NICK SCHOLFIELD: Timely victory at Exeter was extra Special
The winners had been a bit on the lean side recently, with the exception of my win in Ireland last Monday, so it was great to be back in the winners' enclosure at Exeter on Tuesday after Special Account won the handicap steeplechase.
He'd been a bit disappointing over the summer but he's had a break and he went very well on the soft ground.
Jeremy Scott did an excellent job getting him 100 per cent. I won three on him last summer, when it was very wet, but the ground was a bit quick for him this year. My dad rode winners for his owner, Jenny Perry, so it was nice to win for her too.
I'm so pleased that Hunt Ball has returned to England after an unsuccessful stint in America. He's gone to Nicky Henderson's yard, so it is doubtful that I will ride him again, but I owe that horse so much and he is a hero to me. Fingers crossed he'll be back among the winners again as he deserves it.
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Last week's eye catcher, Balder Succes, fell at Cheltenham on Saturday but he was travelling well at the time.
The horse who has most impressed me over the past few days was The New One at Kempton – obvious, I know, but he is phenomenal. It wasn't a true-run race as they crawled until the last mile, but the way he flew that final hurdle was breathtaking and you have to remember that he has beaten a former Champion Hurdle winner in Rock on Ruby.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has said he is the best he has ever trained and that is a strong statement, coming from him. I was sat next to Sam Twiston-Davies before the race and he was very quiet. Afterwards, he couldn't stop talking.
Another horse I like a lot is Sonofvic, who won at Exeter on Tuesday. I won on him the first time he ran at Ascot and he went close to Grands Crus when he ran at Newbury. He was impressive at Exeter, although I'm not sure Kentford Grey Lady ran up to scratch. That said, Sonofvic did nothing wrong.
Richard Hughes riding 200 winners in a Flat season is simply incredible, not least because he struggles to ride below 8st 10lb. To ride that many winners, and it's not just quantity but quality too, is a fantastic achievement.
We are very lucky as we have two exceptional flat jockeys riding against each other at the same time – Richard and Ryan Moore. I'm not sure we will have two such outstanding sportsmen again, and their talents should be savoured.
I watched Champions Day when I got back from Cheltenham as I had recorded it and it was very enjoyable, although it will always be difficult staging it at that time of year. Even so, it was a good spectacle to watch on the telly.
I have a busy few days ahead. Today I'm at Carlisle, tomorrow I ride The Rainbow Hunter for Racing UK presenter Oli Bell at Fakenham, and on Saturday I might be riding in either the Old Roan Chase at Aintree or Chepstow. On Sunday I am at Wincanton. I will also have ridden out for Jeremy Scott, Paul Nicholls and Kim Bailey.
People often comment that a jockey's life is a tough one, but it doesn't feel like that to me and I feel so lucky to be doing what I love.
I'm not actually sure I could do anything else, anyway, although I'm sure the handful of GSCEs I have will come in useful one day!
My day normally starts at 5am and I will go to bed at about 11pm, after I've watched all the day's replays, but the buzz you get from riding out at different yards, sitting on the horses which might one day win big races, is difficult to describe, other than I have absolutely no problem at all getting out of bed in the morning.
It's the adrenaline you get from the highs that keeps you going through the lows.
Exeter's next race meeting is Haldon Gold Cup Day on Tuesday, November 5. It's when Haldon Hill is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of some of the country's very best racehorses vying to add their name to the BetVictor Haldon Gold Cup's prestigious role call. First race: 1.50pm. Children aged 17 and under race free. Tickets cost from £13 (if booked in advance). A free bus leaves Exeter St David's at 12.10pm and the bus and coach station 12.25pm, returning half an hour after the last race.
Exeter's annual student race day is on Wednedsay, November 13 with free entry to anyone with a valid student card. First race: 1.40pm. Children aged 17 and under race free. Tickets cost from £13 (if booked in advance). A free bus leaves Exeter St David's at 12.00pm and the bus and coach station 12.15pm, returning half an hour after the last race. Ticket hot-line: 08445 793005. Restaurant/corporate: 01392 832599.