Nick Scholfield closing in on weekend return

Nick Scholfield is on target to return to action this weekend following a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a broken leg.

The multiple Grade One-winning jockey suffered the injury when he was cannoned into by a loose horse as he crossed the finishing line in fourth on Shintori in a handicap chase at Fontwell in November.

After nearly three months out, he is itching to get back in the saddle – particularly given the way Sky Pirate has progressed in his absence for his retained owner Martin Tedham.

“I’m fit and well now and I’m keen to get back on track,” said Scholfield.

“I’d imagine it will be this weekend with a bit of luck. Dr Jerry Hill has given me the green light, so hopefully the weather doesn’t play a part and I can get back going.

“It’s been tough – if you ask my girlfriend I’ve probably been a nightmare – but I’ve had a lot of support and a solid week of riding out at different places.”

Sky Pirate is making rapid and progress and is one to look forward to for Nick Scholfield
Sky Pirate is making rapid and progress and is one to look forward to for Nick Scholfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

In his absence, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Sky Pirate has won handicaps at Cheltenham and Warwick, progressing from a mark of 134 to 152 – meaning his Cheltenham Festival target has likely been adjusted.

“I’m not sure the Grand Annual is the main aim now as he’s up to a mark of 152,” Scholfield told Betfred.

“He’s entered in the Arkle and he’s quite well handicapped over hurdles, so the County is a possibility as well.

“I’d say the Arkle could be his aim. Obviously we’d meet Shishkin who is rated clear of him, but what Sky Pirate has is good handicap form, he’s a really solid jumper and you only get one crack at it as a novice.

“The Grand Annual is still on the table, but off that mark now, he might have left that race behind at Warwick.”

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