prospects for the future were in action. Paul Nicholls was worried before Ptit Zig’s win that he might not take to chasing but he was superb and is definitely one for the future.

He has some really good hurdle from last year and he is sure to be turning up in some big novices at the end of the year.

Tara Point lived up to expectations and looks like a really talented mare. In the November doom and gloom, as the lights were fading, she really lit up the course and at the moment she very much looks like England’s answer to Ireland’s Annie Power. She is such an exciting prospect.

I was very pleased with the Jeremy Scott-trained Dashaway who finished third in the novices’ hurdle. You’ll see him turning up in 12 to 18 month’s time in top staying chasers. He’s very well bred. He’s still not the finished article and I really like him. He has an excellent attitude and once he grows into himself he’ll be a proper horse.

It was great to ride two winners at Sandown on Saturday with Irish Saint winning the beginners’ chase nicely and Sound Investment easily winning the handicap chase. He carried top weight and beforehand I thought it was a big ask but he duly won. He is such a good jumper and around Sandown that counts for a lot.

When you ride top quality horses around a grade one track, there is no better feeling and I am in a very lucky position that I am given these opportunities. It’s no bad feeling when you ride around Sandown on a good horse, especially over the island fences.

Irving, a horse I think a lot of, took a heavy fall at Wincanton and I was relieved to see him get up and walk away.  It was unfortunate and hopefully he will learn from it, as he needs to improve his jumping if he is going to be champion hurdle contender.

He got up and that’s the main thing, and he’s fine. He got a warm reception at Wincanton where there is always a true racing crowd.

Tomorrow I am not sure where I go yet. There are three meetings – Uttoxeter, Wetherby and Cheltenham. Paul runs Caid De Berlais in the Paddy Power. It’s always a very tough race and it’s hard to pick one out but I think John’s Spirit has a good chance in an open race.

On Sunday I ride Katgary for Paul in the Greatwood Hurdle. He was disappointing at Aintree last time but hopefully he can put that behind. Its unfortunate that Sire De Grugy can’t make it in the Schloer Chase and I feel sorry for the Moore family, but hopefully he will be back soon.

Sunday, November 23 is a date for the diary when the racing Clydesdales return to the track. They’ll be under starters orders at 12.20pm and professional jockeys will be on board. Prior to that, at noon, the racecourse will stage the first ever race for ponies bred on Dartmoor. There’s a £5 discount for all Devon residents, quote RESDEVON. The first of seven races is off at 1.05pm, gates open at 10.30am and there’s a free bus from Exeter St David’s at 11.15am and the Bus and Coach Station 11.30am, returning half an hour after the last race.

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