With the weather once again getting in the way of Monday’s jumps action, Paul Ferguson hands out a couple of ‘Fergie’ Awards for the past year
If the frost persists, as the week goes on I’ll take a look at the horses I’m most looking forward to seeing in 2011.
Trainer Of The Year – Nick Williams
I have always been a huge fan of trainer Nick Williams, who often attributes his successes to the integral part played by his wife Jane, and he has a magnificent record with his small, but select, string.
Williams ironed out Diamond Harry’s jumping issues to impressively land the Hennessy last month, whilst this time last year he saddled Me Voici and Reve De Sivola to win Grade 1’s on back-to-back days and the latter scored again at the top level at Punchestown in April.
Make no mistake, Williams is as shrewd as they come, a point proven when he saddled Diamond Harry to win a valuable Newbury bumper on debut in March 2007 and then saved him for the very same race 12 months later.
Jockey On The Up – Paul Townend
Second jockey, behind Ruby Walsh, to Willie Mullins, young Paul Townend rode Hurricane Fly (who he rides out everyday at home) and Mikael D’Haguenet to win three Grade 1’s in the winter of 2008, but he really announced himself to the wider audience at the Punchestown Festival in April.
Standing in for the injured Ruby Walsh, he rode four Grade 1 winners at the meeting and seemed to relish being thrown in to the limelight of such a prestigious meeting.
He recently rode Zaidpour and Hurricane Fly to land the Royal Bond and the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse and he is a jockey capable of going right to the top.
It will be interesting to see if any of the top English trainers come looking for his services when the spring festivals arrive and Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls, has already used him on a couple of occasions. He is certainly a jockey to follow closely.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2010-11 is available hot off the press from the 1st October for just £9.99
Send a cheque payable to “The Racing Insider” to The Racing Insider, PO Box 98, Liverpool L9 1WY. Please include a note of your name and address and telephone number or email address.
Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase