The life of a jockey can have many ups and downs and especially in the early days of establishing yourself, it can be a real slog. There are many stories of the determination, effort and endless hours involved in getting to the standard required to take on the cream of the crop, and impress horse trainers and owners with no shortage of options to choose from.
It’s always interesting to hear the stories of where someones career started and the path that led them to success. Sure some in racing have family connections or a ‘leg up’ in some regard, but others have no family background in the sport at all and forged a path through their love of the sport. Nowadays programs like Brixton’s Ebony Horse Club offer disadvantaged inner city kids a chance to get into the sport, so there are definitely opportunities where you wouldn’t always expect to find them.
Fast forwarding to the point of success, one sure fire way to go to the next level and truly make a name for yourself in horse racing is by breaking records or achieving a ‘one off’ of some form or another. Just look at Frankie Dettori’s ‘Magnificent Seven’, it was front page news at the time and is still clearly remembered, due the nature of the achievement (winning all seven races on the Ascot racecard in September 1996) , the fact that some punters were richly rewarded for following Frankie on the day (to the handsome tune of £500,000 in one case – at cumulative odds of 25,051-1) and the aspect of ‘sticking it to the bookies’.
Perhaps the primary way of immortalising yourself in racing though is by winning one of the big races. The liked of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the cherry on the cake without a doubt, the Grand National. It’s nothing short of a one way ticket into the history books if you win the National. A combination of right horse, time, training, the going and a healthy dollop of luck on the day can dictate how it all pans out, but winning the Grand National is certainly the dream of most jockeys, trainers and owners. I’m busily keeping an eye on the latest Grand National news to see who is likely to make a name for themself this year in the 2019 Grand National!
As with many aspects of life, success breeds success. As a jockey for instance, once you’ve proved yourself and shown a battling spirit, with a few grinding big wins under your belt, you’ll get more opportunities to prove your credentials at the highest level.