Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Nick Scholfield is a young jockey going places over Jumps and the West Country-based rider, who has already surpassed his previous best tally this season, booted home Melodic Rendezvous for his first ever Grade 1 winner at Sandown on Saturday. We caught up with him afterwards to discuss his season so far…
How did it feel riding your first Grade 1 winner?
Saturday was an amazing experience and having come close in graded races before when I was with Paul Nicholls, it just makes you crave success at the highest level even more. The fact that this was also his trainer Jeremy Scott’s first Grade 1 winner and that I’d been on the Morning Line earlier in the day made the day even more special. It also led to a bit of banter afterwards as me and Sam Twiston-Davies were having a laugh and he’s annoyed that he doesn’t yet have a ‘big race win’ listed under his name on the Racing Post website!
What are the other highlights of your riding career to date?
Being associated with Hunt Ball and the marked improvement he produced last season has to be right up there. His win at the Cheltenham Festival was just a day you’ll never forget and capped a remarkable season.
How is it riding for Hunt Ball’s colourful owner, Anthony Knott?
Oh it’s great – he just fills you with bundles of confidence. He seriously believes that the horse can’t get beaten and that confidence rubs off on you. Plus he’s a good owner to ride for as he just likes to keep things simple when it comes to tactics.
What else are you looking forward to this season?
Well, hopefully going to the Cheltenham Festival with a couple of live chances in the Grade 1 contests there. The main aim for Hunt Ball is the Gold Cup itself and, all being well, he certainly won’t disgrace himself. He took on top company in the Bowl at Aintree last season and he ran respectably there to finish third despite it being his ninth run of the year. If he’s in the same form as at the Festival in 2012, he has to be respected. Melodic Rendezvous will be entered in both the Supreme and the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle and the ground will be a consideration as to which one he goes for. I’ll be happy to ride him in either!
We also have a really exciting bumper horse called Empiracle, who shows us a lot at home and produced that to win at Huntingdon on his debut. We’ve looked after him and the plan now is to head straight to the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. Hopefully he’ll prove to be every bit as good as Melodic Rendezvous.
Did you set out this season with a specific goal?
Every season I always go out to beat my previous personal best tally of winners. Mine was 47 and I managed to hit 50 for this season just before Christmas. Now I just have to keep up the momentum and to try and ride as many winners as possible. To finish in the top 10 in the jockeys’ table would be amazing, never mind the top 5, with all those respected names snapping at your heels! I also hope to improve the quality with the quantity and to ride in even more big races.
How did you celebrate on Saturday night?
I was buzzing but actually nothing spectacular. It was a fairly quiet night and I just went for a meal with my girlfriend to celebrate.
Racing tends to be very much of a 24/7 sport for you in the winter – how do you relax if you get a day off?
Even on a day off, I will be riding out in the morning and will then probably take time to do some form study. Basically it’s just a case of resting up and recharging your batteries before going again!
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