We are delighted to be joined by dual code trainer Nikki Evans.
The former Point to Point Jockey set up her racing yard 20 years ago. Nikki and her husband Paul run the yard and have worked very hard to get where they are today. Nikki tells us about growing up, her thoughts on the BHA & which race she would really like to win!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a farmers daughter. I rode in a few Point to Point races & did the normal growing up things with pony’s.. Pony club, Show Jumping, Eventing & Hunting.
I was pretty good at sport in School and I was thinking that I was going to follow running when I left school..
I didn’t have a lot of brains, but was interested in politics and probably would have gone in that direction.
Your parents were trainers, I guess it was natural for you to go into the industry?
As part of a farming family I ended up going to agricultural collage.. I spent a long summer at Josh Gifford’s Yard. I came back to Herefordshire and started weekends at John Edwards,Mum had horses in training there. This was before she got a permit then a full licence to train….
You were a jockey in the 80’s, how would you describe your style and how different it was back then for female riders?
I rode in Point to Point races during that time but we had a lot of very good females riders in those days & they were all in Wales !!
With animal welfare always in the news, what are your thoughts on the foam stick?
We have become very ‘pc’ regarding the ‘stick’. I think a change of name maybe .. The Persuader as I don’t think banning it is going to be the answer.
The BHA say they are putting up entry fees but not prize money, what is your opinion on that?
I think The BHA needs updating & we need more prize money at our level. It’s simple, just cater for the horses you have and not what you think we have!
If I go to Wolves I would love to see full fields and probably not a Ascot horse in sight…
The top end races don’t really need bonuses.
You don’t need 3 races in three weeks for the same type of horse. In my opinion, I would drop one then they have to run against each other and this would lead to better races….
You started training in 2004, how many horses did you start with?
And how many do you have now?
We started training as I’d bought a few horses to run in point to point’s and to sell on but that’s when Foot and Mouth epidemic kicked in and we didn’t have anywhere to race.
So we started with about 7 horses & We try to stick to 15 to run.
Your a duel trainer, you must be on the go all year round, does this keep you very busy?
Until two years ago I’d hardly had any time from here other than the odd 24 hours here and there. This could not work here with out my husband Paul and the hours he puts in. He thinks he’s a unpaid ‘slave’
Your yard facilities are very impressive, do you feel that the facilities aid your horses & give them a different variety of training?
We have spent 20 years getting our place up together and are very lucky to have a large variety. We just need people to spend a little more on their horses !!
If you could win any race which one would it be?
Any race is good to win and the Gold Cup is the dream race that I would like to win
Can you give our readers a couple of horses, one from either code, to keep an eye on in 2020?
My racing club has a home bred called Atlantic Sunshine. She has just come back into work after a bad bout of Colic
We would like to thank Nikki for her time and wish her and the team all the success for the future & we hope your Gold Cup dream comes true.
Interview by Rich Williams
Photos – Nikki Evans(Facebook) & Gold Cup(File)