31 October 2012 Say hello to our next blogger!
The second of our bloggers is a name who will be familiar to many of you in the sport; a regular on course as both a rider and trainer, we're delighted to introduce...
Nick Pearce! Though only 29, Nick is a veteran of the Point-to-Point scene, having been riding winners for over a decade. Sending out his first runner in January 2008, Nick was quick to make an impression as a handler after the mare in question, Jack's Present, duly romped home by 15 lengths at Barbury. Nick's long association with Simon Tindall has yielded over half a century of winners for the pair so far, and this season we'll follow the Crowborough trainer/rider in his search for a few more.
How did you get involved in Point-to-Pointing?
I was taught to ride by Jason Warner, who runs a riding school near to where I was brought up in Gloucester; he has Pointers and was kind enough to get me started on a lovely old lad he trained called January Don. My first ride was two days after my 16th birthday at Upper Sapey and we finished third in the Open. Julian Pritchard won the race on Nether Gobions.
Who is your favourite racehorse of all time (any code) and why?
I struggle to pick between three!
Lady Cricket - so tough and genuine, I have a real love of tough mares.
See More Business - He was a top class horse when I first fell in love with racing.
Denman - warrior of a horse - his Hennessey performance under top weight reduced me to tears screaming at the TV!
Who is the best horse you have trained?
Simonsig is the best by far, his natural ability and class from day one was obvious. From the day I broke him in he was electric, it was hard work restraining myself not to let the handbrake off to soon when we started working him at four. I wish I'd run him at Kingston Blount now as a four-year-old old. He was on the lorry, but I just felt the ground was drying throughout the day and I was put under no pressure to run so I didn't - I'm gutted now as he could have set my training career up for me. I had some good days hunting on him as well, great timber jumper.
Who is the best horse you have ridden?
Royale de Vassy at Cheltenham for Venetia Williams and owners Len Jakeman and Jim Lewis; she has turned out to be an cracking broodmare with some decent offspring running for Nick Williams.
If you could train any horse, who would it be?
Baracouda - I would have put AP McCoy on him sooner and maybe a good few days hunting would have got his head in a better place
If you could ride any horse, who would it be?
Sprinter Sacre, Moscow Flyer, Master Minded, Tingle Creek! Basically, any Grade 1 2m chaser.
Favourite Point-to-Point course?
Godstone and Horseheath.
Julian Pritchard and Alan Hill. Both for riding so many winners, and for having to kill themselves with their weight constantly. Pritch was Champion when I first started and helped me out loads with spare rides and advice. Alan Hill is one hell of a horseman both racing and following on a hunting day; I would have loved to have followed him when he hunted hounds. Still now if I have any problems with the horses be it vet issues or courses to run at etc, he is my first call. Two top men.
What is your idea of a great night out/in?
Out - We have some good balls in the south east, be it hunt balls or something to do with eventing, so a night out at a ball is a good excuse to throw a few shapes and get merry!! In - favourite thing for me is after a soaking wet day riding out or out hunting, coming home and lighting the fire, with a stew or casserole on the slow cooker and nodding off on the sofa with my fiancé Georgie Strang, watching racing replays.
X Factor or Strictly?
X factor by miles!
Nick will be blogging throughout the season, taking us behind the scenes at his East Sussex yard as he bids for winners both as a rider and trainer.