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 12th November
After riding out this morning I was back on the road to Carlisle, unfortunately I couldn’t scrounge a lift of anyone so had no option but to go the journey alone. I only had the 1 ride today but it was one I was more than looking forward to; Julia Too had won for me at our only previous attempt together so with a 100% record I was hopeful she could run well and follow up. Willie Amos is the man who trains her and when he came and collected my saddle he said he thought the ground may just not be soft enough for her (as she goes best when it’s virtually knee deep). In the race itself we went no gallop at all and she was a little bit on the keen side early doors, she was just one paced when push came to shove and was done for toe in the final half mile. She’s a grand little mare who needs a thorough test of stamina and will improve back on her beloved heavy ground!
Entries came out today for Wetherby at the weekend and I see Lie Forrit had been entered for a handicap chase, he would of came on a lot from his first run of the season so I am very much looking forward to getting back on him, hopefully he will get declared and take his chance.
Tuesday 13th November
Noel Wilson is a trainer who has recently moved his horses from Thirsk to be trained in Middleham and this morning I went into his yard for a couple of lots. He only has a few jumpers in at the minute but he tends to do well with the firepower he has so hopefully I can nick myself a few rides for him this season. Once I was finished at Noels I rode out a couple of lots for Elaine Burke. She even let me ride the old boy Specialize who is 20 years of age and won 12 races in his career. He lives in the field all year round until the yearlings come in to get broken and then it’s his job to play daddy and lead them in their early education. His racing days may have been finished many years ago but he still plays a vital role at Spigot Lodge and is worth his weight in gold, a proper legend of a horse!!
In the evening I had organised for a few of the lads to come along to Catterick for a good old game of 5-a-side indoor football. Even Niall Hannity came along for a kick about, indoor football is a great way to keep fit and have a bit of a laugh at the same time.
Wednesday 14th November
I was on the road early enough this morning to head over to Malton to ride out for John Wainwright. I have had a few rides for John in the past and all being well will continue to ride this season for him. The main reason I was going over to his place was to school Oniz Tiptoes. He is down to run at Wetherby on Saturday and John just wanted me to have a feel for the horse first which makes sense. He’s a real character of a horse, he has his own way of racing and has run in over 100 races to date in all codes – Flat, hurdles and chases. Today was the first ever time I have ridden the Malton gallops as a friend of mine Danny Cook made clear when he shouted over from Brian Ellisons string “What the hell are you doing over here?” to which I replied “mind your own bloody business!!”
Fearghal Davis lives over that direction so I decided to go over meet him and go for a spot of pub grub in the local afterwards. The food was lovely and we had good craic, oh and surprise surprise he forgot his wallet so I had to pay!
Thursday 15th November
I was back into Mark Johnston’s this morning for four lots, I walked into the tack room and looked at the board to see which horses I was down to ride and I was chuffed to see I had 4 yearlings. I think it’s great craic riding the yearlings, most of them are grand but the odd one or two take a bit of riding and you can have a fair bit fun on their backs, however a lapse in concentration and before you know it you can be on your back.
News came out this afternoon of an outbreak of Equine Neurological Herpes in Victor Dartnell’s yard in Devon. Horses are the last thing in the world I would associate with the word herpes and I certainly haven’t heard of it before so hopefully for everyone’s sake it is not as serious as it sounds and everything will be ok.
Friday 16th November
I was into Mark Johnston’s again this morning for a couple of quick lots before heading north to Newcastle for 1 ride. Scarlet Ruby is trained by Willie Amos and was running in the mares maiden hurdle. She ran way back in March in a bumper around Carlisle but didn’t really show an awful lot. I was hoping that the step up trip and the switch to hurdles would have the desired effect. She jumped a little novicey on occasions but got better as she went on. We didn’t particularly go a mad gallop and half way down the back straight when we quickened my filly started getting done for toe. I pulled her up 3 hurdles from home as I got detached pretty quickly. She will be better suited to softer ground and running in a bigger field. After racing at Newcastle there was a little bit of a coming together with Harry Haynes and Henry Brooke, It was nothing really but I couldn’t help myself but make a video with the talking tom app on my i-phone…
When I came home and looked at the results I was delighted to see Mikey Ennis had ridden a winner around Cheltenham for his boss David Pipe. I worked with Mikey a few years back, he’s a bit of a legend and originally from the same neck of the woods as me, a winner around Cheltenham is what we all dream of so I am chuffed to bits for him that he managed to do just that.
Saturday 17th November
I had no rides today as the 2 I had been down to ride all week, including the classy Lie Forrit, unfortunately hadn’t been declared to run at Wetherby so I went about my usual business and rode out four yearlings at Mark Johnston’s. On the other hand its Paddy Power Gold Cup day at Cheltenham so on a Saturday afternoon with top racing like that on channel 4 there is only place to be and that’s parked up on the sofa. Al Ferof went on to win the race and in all fairness he did it quite impressively and looks like all being well he will no doubt be playing a top role at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.
I have had over 600 rides to date and yet I have never had a spin around Cheltenham. It has been a dream of mine to ride a winner around there ever since I sat on the back of my own ex-racehorse Tof back when I was a child. Hopefully one day that dream will become reality and I will be able to write about that in my blog and tell you all about it!!
Sunday 18th November
Although Sunday is a day of rest to most, it is just another day in the life of racing. The horses still need fed, mucked out and ridden out etc. I was up at normal time to go into Mark Johnston’s for 3 lots. Not all yards ride their horses out on a Sunday but thankfully for me Mr Johnston does as it means I can keep myself busy and earn a little extra pocket money at the same time!
After riding out I went out for a run with the dogs in the afternoon before getting nestled in at the kitchen table and getting stuck into one of Mrs Burkes amazing roast dinners. I do normally try and watch what I eat but these are far too tasty to let slip under the radar….all the trimmings please!
Thank you very much everyone and I’ll see you all next week.
All comments very much appreciated 🙂
All the best – Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy on Twitter)