horse racing

Zander Voy’s Blog: Hogmanay in Haddington!

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 24th December

Christmas Eve!!! I loved Christmas time as a kid and that hasn’t changed in the slightest, all my presents were bought and wrapped up about 6 weeks ago. It’s not only the presents that excite me it’s also the Christmas dinner, but thanks to my agent Paul Brierley for putting me on one with 10 stone tomorrow my dinner will be smaller than previously expected….So thanks Paul you’re a star mate! That booking for me was his last as I sent him a Christmas card containing nothing more than a P45! (just to clarify; that was a joke)

I rode out 4 lots this morning before coming down with the worst case of man flu ever and ended up spending the whole afternoon and evening in bed feeling sorry for myself. On plus side though the bedroom is a good distance from the fridge so with an empty stomach tonight I will still be able have all the trimmings tomorrow and do 10 stone Boxing Day…result!!

Tuesday 25th December

I know you are reading this a few days late but Merry Christmas anyway!! As Kelly and I haven’t moved into our new house yet I still live with her parents at their Spigot Lodge Yard in Middleham. So before opening any presents or doing anything Christmasy at all I spent the first couple of hours of the day mucking out, filling water buckets and filling the horses hay racks full of hay, I would like to add I didn’t do that against my will of course but simply to help out.

I woke up 9 stone 11lb this morning so I was more than light enough to have the full dinner without worrying about my weight for tomorrow. I didn’t do too badly on the presents I was given and everyone seemed happy with what I gave them so that was a bit of a relief.

As I have never ridden Pobs Trophy before I got the laptop out in the evening so I could watch a couple of his replays just to try and find the best way to ride him tomorrow before having an early night, Christmas day seems to take more and more out of you each year.

Wednesday 26th December

Boxing Day had arrived and I was on the road early to head down to Market Rasen to ride the Richard Guest trained Pobs Trophy in the first race at 12:25. I was 9st.13 stripped when I got there which wasn’t bad considering I ate my body’s weight in Christmas dinner yesterday. I dropped a couple of pound in the sauna and then I was good to go. Pobs Trophy ideally wants good or better ground so I wasn’t too hopeful considering the ground was heavy – soft in places!! He travelled great and was jumping plenty well enough before taking a crunching fall at the second flight in the back straight (4 from home). Thankfully he got up none the worse and I was just left a little battered and bruised, nothing a hot bath can’t sort out. My helmet wasn’t looking too pretty afterwards and neither was the expression on my face when I was told I had to buy a new one, at £125 a pop you don’t want to be going through too many helmets each season, so far I am on my fourth one this year. However, I guess that is where you want to be spending money, safety first. After the hot bath it was an early bed…Wetherby tomorrow!

Thursday 27th December

I was pleasantly surprised with Wetherby passing this morning’s 8:30 inspection; a great effort from the whole team there!! I had 3 lots before heading off racing where I had 1 ride in the last race. My ride was Oniz Tiptoes who is trained by John Wainwright and was running in the 3 mile 1 furlong handicap hurdle. I rode him last time on his first run of the season and he ran creditably so I was hoping he would run well, my only worry was the bottomless ground. He was never really handling the ground from flag fall, he has won on soft ground in the past but today’s ground was as soft as I have ever ridden on, he also finished the race minus two back shoes so I think that tells a story itself. I spent another night going through the form and watching replays to get prepared for tomorrow as I have 3 rides at Catterick.

Friday 28th of December

I managed to squeeze a couple of lots in first before heading off to the races. On arrival I was told I had a non-runner due to the heavy ground, so was now down to 2 rides, 1 in the first race and 1 in the last race. My first ride was on Copt Hill who is trained by Tracey Waggot, he ran a solid enough race and was still in contention turning in. He just needed the run so will come on and strip fitter for the outing. It was pretty much the exact same story in the last race. I was riding the Andrew Crook trained Sea Cliff in the 3 mile 1 conditional jockeys hurdle, he jumped super and really picked up the bit well to make smooth headway and track the leader down the back straight before tiring going into 2 from home; he will be better suited to a drop back in trip to 2 and a half miles in the future.

With a couple of rides booked tomorrow at Kelso I had another early night, I said a little prayer first though as they are having a 7pm precautionary exception and I think we have had enough abandonment’s this season to last us a lifetime.

Saturday 29th of December 

I was delighted to wake up to the great news that Kelso had avoided the rain they had been forecast last night so racing gets the green light. My first ride was in the first race, so not having time to ride out I fell straight out of bed and into the driver’s seat of the car. I rode Sorcier in the first who is trained in Hawick by Simon Shirley Beaven and is a half-brother to the once fairly useful Natal! He looked a picture in the paddock and if looks are anything to go by odds of 40/1 seemed more than generous. I settled him towards the rear down the inner and he travelled and jumped like a dream. I kicked for home on him going into the second last flight and at first I thought I was going to nick it, he got tired in the final furlong. He just needed the run and his name is worth remembering for future reference.

My second ride was on the Willie Amos trained Julia Too in the final race of the day. Things didn’t go to plan as she got kicked at the start and was withdrawn on veterinary grounds. She was sound and seemed ok afterwards but it’s better to be safe than sorry, horses welfare always comes first!!

Sunday 30th December 

I was in at Mark Johnston’s this morning for 4 lots. Afterwards Kelly and I got ourselves ready to head up to Haddington to bring in the New Year. I didn’t see my family and friends at Christmas so it was nice to see everyone, I am hoping to be racing on New Year’s day so if that’s the case it will be a very quiet one for me, I am looking forward it nonetheless.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!!!!

All comments very much appreciated 🙂

All the best – Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy on Twitter)

5 responses to “Zander Voy’s Blog: Hogmanay in Haddington!”

  1. Another nice post Zander. The ground has been against most of us recently and the rain doesn’t look like easing up so we may have to adjust to it. It will be interesting to see Sorcier out again, perhaps on better ground, as the previous distance might be perfect for him on a sounder surface.
    Anyway, I hope you get the ride tomorrow and your mount gives a good account of himself – I’ll have a wee shilling on him just in case he does !
    All the very best to you and Kelly for the New Year, and I hope you have a great hogmanay tonight.


  2. Remember your helmet is PPE and you should get the cost of it off your tax bill. Good luck at Musselburgh today.

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