horse racing

Zander Voy’s Blog: Real men wear pinnies…

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 28th January

I had 4 lots to ride out this morning which took me to about 1 O’clock when I got home I got straight onto the internet to take a look at the entries for the week ahead. Newcastle are holding an inspection tomorrow for their card on Wednesday and it is looking pretty doubtful, however Catterick, Wetherby and Musselburgh all seem to be more optimistic than pessimistic at the moment. With everything that’s been going on the past month or so I haven’t seen a gym or been for a run in what feels like an eternity, think I better get on a fitness kick this week before I race ride again or legs will probably go from underneath me with a circuit to go. I was saddened to see my good old friend Garleton has an entry at Doncaster sales tomorrow, I have won 6 races on him and he has given me some great days racing, including a great spin in last year’s Scottish National where we finished a not so shabby 6th. We also hold the track records at both Wetherby and Bangor for 3 mile chases! It is a sad thought to think that I may never to get to ride him again, he’s the best horse I have ridden to date by a long way and the job would be easy if only a few more like him were around.

Tuesday 29th January

I went into Karl and Elaine Burkes yard this morning for four lots. They have some very nice horses again this year, especially some very eye catching two year olds to go to war with when the season gets going. Tomorrow’s meeting at Newcastle was abandoned this morning due to waterlogging; they were under ten inches of snow only a few days ago so with a quick thaw it gave them no chance of racing at all. Hopefully that is the last of the snow now and gives us a chance to get going and pick up a bit of momentum again. I got myself back into the gym this afternoon for a bit of boxing training to blow away the cobwebs and get back into shape, its hard work but well worth it in the end!!

Wednesday 30th January

I woke up this morning to the sound of our puppy Darcy yelping and howling like there’s now tomorrow. For something so tiny, by god she’s got a fair pair of lungs on her. I’d say she may possibly be loud enough to wake the whole street, no alarm clock needed. The sky above wasn’t exactly looking very positive so the waterproofs got yet another day out. By the time third lot came around so did an almighty hail and sleet storm and we all got caught right in the heart of it, not very pleasant riding conditions at all. I had another lot at Mark Johnston’s then headed over to Andrew Crooks yard to a ride a 5th lot of the day. Andy has a few nice horses in the yard ready for a day’s racing but is in the same boat as everyone else and can’t run them till the better ground comes, a change of weather needed!!!! I’m a big Arsenal fan so I got parked up on the sofa this evening to watch the match against Liverpool which ended up 2-2, not so bad considering Arsenal were 2-0 down.

Thursday 31st January

Tax bill day!!!  It’s that time of January when the tax man comes and takes all my money without even saying thank you. After riding out this morning I had to raid the savings account this afternoon and fork out whatever I was due to Mr tax man, it breaks my heart pressing that ‘confirm payment’ button, we all have to do it twice a year but it never gets any easier. Least that’s it done for another six months. Better get saving again. I packed a gym bag this morning before going off to work so I could stop off and have a bit of a workout  on the way home. One of Kelly’s friends came over this evening so I had the role of being head chef, I love doing a bit of cooking so that wasn’t a problem at all. Kelly’s father Karl bought me a pinny that looks like a kilt outfit for Christmas which I take great pride in wearing in and around the kitchen, especially on Rabbie Burns night when haggis neeps and tatties are on the menu! The girls even left me the delightful job of washing all the dishes as well, that wasn’t on the script! It’s clear who wears the trousers in my relationship isn’t it!

Friday 1st February

As it was work morning for the horses I went into Karl and Elaine Burkes. The horses are really gearing up now for the season ahead. It’s hard to believe the first turf meeting of the year is next month. Next stop after Karl’s was Andrew Crooks where I rode out a couple of lots in the early afternoon. With the weather picking up a bit now Andy has made 1 or 2 entries for next week including Jimmy Brown who I have been looking forward to riding for a while now but every time he has been entered the meetings got abandoned. After 6 lots I was more than ready to head home. Declarations came out today for the weekend ahead, looking at the entries the only ride I was holding out any hope for was on Sunday at Musselburgh’s Cheltenham Trials Day but unfortunately never got declared so I’ve been left with a quiet weekend.

Saturday 2nd February

I rode out 4 lots this morning in at Mark Johnston’s. I then popped into Andrew Crooks again on my way home to put a nice bumper horse that they recently bought from the Doncaster sales through his paces up the gallops. One of my old school friends Michael Butters and my sister Ashley came down this afternoon to stay for the weekend. They have been onto me about having a house warming but I told them I wasn’t having a house warming a while back as I didn’t want anyone wrecking the place and spilling red wine all over the shop. So they then took the decision upon themselves to come down and see the house and have a drink or two, I suppose that could probably be classed as a mini-house warming I guess so they got their wish in the end!

Sunday 3rd February

Although Ashley and Michael were down I still went into Mark Johnston’s again this morning. I wasn’t being rude or anything but Sunday mornings are very quick in there so I was back for around 12 anyway. Kelly was in the house to water and feed them so they were well looked after. We gave them a tour around Karl and Elaine’s yard to let them see the horses then went out for a spot of lunch and had a good catch up; I don’t get to see everyone from home as often as I’d like to so it was nice to have Ashley and Michael down; a great way to end the week. Happy Out!! It has been quiet week for racing but things are looking brighter for next week, next port of call is Doncaster tomorrow where I ride Rangefinder who is trained by Andrew Crook.

See you all next week and all comments very much appreciated 🙂

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

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