Hey, it’s good to be back! My names Zac Baker and I’m 27 years old. I work for Nigel Twiston Davies as an amateur jockey/stable lad/travelling head lad….. or simply put a Jack of all trades (master of none!). I grew up in a small village called Aldbourne just outside of Lambourn, also known as the valley of the racehorse! As the name suggests, racing has been in my family from day one. My father has been a farrier in Lambourn for longer than I’ve been alive and brother George being a successful flat jockey for many years (and a couple thousand winners no less!).
I got into racing properly when Dad went to shoe a horse for Martin Bosley when I was about 12 years old and asked if I'd like to go in and see if I fancied helping out. Long story short I never left until moving to Nigel's when I was 21! Martin and Sarah Bosley kindly bought a horse for me to ride pointing for £50 and she was my first ever ride at the now, no longer, Whitfield point-to-point. That same season I rode my first winner (Penric) at Hackwood Park aged 16 and never looked back. Safe to say a lot has happened since then!
Most of this summer consisted of riding out some really nice flat horses for Richard Hannon and playing golf, lots and lots of golf. It's such a shame I haven’t improved much but I still enjoy it, even if it costs me a fortune in balls! Once the fun in the sun was over August soon came around and I’m straight back to Nigels to get the horses back in and up to speed.
I work for Nigel full-time and am stable amateur jockey for him, and when it comes to pointing I find my own rides. This is great as it allows me to keep my eye in over summer with rides before the pointing season returns, and is a great way to meet pointing trainers and owners! I've been very lucky to be able to look after and ride some nice ones for the governor, mainly winning the Welsh Champion Hurdle on ’The New One’ that will forever be my claim to fame! Apart from that, I’ve got a very promising new horse called ‘I Like To Move It’ who’s taking very well to his races and is currently 3/3 over hurdles; two of those wins are at Cheltenham! Definitely one to keep an eye on in the upcoming season.
I had a few rides for Simon Earl and Adrian Wintle in the summer but no joy, that was until Nigel stuck me on ‘One Forty-Seven’ at Stratford in October and won the feature chase...back with a bang for the boss! I was also lucky enough to partner ’Newest One’ to victory recently at Doncaster in his namesakes famous colours making the success even sweeter!
Anyway I best talk a little about pointing. I’ve not had much joy so far this season; I rode a mare called Cider Drinker for Robert Luke at Ffos Las as my first spin of the season. As the name suggests I may have acquired the ride via a trip to the pub! Sadly no joy as she pulled up four from home. She didn’t do anything wrong just doesn’t have her heart in the game.
Last weekend I made a rather familiar journey to Larkhill for just the one (that never normally is the case!). I rode ‘Chase Me’ for James Ridley and Helen Wood. I’ve ridden him plenty when he was in training at Nigel's and then managed to sell him to James where I then started to ride him pointing with plenty of success! He set off the favourite of 10 runners and in our usual fashion, I tried to make all. Sadly Darren Andrews on Knockaderry Flyer were just too good on the day and won; I ended up 3rd beaten 12 lengths. Not bad for the first one of the season, although I think I blew harder than Chase Me did! Riding him is like running an iron man sometimes, you really have to make his mind up!
I've got some nice horses to ride in the coming weeks. Maurice Linehan has some nice youngsters to go to war with and Claire Hart has a strapping grey gelding that his owner, a top vet called Ben Brain, wants me to ride. A couple of my old sticks are still going too. Green Winter will hopefully have a few runs hunter chasing this season and another favourite, Ballyboker Breeze, will be aimed for his beloved Maisemore to tear up the field again. There's lots more in the pipeline, I think that I may pick up some spares along the way as my unofficial twin brother, Jack Andrews, has turned conditional! I wish him the best of luck, going to miss our banter pointing!
I always hated school and how on earth I am going to keep up with even more blogs I don’t know, but I shall try my best. Looking forward to another season pointing with some new opportunities and the same old fun!