AMATEURS RULE AT AYR!!
What a difference a day makes! 18 year old amateur Nick Scholfield partnered BORDER CASTLE to take the £100,000 Scottish Champion Hurdle on an outside ride for trainer Andy Haynes. Allowing his mount to lead the field at the fourth-last, he stole two or three lengths on his rivals rounding the home turn before being joined two out by his guv’nor Paul Nicholl’s Takeroc and Ruby Walsh. The pair jumped the last two flights together, but Nick was able to gallop away to the line to notch the biggest win of his career to date.
After the race, Nick said: “He is a real gutsy horse – I hit the front a bit too soon, but when Ruby’s come to me he has gone again.” Still reeling from a 10-day ban handed to him the previous evening at Taunton for hitting the front too soon and subsequently getting beat, Nick added: “I needed that – you learn from your mistakes, hopefully. Last night was probably the worst moment of my career. I won’t be in Mr Nicholls’s good books will I?”
Only 40 minutes later, another amateur jockey took centre stage in another outside ride when IRIS DE BALME produced an extraordinary performance to land the £190,000 Coral Scottish Grand National under Charlie Huxley. Racing from almost two stone out of the handicap, the Sean Curran-trained Iris de Balme was almost running away with Charlie at the last as he drew away from his guv’nor Alan King’s gallant top-weight Halcon Genelardais to win by 14 lengths.Charlie said: “To be fair, the horse has jumped me into the race. I saw Choc come off the bridle (on Halcon Genelardais) and I thought it was time to kick on. He’s a class horse, a class jumper – absolutely super. This is the best day’s racing of my life.”
20 year old Charlie won last year’s Bollinger Gentlemen’s Flat Series as well as another of this year’s jumping marathons, the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, and has also enjoyed success point-to-pointing in the past. His decision to concentrate on rides under Rules this year in order to further his career is obviously paying off. Many congratulations to both lads, whose wins were at odds of 40-1 and the biggest odds in the Scottish Grand National’s history, 66-1!