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 8th April
To kick my week off I had a couple of rides up at Kelso today, both were trained by Lucy Normile. I was on the road at 5:30am to go to Mark Johnston’s to ride out a couple of lots. Mikey Ennis drove up last night from Ascot to stay with me and wanted a lift racing along with Joe Colliver. Once my car was loaded up with all our gear I chanced my arm by jumping into the passenger seat and asked Mikey if he fancied taking the lead role behind the wheel, and to my surprise he agreed…..happy days!! Flogarose was running in the 2m 2f conditional jockeys race, she has been very keen in the past so I dropped her in to try and settle her. They went a million and I was flat to the boards from the off, on ground as quick as that she needs to be ridden a little closer to the pace.
Primrose Time was my second ride of the day and was running in the 2m handicap chase. I have a won a couple on her in the past but both wins came on ground much softer than the good ground that was on offer today. She likes to be ridden positively and she jumped from fence to fence and finished a good fourth. She’s very genuine and one of those horses who are straight forward and just a pleasure to ride.
Tuesday 9th April
I was on the road again at half 5 this morning to be in at Mark Johnston’s for first lot at 6. I rode out four lots in Mr Johnston’s before getting back in the car and heading an hour and a half down the A1 to Bawtry to school a couple for Mairi Wilson. When I got out the car I was met by their yard pet; Oats the DUCK!! Most yards in the country have pets floating around the place but they normally come in the form of a dog or a cat. This duck chased me clean out the yard the last time; he certainly keeps you on your toes! Mairi told me that he even kills any mice that trespass across his territory!!
Whilst avoiding Oats like the plague I got on with my schooling duties and both horses jumped like stags. Mairi is hoping to have a few runners now the ground is getting better; Coffee King is the one I’m really looking forward to getting back on. Before going to football tonight James Reveley came over and I offered him a game of FIFA on the PlayStation and he soon regretted agreeing to it, the final score was 13-0 to me!!!
Wednesday 10th April
I was chatting to Dave Crosse a few weeks ago at Southwell and I asked him how his car valeting empire was going. He said that it was booming and told me to give it ago when the racing quietens down to keep me busy in the afternoons when there’s no racing on. Now that time of year has come round where things wind down I was trying to find myself some business amongst the lads who were riding out. I managed to find myself a couple of customers who are prepared to give me the keys to their motors. After riding out four lots I took a drive over to Halfords in Darlington to buy all the gear for valeting. This afternoon I gave my car the once over first for a bit of practice before letting rip on someone else’s. It will be a good a way to keep busy in the afternoons and earn a few quid at the same time.
Thursday 11th April
I rode out four lots at Mark Johnston’s this morning then afterwards I drove over to Patrick Holmes yard to ride out one lot for him as well. My agent rang me this morning to say I may have to make a choice on which horse to ride in the boys race tomorrow at Wetherby. It was between two horses, one trained by Patrick and the other trained by Noel Wilson. The race was due to divide which means they will make two races out of one. I was praying that it would divide in my favour and both horses to be in different races which would mean I could ride them both. I had no such luck and ended up choosing to ride Patrick’s horse, I have ridden a few for him in the past and done plenty riding out for him recently so it seemed the loyal and logical decision. I went out for a run round my usual route in the evening before getting nestled in on the sofa to watch the UEFA Cup game between Tottenham and Basel.
Friday 12th April
As Wetherby isn’t too far away and I wasn’t riding until 2:50 I managed to do full mornings riding out first. Adam Nicol rang me offering me a lift which is very out of character for him, an offer too good to refuse. My ride was Dorlesh Way and was running in the second division of the conditional jockeys novices hurdle.
He has raced lazily in the past so Patrick told me to pop him out and try and make the running on him to liven him up, unfortunately things didn’t quite go as planned! He jumped the second hurdle perfectly well but the horse that was upsides me jumped left and bumped into me in mid-air, causing me to be deposited on the turf and leaving my foot a little bit worse for wear.
The horse that went on to win the race was Jimmie Brown, a horse that I have mentioned in a few previous blogs as one to follow; I hope you all backed him at his huge odds of 66/1. I thought I was having a bad day and then an hour after my little tumble Josh Hamer took a crunching fall and had to be air lifted to hospital. I’m not entirely sure what exactly his injuries are but he was complaining of back pain, fingers crossed it’s not as bad as first thought.
Saturday 13th April
There was no racing for me today so I just went in and rode four lots out in the morning as usual. I planned on going to Bedale Point to Point in the afternoon which is always a great day but when I got back from work and got parked on the couch I was cast for the afternoon. Everyone then kicks on to Northallerton for the after party which is normally a very good night as well but I opted out and gave that a very wide swerve as well. I will be riding out again tomorrow morning and I couldn’t think of anything worse than going into to ride out in the morning sporting the world’s worst hangover. We decided go out for an early dinner so we could get back in time to watch Britain’s got talent, exciting stuff!!
Sunday 14th April
I had no rides today at Market Rasen so after riding out four lots for Mark Johnston in the morning I planned on having a fairly quiet afternoon. That was until I got home when I got told I was going over to Teeside Park to go for a spot of lunch and stroll around the shops for a bit of retail therapy, a women’s dream but a man’s nightmare. Kelly was certainly in her element that’s for sure…….
See you all next week and all comments very much appreciated 🙂
All the best – Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy on Twitter)