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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Nico de Boinville and Paul Hanagan on why their code is best

Jumps versus Flat: Nico de Boinville and Paul Hanagan
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Why the jumps is best: Nico de Boinville

The great thing about jump racing is that anyone can get involved – it's very inclusive. People with not a great deal of money can buy a horse and mix it with the big boys whereas you'd be struggling to do that on the Flat with the moneyed elite.

Jump racing is very much about the grassroots, involving people from all walks of life. I came through point-to-pointing, for example, and I was riding for people then that I could be riding for now; it's a great link running all the way through the sport. That goes all the way through to something like the Cheltenham Festival – and everyone has an opinion about that, as highlighted by how popular all these preview evenings are.

Nico de Boinville celebrates winning the Champion Chase on Sprinter Sacre
I'm not sure the Flat has anything to compare, and as a jockey the atmosphere is fantastic. You feel as if the crowd are right on top of you as well; that's where you want to be riding, and it's where owners and trainers want to have runners. On the Flat you do feel as if the general public are just kept at arm's lengths a bit. I did ride a bit as an amateur on the Flat but jump racing always attracted me. I was too heavy anyway.

Why the Flat is best: Paul Hanagan

I started off at Malcolm Jefferson's yard and I was leading up jumpers there so I do love the jumps but thankfully my weight stayed light – I'm quite happy watching the Grand National on my sofa rather than riding in it.

The one thing that springs to mind about the Flat are the young horses, the two-year-olds coming through now. You're sat on them from an early stage and you see them progress – I love that.

It is fantastic to see them progress and get to the first day of school on the racetrack; the dream's alive at that stage and they really could be anything. It's exciting to see how they're gonna behave and take it all in – you never know how they're going to end up.

We're talking about proper babies here – I just really like having to educate them at home to get them ready for the races, trying to look after them. I understand how young they are – I've got two kids at home and it's the same thing. You've got to look after them, teach them to do the right things. That's what I enjoy most.

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