Will’s Quill – Post 1 from our Sponsored Jockey!
I’m going to be writing a blog for EPDS so hopefully it’s a good read and gives a bit more of an insight to what I do!
I’m 21 and a Conditional Jockey based with Alan King at Barbury Castle Stables in Marlborough. I started working for Mr King in May 2015 after a season working with both Warren Greatrex and Jamie Snowden – both of whom were great to work for and were very good to me! I gained a lot of valuable experience!
The last couple of weeks for me had started a bit quietly. After riding my first ever double at Fakenham aboard James Evans’ Vent Nivernais and our very own Daliance, I didn’t get a ride for almost a fortnight! This was mainly due to the fact that the trainers I tend to ride for had very few runners (due to such horrible ground across much of the UK), and ‘spares’ (rides from outside stables) being harder to come by!
On Monday (29th) I went to Plumpton to ride Hear the Chimes for Shaun Harris. Shaun was the trainer who gave me my first two winners, almost 3 years ago now, and the Horse ran a nice race to finish 3rd, just being caught out by a slow early gallop. I also rode Frank n Fair for Zoe Davison that afternoon, who was a little disappointing, ending up being pulled up, which was unfortunate, although I think she’ll appreciate a more galloping track in the future. Zoe has been great to me, giving me a winner aboard Derryogue at Leicester and she is the trainer who supplies me with the majority of my outside rides!
This last week I got to experience something pretty exciting for a Conditional. Barry Geraghty attended Barbury on Friday (04th) to school a couple of Mr JP McManus’ Horses ahead of the Festival. I felt totally privileged to be schooling upsides with him, and it gave me an absolute buzz! A great learning curve for me! I really think that you can learn so much schooling with and watching top class riders, and it is an opportunity that doesn’t arise too often.
Thursday is usually my day off from Alan’s to go and ride out for someone else, and this week I went to Jamie Snowden’s to sit on EPDS Racing’s Our Reward. We did a couple of routine canters on the Lambourn gallops, and he gave me a really nice feel and did everything right! He seems a promising type for the future, and I’m sure excitement is building among his owners for his return to the track. I jumped straight in the car to travel to Tewksebury to ride a couple of lots for James Evans that morning too. He has also been a huge supporter of mine, and does very well on the track with the 25 or so horses he has in training, which is great for the yard!
On Friday I was off to Newbury to ride two, which automatically makes it a good day for me on more than one account! Firstly, riding at a top class track such as Newbury is always a thrill, (regardless of how many times you’ve done it before!), and secondly, heading to the races as a Conditional with more than one ride on the card is a huge compliment.
My first ride of the day was Boardwalk Empire for permit holder Kate Buckett, in the 2m6f Chase. He ran a great race for a long way, jumping like a Stag, but ultimately found things a little tough at the business end of the race, finishing a well-beaten 6th. Hopefully the handicapper may give him a chance now (please, if you’re reading Mr Smith!)
My other ride of the day was Muhtaris for Mr Evans, an ex Godolphin-owned (flat) Horse. He travelled well through the race to two out, and quickened away smartly to win by 3 lengths! A great training performance for a small yard and a lovely result for a nice group of Owners (who I think were happy)!
On Saturday I went up to Doncaster to ride Midnight Maestro for the boss! For those of you interested in breeding and bloodstock, there are no prizes for guessing he’s by the smart sire Midnight Legend, whose Horses are really in form this season. He’s from a good family, a full brother to William H Bonney who recently won a Novice Hurdle smartly at Towcester, joining a list of plenty of other winning relatives. The field was down to just 5 runners (due to there being three non-runners on the day), so we sat at the back upsides the John Ferguson horse Wenyerreadyfreddie. The race ended up going a nice gallop and my horse travelled very well into things. Midnight Maestro forged clear to win convincingly by 4½ lengths! Brilliant! A winner for the boss and two winners in two days for me – not the worst weekend at the office!
It was my Brother’s Birthday so I detoured back (via Leicester!), having a couple of celebratory drinks before heading home for an early night! I had to be back at Alan’s for 8:00am for Sunday morning stables, of course!
Next week is looking good for me, with a couple of rides booked (including Daliance, which I of course look forward to!) He’s a dude to ride, even if he does make me earn my riding fees! Hopefully they all run, and a little bit of luck never goes amiss!
See you next week!