Me, Myself and Horseracing…
Before I start I would just like to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me.
I am a 22 year old conditional jockey living in Middleham (North Yorkshire). I’m originally from a small town called Haddington which is only a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh. Horseracing is my passion and I consider myself very fortunate to make a living from a sport I love.
I hope my weekly column can be of interest and give you an insight if my day to day life, on and off the course! No doubt there will be a few laughs along the way…..
Monday 19th November
Last week ended up being a rather quite one as far as race riding was concerned and it’s not looking like this week will be an awful lot busier. After riding out and as soon as I stepped through the door I was straight onto the computer to get a look at entries that had just come out for later on in the week. Halfway through looking at the Haydock card I spotted my good old friend Garleton had an entry in the 3 mile chase on Saturday’s Betfair Chase day which put a smile on my face straight away, however the smile only lasted a second or two as Lie Forrit also had been given an entry in the same race! Had it of been any other horse it would of been a no-brainer for me to choose Garleton as I have already won 6 on him but under the circumstances and my promise to Campbell’s family and Willie Amos to ride there horse this is not an ideal situation to be in. It just seems typical and unlucky that the two of the best horses I am associated with have been entered in the exact same race, either way a decision has to be made one way or another but I will have to leave it in the lap of the gods till a later date before committing myself one or the other.
In the evening Myself and Kelly’s father Karl headed over to Catterick Leisure Centre to meet a few of the other lads, including RUK presenter Niall Hannity, for a good old game of 5-a-side indoor football. I was always a keen footballer growing up and even got picked to play for my county East Lothian when I was a teenager, I was never big enough or fast enough to go professional and my heart was always in horse racing anyway so I love going for a kick about with the lads every so often.
Tuesday 20th November
It was a fairly bleak morning for riding out, it’s the best job in the world most of the time but when the rain is coming at you thick and fast it can become the worst job pretty quickly. When your on the back of a horse there’s nowhere to hide and you can’t help but get soaked from every possible angle. After riding out my agent rang me to let me know what had been declared for me to ride tomorrow, he told me I had 2 rides for Willie Amos and that one of them had to carry 10 stone. I can do 10st without too much hassle or sweating so that wasn’t going to be an issue and I was more than happy to have a couple of rides to look forward to.
It was this afternoon that Brendan Powell jnr. made the mistake of jumping the fence in front of the stands at Fakenham rather than going around it to win the race. A mistake that is very easy to make considering there were no arrows on the fence to doll it off or anything. I know it’s the jockey’s job to know the course as well as the next person but surely prevention is better than cure and Fakenham should take note and put something in place to prevent this from happening again.
Later that afternoon Nathan Moscrop and myself headed over to Leyburn for a session in the gym, I couldn’t do too much as I was still suffering a little from last night’s football with a few aches and pains.
Wednesday 21st November
As I was riding at Hexham I decided to go and ride out for Tracey Waggot as her stables are pretty much on route. Tracey only has a few but she seems to do a good job with what she has so I thought it would be a good idea to go and show face.
The ground at Hexham was absolutely bottomless and neither two of my rides went on it. Brieryhill Boy ran well until hitting the hill and he struggled climb it for a second time. It was pretty much deja-vu an hour later with Lochore , he travelled and jumped very well and I was bang in the money at the bottom of the hill but unfortunately by the time I was at the top I was pretty much trotting so I pulled him up and saved him for another day. He is a very different horse on better ground so I certainly wouldn’t be writing him off just yet.
No winners today but at least we left the races in one piece and we all live to fight another day.
Thursday 22nd November
This rain we have been getting this week isn’t half making a negative impact on jump racing all over the country. Hereford and Wincanton were both abandoned this afternoon, I wasn’t supposed to be riding at either so it didn’t particularly have much effect on me but I am hoping to ride at Haydock on Saturday and we all know that Haydock can get very soft very quickly. I spoke to my agent today and he said that if for whatever reason I don’t end up going to Haydock I can go to Ascot and get reunited with Micro Mission who is owned by sponsor Dave Armstrong and trained by Chris Grant. It was music to my ears hearing that as I thought I was not going to get back on her for a while or perhaps even never again. She is a filly I have a lot of time for and definitely one of my favourites, I think that if she progresses and builds on the good form she has shown in the past then there may be a big race in her. I have a lot of faith in Micro Mission and if I do end up at Ascot on Saturday I will be be very grateful to Mr Armstrong for giving me the ride back.
This evening I decided to get the chef’s hat on and cook Kelly and Mrs Burke a speciality dish that I learned from my stepdad Gary back when I was a child; the dish being Thai Toast! I can’t quite cook it as well as he can but I gave it a good shot and thankfully none of us ended up with food poisoning that would not have been a good way to impress my future mother-in-law!
*Note from Ben: Maybe you can provide us with the recipe next week? Open up the Blog to a whole world of new readers?! Zander’s dishes…
Friday 23rd November
I was in at Mark Johnston’s yard this morning for 3 lots. At 10 o’clock my agent rang me to tell Garleton wasn’t getting declared tomorrow at Haydock which was a bit of a bonus as it meant I didn’t have to choose between him and Lie Forrit and that I wouldn’t have to let anyone down. Mircro Mission also never got declared to run down at Ascot, so with Lie Forrit the only one getting declared it meant I wasn’t missing anything at all which was a bit of a plus. I was told, however, that Lie Forrit may get withdrawn tomorrow on the basis that the ground may not be suitable and that The Rehearsal Chase the following Saturday at Newcastle was another option worth serious consideration. He is not the sort of horse you can just run on any ground, the decision will be left up to Willie Amos and I will just prepare for tomorrows race as if he’s taking his chance until told otherwise. With a big ride booked for tomorrow an early night was on the cards.
Saturday 24th November
I rode out 2 lots this morning before jumping into the car and heading across country to Haydock as Lie Forrit was definitely taking his chance. It looked a competitive race on paper with a couple of seemingly well handicapped horses lining up. I wanted to jump off in the middle somewhere without going too far wide but I was last into the pre-race enclosure so I wasn’t able to get the original position I had planned to. From the word go Lie Forrit didn’t travel and he jumped very carefully. He stayed on all the way up the straight the final time and ended up finishing midfield. I think that the next time he runs if they race him close up to the pace in the first two or three you will see a very different horse.
In the evening I got suited and booted as Kelly and myself went to the Amateur Jockeys Ball at the Scotch Corner hotel. Quite a lot of the jump lads where there and we all had great night, I even managed to win a prize in the raffle so at least I won something today!
Sunday 25th November
I gave riding out a miss this morning, not because I was out on the tiles last night but because I was asked earlier in the week by Fearghal Davis to go over to Malton and play football. I was playing for David Omeara’s team and our opponents were Brian Ellison’s lot. Unfortunately luck was not on our side and I was on the losing team but it was a great game and well worth the drive over. Afterwards Kelly and Myself went for dinner with Fearghal Davis and his other half Becci. I made sure it was me who forgot my wallet this time so Fearghal had no option but to foot the bill!!
Thank you very much everyone and I’ll see you all next week.
All comments very much appreciated 🙂
All the best – Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy on Twitter)