This week we're chatting to enthusiastic pointing jockey Scott Malson. Scott had his best season to date last season scoring multiple titles! Alongside his fiancé Jodie, Scott has an exciting pointing future and says he owes it all to those that started him off in the sport.
How are you involved in pointing?
I’m a jockey and my fiancé, Jodie Hughes, and I also have one each to train at home; although, to be honest, I just do as I’m told! I can’t take any credit really as Jodie does absolutely everything with the horses. I also ride out at Wyn Morris' yard a few days a week.
What is your favourite aspect of pointing?
It’s got to be the pointing people. I admire them all. Giving up their free time to make a point-to-point happen; from the fence builders to the jockeys. Without any of these, our sport wouldn’t happen.
How did you get into pointing?
I didn’t really get on with school, it just wasn’t my place to be. I have a family friend who taught me to ride as a young lad and I found solace on the back of a horse. Then he introduced me to a racing yard where I fell in love with the game. I was told I had to have something to fall back on in case I didn't make it as a jockey, so I went on to complete an apprenticeship as a carpenter, whilst riding out at places. When I was 26 I saw a job advert for a novice rider position at Pauline and Doug Harkin's. The position was filled, but they still agreed to interview me. I managed to get the job so I up and left Wales and moved to Banbury. Pauline and Doug would spend a small fortune bringing on novice riders over the years. We would have schooling sessions with Yogi Breisner and have ex-jockeys come in and help us. We wouldn’t just turn into jockeys, they would teach us how to become proper horsemen. Everything I’ve achieved in point-to-pointing to date is down to these selfless people and they will always hold a special place in my heart.
What is your day job?
I’m very lucky as I’m a carpenter who works on my father-in-law's holiday park. He absolutely loves pointing and has always had pointers, so he’s very lenient with me and I can go and ride out a few days a week at Wyn's and have days off to go racing.
What's been the biggest lesson in your working life?
Keep kicking no matter what. What you put in is what you get out.
How would you describe pointing to someone that hasn’t been before?
Pack your wellies and sunglasses, you never know how the weather will be! You'll witness a few brave souls riding horses over some jumps in a farmer's field, but be ready to leave there wanting to be a jockey or buying yourself a racehorse.
What’s your pointing highlight?
It’s got to be winning the hunt race at Lydstep. We call it the Creselly Gold Cup. My father-in-law (Graham Hughes) owned the horse, Jodie trained it and I rode it. It was such a special day. One which will never be beaten.
Who's a figure in racing you admire?
Sounds a bit cliche but it has to be my partner Jodie Hughes. She is literally as tough as they come! Racking up 92 wins and scoring endless Welsh Ladies Championships; the most competitive person you’ll meet, but the nicest in the changing room. Now training horses for me to win on and basically jockey coaching me.
If you could change one thing in pointing, what would it be?
I’d like to see the two days declaration which was introduced during covid make a comeback. I think it was a good idea and everyone knew where they were going beforehand.
Where’s your favourite point-to-point & why?
It’s got to be Lydstep, particularly the Easter Monday meeting. It’s absolutely packed and is only 10 minutes away. Quite a blessing when you live this far west.
What’s your earliest pointing memory?
Would have to be watching a point-to-point at Garnons where the likes of Julian Pritchard, Dave Mansell and Adrian Wintle would have been riding.
What do you think lies for the future of pointing?
I think it looks bright. There have been a lot fewer horses this year in the Welsh area, but this has made the racing more exciting. Hopefully, some of the owners that had horses pre-covid will get themselves another for next year and get involved. We also need to get behind and support our local hunts. If they go, then our sport won’t be long behind.
What's your favourite aspect of training pointers?
Bringing them home after racing safe and sound.
Tell us about your numerous achievements this season including winning the Welsh Novice Jockey Championship!
This year I managed to win the Wales Novice Title, West Wales Novice Title, West Wales Men's Title, and tied for the Sport of Kings Trophy. There was a lot of silverware brought home!
If you could ride any point-to-pointer in the country, who would you choose & why?
It would have to be a horse called Azzurri trained by Nick Pearce. He came down to Banwen and raided the Ladies' race; he looks a savage spin.
Any hobbies outside of horses?
I love triathlons. I have a few lined up for the summer. It’s good to keep my weight down and keep sane until pointing comes back around.
Thanks so much Scott, it was great to hear all about how you got into racing and your numerous achievements scored this season! Enjoy your busy summer of triathlons and see you next season!