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 11th February
My mum and step-dad were down visiting Kelly and Myself so I gave the riding out a miss this morning. I wasn’t lucky enough to get a long lie though as the roads were not that great I decided to drive Kelly to work, women and drivers and all that ;-). We had the BT man come round this afternoon to connect up our phone line and wi-fi to re-connect us with the rest of the world, his arrival was my cue to leave so I left the parents to look after him and I hopped in the car to drive down the road to Catterick Races where I had one ride. I was riding Zazamix who is trained by Andrew Crook and was running back over hurdles having previously been running over fences for the last couple of years. They went a real gallop and I was done for toe pretty much as soon as the tapes went up. He is a bit of monkey (hence the blinkers) and jumped his hurdles very deliberately as if they were fences then stayed on all the way up the straight but his chance was gone by then. Most Horses tend to lose a bit of pace as they get longer in the tooth but he will be grand when he returns to chasing.
Tuesday 12th February
I rode out a couple of lots this morning before getting ready for the mammoth road trip to Lingfield, where I had 1 ride in the final race of the day. It was to be my first ever time riding there so I was looking forward to it and walked a lap of the track as soon as I got there. My ride was Coffee King who is trained by Mairi Wilson and was having his second ever run. He is a lovely big horse with plenty scope but he can get very keen very quickly if you’re not careful. I took him down to the start very quietly just to keep him nice and relaxed. To stop him using himself too much early doors I dropped him in and rode a patient race, he settled very well and picked up nicely in the closing stages. I wasn’t able to get a clean run through and he finished 5th but was only beaten a couple of lengths. I think he is a nice sort and will improve mentally the more experience he gets under his belt; he should be good enough to win a bumper and will no doubt make a nice novice hurdler in the north. My drive back to Catterick was not so pleasant though, trying get through the evening traffic on the M25 is not something I would want to be doing every day. By the time I got home after my 570 mile round trip I was absolutely knackered so went straight to bed as I have another early start tomorrow.
Wednesday 13th February
I was up nice and early this morning to head into Andy Crooks for a couple of quick lots. After schooling I had to be away sharpish as I was riding up at Musselburgh and had to pick up Fearghal Davis, who was already waiting on me at my house. Unfortunately it was my turn to drive, and after the lengthy drive I had yesterday I wasn’t exactly in love with that idea. My ride today was the Lucy Normile trained Black Velvet Belle who was running in the bumper which was the last race of the day. It was quite a hot bumper and she was bang there turning into the home straight, but just lacked a turn of foot when I asked her for an effort and just galloped all the way to the line. She is a very old fashioned sort who will stay forever and a day, a 3 mile chaser in the making! Fearghal had no luck either so the pair of us got our act together and kicked on homeward bound. With Valentine’s day tomorrow we went via Tesco on our way home to get something for our better halves, we must of looked like a right pair of eegits floating around Tesco with the exact same stuff for our girlfriends. I am only 22 but I have already come to the conclusion that all women seem to do to us men is cost money, can’t live with them…can’t live without them! We ended swapping valentine’s cards as soon as I got back, I could not believe it when I opened mine as it was the exact same card that I had bought her…great minds think-a-like!!
Thursday 14th February
I wasn’t totally sure whether or not I was going to be riding out this morning, the snow was coming down thick and fast last night and if too much of it lay then riding out was going to be a big no go. I texted Andy Crooks daughter Amy very early doors to see if I was to come in or not, thankfully everything was grand. I only had time for a couple of lots though as I was riding up at Kelso. Thankfully, I didn’t have to drive this time as Joe Colliver very kindly offered. Fearghal took full advantage of that and jumped in for a lift as well…
The days can be very long and boring indeed when you have to go racing alone, but when two or three of us go together we don’t half have some craic, usually by ripping the p**s out of each other the whole way there and the whole way back. Fearghal and I ran a lap of the track when we got there to take a look at the ground, it was bottomless!! All three of us only had the 1 ride today and none of us had any joy. When I got back in the car I rang Kelly to see how she liked the flowers and chocolates that I had ordered for her from Interflora on Monday. I wasn’t too amused to hear they hadn’t already come considering I coughed up an extra £15 for them to arrive before lunchtime. I rang Interflora to give out to them but couldn’t get through as they had an “excessive” number calls to deal with, made me feel a little bit better realizing there was many other lads out there in the same boat as me. To make it up to Kelly I cooked a couple of steaks for the two of us when I got home…just the job!!
Friday 15th February
There was no racing for me today, and I won’t be riding now until Monday, however, I was still fairly busy as far as riding out was concerned. I rode out 4 lots at Karl and Elaine Burkes which took me up to lunchtime. I didn’t have time to stop for any lunch though as Mairi Wilson had rang me earlier on in the week to ask if I would come down to her yard to school a couple of horses in the afternoon. When I arrived at her yard near Doncaster I couldn’t help but notice a horse galloping up and down the field bucking and kicking in good “jack the lad” style. Mairi told me that was Coffee King who I had ridden at Lingfield on Tuesday; it was good to see that he has certainly come out of race none the worse. The horses schooled well and like many others are just waiting on a bit of better ground before they will be appearing on a racecourse. By the time I got home I was well overdue a feed so was delighted to see that Kelly had put together a very nice chicken salad for me to stuck into, you are what you eat and all that!
Saturday 16th December
I rode 3 horses this morning, for 3 different trainers. Jason Ward asked me to come into his yard to have a sit on Hope For Glory, a bumper he has asked me to ride at Wetherby on Tuesday. It was basically just to give him a piece of work to get a feel for him before riding him at the track on his racecourse debut. Jason didn’t need to be in until 9:30am so rather than go down the lazy route and having a long lie I went into Mark Johnston’s for 7:00am and rode a lot out there first. My third port of call was Andrew Crooks, they had many owners in today so my job was to give Jimmy Brown a pop over a few French hurdles in front of them. Thankfully good old Jimmy behaved himself and jumped like a stag. I’m looking forward to riding him on the track, all being well we should see him out within the next couple of weeks!! I spent the afternoon parked up on the sofa watching all the racing Britain had to offer…then tearing my hair out after Arsenal got beat by Blackburn 1-0 in the FA Cup 🙁 . I’m not holding out a lot of hope of us beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday now.
Sunday 17th December
4 lots in Mark Johnston’s was on the cards again this morning. Now that we are Catterick residents we took a stroll around Catterick Sunday Market in the afternoon to try and nick ourselves a bargain or two. It was a momentous day for little Darcy as it was her first ever adventure out and about on the lead, she wasn’t feeling it and dug her toes in refusing to budge, I ended up having to carry her all the way round! I have quite a heavy weight tomorrow at Southwell, so with no weight issues to worry about I took Kelly for a carvery afterwards at the Farmers Arms in Catterick. I ride Along Came Rosie tomorrow and having never sat on her before so I watched a few of replays in the evening to try and get to know her a bit before hitting the hay for an early night.
See you all next week and all comments very much appreciated 🙂
All the best – Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy on Twitter)