Is he a lover or a hater? We find out what champion jockey Nico de Boinville’s thoughts are on Marmite, race day nerves and Might Bites chances for next week’s Gold Cup!
Nico de Boinville’s career was shot into orbit by his victory on Coneygree in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold cup. Since then he’s won the Champion Chase on Sprinter Sacre, the Supreme hurdle, Arkle on Altior and the King George on Might Bite.
This level-headed jockey always seems unflappable on race day, so we picked his brains to find out what keeps him so cool, calm and collected.
How will you start your morning before the Gold Cup?
I get up most mornings at 5.30am go through the form and my rides for the day plus the entries for the next day too. Head into Seven Barrows (Nicky Henderson’s yard) to be pulled out by 7.30am. In one lot I can sit on many horses depending on the week ahead. Then into the office to discuss the day’s runners and the declarations for the next day. It’s all about preparation.
Do you get pre-race nerves?
I have always seemed to deal with pressure in my own way. It can be a solitary existence but the main thing is to keep things simple, to enjoy the process and not just the result. Having a growth mindset over a fixed mindset is helpful but this comes over time.
How are you feeling about Might Bites chances against the competition in the Gold Cup ?
He is exactly where we want him to be right now. At the moment we are not thinking too much about the other horses. It is the Gold Cup – they will all be hard to beat. As long as he gets there in one piece, fit and healthy, we will be happy.
Has being a jockey always been your lifetime ambition?
I have always been involved in horses and being a jockey has always been an ambition of mine, although I didn’t realise until quite late on that I might be able to make a career from it.
What has been your most memorable race?
I have been fortunate to ride many great horses in the game so to single one out would be unfair, although the feeling of riding a grade 1 race at Cheltenham cannot be beaten. I know that when I retire those feelings will not be found again.
If you had to live on a dessert island with one luxury item, what would it be?
A record player with some great Vinyl to keep me company.
Dead or Alive, which racehorse throughout history would you like to have ridden?
Kauto Star, he was my generations Arkle.
Which jockey has been most influential in your career?
When I was younger I loved watching Christophe Soumillon. I was injured last year and went down to Pau in France to visit my friend Felix de Giles. We were all in the weighing room and it took me the whole afternoon to pluck up the courage to introduce myself and get the token selfie!
What do you see yourself doing when you retire?
Retirement is not on the agenda right now
Tell me something we don’t know about you?
Not many people know that Jockeys wear tights under their breeches. I am particular about mine. They are always Royal Blue and my Valet’s are very careful they are on my peg at the start of every day.
Marmite, are you a lover or a hater?
Love marmite but I’m on a gluten free diet and gluten free bread is not for the faint hearted.
So there we have it…a small insight into the world of Nico de Boinville, the jockey who will have us on the edge of our seats come Friday 16th March. GOOD LUCK NICO!!
Image credits: EM19H7 Cheltenham, UK. 15th Apr, 2015. Cheltenham April Meeting Day One. Might Bite (IRE) ridden by Nico de Bonville clears the last to win in The Citipost Novices Hurdle Credit: Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Live News.