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 31st December
New Year’s Eve!!! Because I was up in Haddington this morning I thought it would be a good idea to head up to Glenfarg (Perthshire) and ride out a couple of lots for my old boss Lucy Normile. They have done really well up there and have a fair few horses in so hopefully I can get them a few more winners in 2013. I was declared this morning on the Patrick Holmes trained Coax who is in at Musselburgh tomorrow. With that in mind I had a fairly quiet “Auld Years Night”. We brought the bells in at Haddington’s Corn Exchange where there were a couple of quite good local bands playing. It was great to spend the New Year with my mum and step-dad Gary.
2012 has not really been that great a year, I don’t want to sound all gloom as there has been many good days, but it has brought enough sadness and disappointment to last a lifetime. Hopefully 2013 will be a better year!!
Tuesday 1st January
Happy New Year!!
With Musselburgh only 5 minutes along the road from Haddington I managed to watch the first few races in the house before heading off racing. It was absolutely packed and it was really good to see so many old faces from my childhood there. There was some good prize money on offer today and as a result the racing was very competitive indeed. Coax was running in the final race of the day. I rode him the last day around Catterick over 2 mile 3 furlongs and he didn’t quite get home so tomorrows drop back in trip to 2 miles should suit. I dropped him in down the inner to save as ground as I could and to help him stay the trip, he travelled and jumped great but was just one paced when we turned into the home straight, he did manage to pass a few up the run in to finish midfield. The ground was very tacky and he didn’t handle it at all, he will win a race at a lower grade on a sounder surface.
Wednesday 2nd January
With no racing today and no riding out either I had a very quiet much appreciated day off. I hung around long enough to get watered and fed before loading up the car and heading back down the A1 to Middleham, I actually think that I could drive that road with my eyes shut I’ve done it that many times. I had some quite important things to attend to when I got home, i.e catching up on some Fifa and Call Of Duty that I have missed over the last few days. Back to work tomorrow!!
Thursday 3rd January
I went into Mark Johnston’s this morning for four lots. It was good to get back into the swing of things after a couple of days off. I think it will be a quiet few days ahead as Newcastle on Saturday is looking very doubtful, they are heavy-waterlogged in places and the forecast would have to brighten up considerably for it have any sort of chance at all. The start of January is always quiet but it does pick up quickly and get pretty busy the more the month goes on. The number of entries are not really that great at the minute but there has been a considerable boost in prize money on offer this year so hopefully that can encourage a few more runners, more runners = more spare rides. I have managed not to put any weight on over the festive period but with a quiet few days ahead and to keep nice and light I went off for a run around Middleham moor in the afternoon.
Friday 4th January
I thought I had managed to shake off the man flu that I came down with on Christmas Eve, but it came back this morning with a bang. I am not the best at getting out of bed in the mornings anyway, never mind getting up when I felt like I’ve just gone the full 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. Nonetheless I went in for four lots at Mark Johnston’s which took me until around 1 O’clock, I then drove over to Andy Crooks for a couple of lots afterwards. Andy’s health took a bit of a nosedive recently, so with him being very much hands on and hard working his absence is felt throughout their yard. I had nothing planned for the afternoon so I thought it would be nice to go in and offer a helping hand. Thankfully Andy is recovering well and getting that little bit better every day; get well soon Andy!!
Saturday 5th January
I felt awful again this morning, I had put myself down yesterday for four lots today so not wanting to let anyone down I went in and rode out. I gradually got worse and by the time I had rode my third lot I was struggling, I got sent home in the end. A warm shower then straight to bed, I slept all the way through to tea time. When I woke up Kelly’s mum Elaine had been into town and bought what looked like half the chemist for me, I got well looked after.
When I sat down to dinner I got a private message on Facebook from a lad called Mark Boylan. He is the person who wrote the Cheltenham Festival song about the great Kauto Star last year. He said he is planning on writing another song for this year’s festival, not about a horse this time but about good friend of mine, the late Campbell Gillies. I thought that would be a great idea and I know Campbell would be very touched. He loved Mark Boylan’s Kauto Star song, I know this because I had to sit through it on repeat for hours on end whenever Campbell drove racing! Having Mark do one for Campbell would be extra special. He just wanted me to let him know a few things about Campbell to help him put a song together; I’m really looking forward to hearing it.
Sunday 6th January
As a result of getting drugged up to the eyeballs yesterday I felt better this morning, thank God!!! Not quite 100% but well enough to get the riding out gear on and go and ride out four lots. With Black Beauty on the television in the afternoon and with three women in the house I had no choice but to sit and watch it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house afterword’s (myself included)!!
It’s been quite a quiet start to the New Year having only ridden on New Year’s day itself, but already next week seems to have more to offer with the likes of Doncaster, Sedgefield and Catterick all set to stage meetings, fingers crossed I can find myself a winner and get the ball rolling for 2013!!
See you all next week and all comments very much appreciated 🙂
All the best – Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy on Twitter)