Nick Scholfield Column: We're under starter's orders again
It's the calm before the storm with the winter jump racing season about to kick off. The higher-profile horses have had their summer breaks and they are starting to wind up.
It's the same with the jockeys and they're eager to get going again and find out what horses have improved over the summer. As a jockey, you are always looking for that special horse.
There are a couple of jockeys I think will do well this season. Matt Griffiths is a very good rider and deserves a chance. Hopefully he'll pick up some rides.
Also Megan Nicholls – I know she has the fame and the associated pressure of being Paul Nicholls' daughter, but she is genuinely a very good rider in her own right and she's also very keen.
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A lot of people say that Tuesday's meeting at Chepstow is the start of the winter jump racing season, but I think it's Exeter next Thursday when things get under way.
After such a long, dry summer I think this year the horses will take a little longer to get going. From my point of view this is a very busy time as there are a lot of yards to get to, to school as many horses as possible.
I will be riding at Fontwell's two-day meeting tomorrow and Saturday and there is a lot of rain forecast so it's a real transition period with the good ground horses still hanging on and the winter ground horses just getting ready.
Last season I had 66 winners from 28 different trainers. I will be riding for a few different ones again, but Jeremy Scott and Kim Bailey will be giving me the majority of my rides.
I rode a lovely horse at Jeremy's the other day who is being put forward for Exeter's 'win a racehorse' prize. He's very nice, and as good as anything he has there. As yet he's unnamed, but he looks a promising prospect.
Jeremy has more quality horses in his yard this year for the bigger race days and hopefully he will take another step forward this season.
Kim is a legend. He knows what it takes to have a good horse and he has the strongest and best team he's had for a very long time.
I'm so fortunate to ride for two very good yards with 50 horses apiece, and I'm lucky that Jeremy and Kim get on very well which means we can work the rides out throughout the season.
It was good to ride Johnny Farrelly's first ever winner under Rules with Sporting Boy winning at Newton Abbot on Monday. Johnny is fanatical about his horses and I'm pretty sure he loves them more than he'd ever love a human. He leaves nothing to chance and is very particular about every aspect of them.
It was unfortunate for Johnny that a bad fall ended his career, but as one door shut, another has opened and I really hope he makes a success of his training career.
Tom Scudamore turned up in a vintage Aston Martin at our recent jockeys' seminar. He climbed out of his car, gave a flick of his back combed hair and proceeded to the seminar like a 60s throwback. And Sam Twiston-Davies says he's been fighting off a multitude of ladies recently. It's hard to keep up with him.
Baby fever is also catching on among the jockeys with AP McCoy and Dominic Elsworth adding to their families. But it'll be a few years yet before I start reproducing!
The new season starts at a gallop at Exeter Racecourse on Thursday, October 10 with the chance to win a share in a racehorse. Everyone who pre-books tickets to attend either meeting in October has a chance of winning a share in a horse in training with leading trainer Jeremy Scott. Tickets must be pre-booked for either October 10 or the second on Tuesday, October 22. The winner will be drawn on October 22 and terms and conditions apply. First race: 2.20pm, children aged 17 and under race free.
A free bus leaves Exeter St David's at 12.40pm and the Bus & Coach Station 12.55pm, returning half an hour after the last race.
Ticket Hotline: 08445 793005
Book online: www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk