An Interview with Rachael Blackmore

Hey guys!

Today I am so excited to bring to you an interview with the incredibly talented Rachael Blackmore! Let’s jump straight into it…


Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Rachael: My first winner at Cheltenham on A Plus Tard was very special and a big relief! And one I didn’t win would be completing the Grand National on Valseur Lido, he gave me an unbelievable spin over the fences and that was memorable in itself.

Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?

Rachael: Istabraq was one of the first horses who really caught my attention in racing and also Enable.

Me: The last two seasons you’ve been neck and neck with Paul Townend to be the Champion Jockey in Ireland, with both of you arguably at the top of your game, how competitive does it get between you?

Rachael: I’d say it’s competitive for about a week then he goes into the Christmas festivals and rides about 8 winners! You would want to have a good few winners up on Paul going into the Punchestown Festival in May to even give yourself a squeak.

Me: Following on from that, when I spoke with AP McCoy, he sad he always loved the rivalry between himself, Richard Johnson, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty, however he also said they were all the best of friends who always helped each other along, is it the same between yourself, Paul Townend, Jack Kennedy and many others that fight it out each year?

Rachael: The weighing room dynamics are very different to other sports, there is a lot of respect between each other and your fellow jockeys understand things more than most, so it’s great to have good rivals but also friends in the weighing room.

Me: As a jockey, weight is obviously a huge thing for you and as a female myself, I know how hard it can be to maintain my weight, how hard do you find it to maintain certain weights in order to ride certain horses in certain races? How strict do you have to be with yourself? And do you feel like female jockeys should be given more of an allowance or do you like the fact it’s always a level playing field with the male jockeys?

Rachael: I’m not sure there would be many happy jockeys in the weighing room if Hollie Doyle suddenly got a weight allowance. For me, if you work hard enough you will get the chances and if you’re good enough and things go right for you then anything can happen. Male or female it doesn’t matter. As for weight, it’s never been something I’ve had to worry about riding over jumps, our bottom weight is 9.12 and that is easily done for me. I live with two jockeys who do not share the same fortune, so I realise how lucky I am.

Minella Indo gave you your first Grade 1 in the UK with Honeysuckle giving you your first Grade 1 in Ireland, how special is it when you win a big race on such powerful horses?

Rachael: It’s an incredible feeling, both winning and also repaying the faith put in you by the owner and trainer. Been giving the chance to ride horses of that calibre is very special and what every jockey strives for.

Me: Henry De Bromhead, of course, has some incredible horses who you get the privilege of riding, how did your partnership with him come around?

Rachael: Eddie O’Leary suggested to him at the start of summer 2018 that I start riding some of the Gigginstown horses that Henry had, it all snowballed from that. Essentially Eddie getting my foot in the door brought my career to a whole new level.

Me: As a female jockey, do you ever feel any pressure when riding in the big races as the sport is predominantly run by males?

Rachael: I definitely feel pressure alright, but not gender related.

Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?

Rachael: Ruby Walsh and Davy Russell were always two I looked up to.

Me: What is one race you’d love to win?

Rachael: The Gold Cup

Me: What would be your ‘horse to watch’ for the next season or two?

Rachael: Bob Olinger.

Me: What is your favourite racecourse to ride at and why?

Rachael: I love Leopardstown, especially over fences. It’s a fair track and if you can get into a good rhythm jumping it’s a brilliant place to ride around.

Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?

Rachael: If you have a passion for something, you’re lucky. Some people can’t find a passion so don’t waste it. Work hard on it which will bring you enjoyment and you would never know… It could turn into you living your dream.


As always, I want to thank Rachael for her time, I know how busy she is at the moment so I appreciate her taking some time out of her day to speak all things racing with me. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Being a female who writes about a very male dominated sport can be difficult sometimes, but females like Rachael who dominates the sport in her own right, inspires me to continue doing what I love even on the bad days. She’s proof that no matter your gender, you can absolutely smash whatever you’re doing and that is so so inspiring to females everywhere.

I really hope you all enjoy this one as much as I did, I will see you all Wednesday evening at 6pm for a new Horse Racing History series post!

An Interview with Harry Cobden

Good Evening!

Welcome to a brand new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Today I am very excited to bring to you an interview with someone I have been wanting to interview for a long time and that is of course Harry Cobden. I was lucky enough to sit down with Harry last week on a zoom call and discuss all things horse racing and I can promise you it is a good one so without further ado, let’s jump right into it!


Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Harry: I’d say my favourite replay to watch would be Topofthegame in the RSA, it was just tactically a great race and you know, some fantastic horses in the race, so yeah, it’s one I just love watching back.

Me: If you could ride any horse you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose and why?

Harry: I don’t know, I mean, Kauto Star was pretty spectacular and his race record was unbelievable wasn’t it? You know, if you could have a go on a horse like that, then you know, you only get one of them in a lifetime.

Me: When I have spoken to the likes of AP McCoy and Richard Johnson they have always said how the whip is a vital part of the jockeys kit in order to ensure the safety of the horses and yourselves, what are your personal opinions surrounding the whip and the discussion of people wanting the whip banned?

Harry: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with them any more really because the whip is vital, it’s there for the safety of the jockey, it’s there for the safety of the horse. The whips are actually made out of a foam sort of thing nowadays so they’re actually not there to hurt the horse, so I am all for the whip. And you know, I think it’s… We’re in a position now where safety is paramount isn’t it? I think we should continue using it. And one other thing I would say is that jockeys don’t abuse the whip either, if you look over sort of the last 10 years, whip bans have come down immensely and I think jockeys as a whole are doing a good job to make sure we don’t go over the permitted level.

Me: When I visited Colin Tizzard’s yard back in November 2019, Joe mentioned to us that they had offered you the stable jockey job there, obviously you took the job with Paul, how hard of a decision was that? Two massive stables fighting it out to have you as their main jockey.

Harry: Yeah, obviously a massive decision, especially when you’re only sort of 19 but, you know, thankfully we’ve, well I’ve stayed in with the whole Tizzard family and I’ve been very fortunate to have rode plenty of winners for them since. Yeah, I suppose I’m really grateful they’re still using me when I’m available. Yeah, it was a tough decision, but yeah I started off with Paul and he’s obviously been very good to me and I’m still riding plenty of good horses and lots of winners there so that was the decision really.

Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?

Harry: Erm, I suppose Richard Johnson would be the ultimate professional. He’s a proper gentleman and the way he conducts himself is absolutely fantastic and yeah, he is the ultimate professional in every way really on and off the track.

Me: Following on from that slightly, what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given by a fellow jockey?

Harry: Erm, I wouldn’t really specifically say I could think of something off the top of my head because I’ve been told so much in the past but, I’m struggling to think, but I’m sure I’ve been told to keep my head down and work hard or something.

Me: So, obviously Paul has some incredible horses in his yard, what would you say is the Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden banker of the Cheltenham Festival?

Harry: If I was going to pick one out now, I would probably say Bravemansgame in the Ballymore, he’d be looking like my best chance going into it if the Festival was tomorrow, but look, the Irish are obviously very strong so we’re not really sure what they’re going to bring over for that yet, but yeah, if the Festival was tomorrow I would say him. He’s a lovely horse and we’re very fortunate to have him.

Me: What is the one race you’d love to win that you haven’t yet?

Harry: One hundred and ten percent the Gold Cup.

Me: On to the Gold Cup, obviously everyone loves Cyrname and wants to know how he is after the King George, it was a gruelling race, how’s he come out of that and will we see him head towards the Gold Cup or is there other plans for him?

Harry: I’m not really sure, I mean myself and Paul have had a few discussions and I haven’t actually heard the final outcome, but it’s definitely still on the agenda and there is a big possibility he will go straight there. The King George was a bit of a strange one, I’m sort of still scratching my head over it now, he felt great going into the race and you know, everyone seems very pleased with him coming out of it, it was just one of those disappointing days where I’m not really sure what happened. I probably should have been more positive and erm, he’s not as keen as he was, he’s more relaxed now. Yeah, maybe I should’ve gave him a slap down the shoulder and sent him on and got him up there to be competitive. He’s quietened down a lot and that could be just what it is. Going forward he seems absolutely A1.

Me: So he’s absolutely fine coming out of that, there’s nothing to worry about?

Harry: Nothing to report and erm, Scott who rides him out every day seems pleased with him and yeah, it’s very odd, maybe he doesn’t like Kempton. But yeah, I’m still scratching my head now because there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the horse.

Me: In terms of the King George, Frodon won under Bryony (Frost), how special is that as a team? As the stable jockey who isn’t on the winner, how does that affect you? Do you still get involved in the celebrations as a team and feel the excitement even though it was Bryony riding a winner for Paul rather than yourself?

Harry: It is a massive team effort. Paul would employ 50 to 60 people to ride out on the yard and it’s a huge team effort, everyone puts so much in and it’s good for Bryony, it’s good for Paul and it’s great for racing I think. You know, for a girl to win the King George for the first time is fantastic and it’s good for racing. So back in the yard it was a great atmosphere on the Monday morning, so I’m certainly not going to be bitter over that one.

Me: I know first hand from visiting Paul’s yard and seeing the horses treated like royalty there, so what do you think when people say horse racing is animal cruelty?

Harry: Yeah, I mean, if they actually came and saw for themselves, you know, basically they just think that jockeys don’t really care for the horse and they’re just there for the money and all they care about is whipping the horse, but that’s really not what it’s like. The horses are obviously cared for seven days a week and the lads and lasses absolutely love the horses and you can really see the affection in the yard and when you go there in the morning… Like today I seen a video of Scott giving Master Tommytucker a carrot and stuff like that and just the way they’re treated. They’re mucked out, they’re groomed, they’ve got top quality feed, we’ve got a physio who goes around giving the horses physio. And you know, just the little things and if they could come in and see that for themselves then I’m sure they’d have a different view.

Me: Talking about Master Tommytucker, on Saturday (09/01/2021) I was watching from home and my heart was in my mouth watching you at the last, what was you thinking in that moment?

Harry: Yeah, it was obviously one of those hairy moments but he’s such a difficult horse to ride in the fact that I had got it right the whole way round then I came down to the last and sort of threw him at it which was erm… Probably not the brightest thing to do in the world, but yeah, he luckily stood up and we all got away with it but I was a little bit worried for a minute because it was a hairy old jump. But he’s obviously improving and yeah he’s going the right way. It’s almost taken me 4 or 5 races to actually learn how to ride him, he’s got his own way of doing things and I think now I’m starting to get the hang of it because he is quite difficult.

Me: And when we were watching on TV, Mick Fitzgerald said that the smaller field probably helped him a little bit, is that how you felt?

Harry: Yeah, definitely. A lot of people are saying he has to make the running but I disagree with that. He actually ran in the Caspian Caviar last time out and I just didn’t feel like he was 100% that day. When he bolted up at Haydock the time before it was really deep ground and we probably underestimated how hard a race he had.

Me: Obviously you’re still very young with plenty of riding years ahead of you, have you got AP McCoy’s record in sight? Do you think you can come close to it or beat it maybe?

Harry: No. I say I wouldn’t come anywhere near it. His record is absolutely phenomenal isn’t it? I don’t think it’ll ever get beaten ever again and I know for a fact it won’t be me beating it anyway.

Me: So, Paul has some younger horses in the yard, what would you say is the horse to watch, maybe not for this season but in the coming seasons?

Harry: I suppose we have had plenty of bumper winners this season and off the top of my head, I rode a really nice horse, one at Newbury called Petrossian, he seems a lovely horse, Mr Denmark owns him and he’s got loads of speed and loads of gears. I’m not sure he won the greatest bumper in the world but he is a nice type and he could just be one of those nice horses that goes on to do well in the 2 mile novice hurdle division next season. But you know, there are so many, the amount of bumper horses we’ve got this year, like the one Megan won on, Mr Glass, and she won the listed bumper, Silent Revolution, you know we could go on for a long time, but I suppose Petrossian would be the one that gave me a great feel on the way around.

Me: As the stable jockey at Ditcheat, was is the process if there is multiple horses in a race? Do you make the decision on what to ride or does that ultimately go down to Paul?

Harry: It’ll definitely be a joint discussion, obviously if Paul had his thoughts and I had mine we’d always talk about it beforehand. But I haven’t actually got it right too often as of late, I seem to be picking the wrong ones, but hopefully it’ll come right in a minute.

Me: What is your favourite track to go and ride at?

Harry: I’d say probably Wincanton because it’s 5 minutes from my house and I have a 40% strike rate around there.

Me: The final question from me is, what would be your best piece of advice for a young person who has a passion in something, whether that be racing or not, that they want to follow?

Harry: You know, you’ve gotta believe in yourself and follow your dreams but at the same time be realistic and work hard.


I want to say a massive thank you to Harry for taking some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me and have a chat. This was probably one of my favourite interviews to date as Harry was very open, very honest and willing to discuss anything within the sport and I feel as though with his answers we got a real insight into Harry, Ditcheat and racing as a whole. That for me, is the whole point of what I do. I want to broadcast our sport to a wider, younger audience by being as transparent as possible and opening peoples eyes to behind the scenes that they may not get to see otherwise.

I hope everyone has enjoyed this as much as I did. I will see you all on Saturday for my next post which is another super excciting one where I interview Rachael Blackmore!

An Interview with Barry Geraghty

Hi guys!

I am very excited to bring to you all today an interview with, in my opinion, one of the best jockeys I have had the honour of growing up and watching. I am very grateful to Barry for taking time out of his day to allow me to speak all things racing. Let’s get straight into it!


Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Barry: I grew up dreaming of being a jockey and of winning the English Grand National. I hoped that some day I might get the chance to win it, but I never thought it would happen as easily as it did, and I presumed I would be a lot older than 23 by the time I’d won it.

Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?

Barry: To me, Istabraq was the ultimate hurdler. He had so much class, jumped brilliantly and was unbelievable around Cheltenham.

Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?

Barry: Personally I feel with all the modifications to the whip itself make it as harmless as it is brilliant and I also believe the rule changes in recent years to both reduce the number of strikes and penalising jockeys for hitting horses out of contention are sufficient. The whip is a vital piece of equipment to help control a horse for its safety and the safety of others.

Me: What is one race you’d love to have won that you never did?

Barry: I was very fortunate to have won most of the major races in England and Ireland throughout my career. The only Grade One at the Cheltenham Festival that I didn’t win was the Supreme Novice Hurdle, so I’ll go with that.

Me: You’ve rode some incredible horses in your career such as Moscow Flyer, Sprinter Sacre, Bobs Worth, Monty’s Pass, Buveur D’Air and so many more… What would you say is the best horse you rode and why? And not necessarily the best, but your favourite horse to ride and why?

Barry: I was very fortunate to ride a lot of great horses over the years an I’ve never been able to split Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre. They were two amazing horses but very different. Sprinter oozed class and was always so impressive in his races but Moscow on the other hand would be an average horse by two to three lengths and beat Azertiyoup by the same, he also went four full years unbeaten. They were both a real thrill on the racecourse.

Me: What was your favourite racecourse to ride at and why?

Barry: There is no racecourse that you get the same buzz for winning whether you are a professional or punter as you get at Cheltenham.

Me: You finished your riding career as the 2nd most successful jockey at the Cheltenham Festival behind Ruby Walsh with 43 winners in total, out of all of those winners, what one stands out the most to you as the one you enjoyed the most?

Barry: I probably got my biggest kick out of winning the Champion Hurdle last year on Epatante for two of my biggest supporters JP McManus and Nicky Henderson. I knew going into the meeting that it was my last Festival as a jockey, so to win one of the feature races in my last year meant so much.

Me: The green and gold silks are arguably the most recognisable within racing, did you ever feel any pressure riding for JP McManus knowing people would automatically look at your horse due to the silks you were wearing?

Barry: There was always an element of pressure when riding for a big stable or owner but the pressure I always felt was more what I put myself under to get the result than external pressure from anyone else.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?

Barry: Like all field sports there is a risk of injury involved in racing, but it is in no way cruel. From the time a racehorse is born they are cared for like royalty, with the best feed, living accommodation and care any animal could wish for. That continues throughout their racing career and through their rehoming in retirement.

Me: You rode for some incredible trainers throughout your career, what was the best piece of advice you was given in general or for a specific race that you can remember?

Barry: When Nicky Henderson would give you your riding instructions at the Cheltenham Festival he would finish it with ‘have a nice time’, that is Nicky’s way of trying to take any pressure off you. It was always lovely to hear in that pressurised environment.

Me: You won Champion Jockey in Ireland twice, do you ever look back at your career and wish you had attempted to take AP McCoy’s crown and won the British Jockey Championship?

Barry: I enjoyed being Champion Jockey in Ireland on both occasions, but I was always drawn more to the chance to ride a good horse in a big race rather than chasing around the country every day of the week trying to find winners. Big days mattered more to me.

Me: If you could choose a banker for the Cheltenham Festival 2021, who would you currently choose?

Barry: Envoi Allen in the Marsh Chase.

Me: In the 12 months between 2004-2005, Kicking King went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George twice, for a young racing fan like myself who doesn’t really remember him, describe how good of a horse was he to ride?

Barry: Kicking King was very good, he was a big, strong horse with a lot of scope. He had a lot of natural pace as a three miler but also proved he stayed well when winning the Gold Cup, but for injury he could’ve won a few more.

Me: You’ve won the Grand National so you know what it takes, do you believe Tiger Roll could go on to win for a 3rd time? If not, is there any horse that has caught your eye that could take the crown?

Barry: Tiger Roll has proved how good he is around Aintree and with luck on his side there is no reason why he couldn’t return and win it again, the only problem is you need a lot of luck!

Me: In a great career, to finish as the fourth most successful British and Irish jump jockey with 1920 wins, do you look back and wish you had done anything different?

Barry: You always learn from your mistakes and that’s what makes you a better rider, so without the mistakes you won’t improve.

Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?

Barry: Follow your dream, give it all you can but most importantly try and enjoy it.


I want to say a huge thank you to Barry for taking time out to answer some questions and talk all things racing. I grew up watching Barry compete so it truly is an honour to have him take part in my blog and to support what I am doing and wish me luck moving forward. Hearing someone like Barry tell me how much he enjoyed answering these questions instead of regular every day questions means a lot to myself.

I absolutely loved this one, so I hope my readers enjoy it also.

I will see you all in my next post which will be Wednesday (20/01/2021) at 6pm which is a brand new interview with Harry Cobden!

An Interview with Julie Camacho

Hi guys!

Welcome to today’s blog another exciting one to bring to you all. An interview with Julie Camacho! I thoroughly hope you all enjoy!


Me: What’s your favourite day of the racing calendar?

Julie: The York Dante meeting because it brings good horses to our local track and is an indication that the flat season is really getting going!

Me: If you could train one horse that is currently in training elsewhere, what horse would you choose and why?

Julie: Stradivarius because he is so tough and consistent and comes back year in and year out.

Me: Who do you look up to in the racing game?

Julie: There are several people but probably William Haggas because he is so successful every year and yet he is so approachable and always the first person we would ask for help if we needed it.

Me: Do you ever get any down time? What’s your favourite thing to do when you do get some spare time?

Julie: We get every other Sunday off if we don’t have runners and a bit of down time during the winter. We usually try to get away on a family holiday during the winter months although that hasn’t been possible this year, but we managed to get to the Lake District instead. Several of our horses are named after our favourite destinations! During the season downtime, we spend time with family and going on walks with the dogs.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?

Julie: We would welcome anyone who thinks that to come and spend a day at our yard and see how well treated the horses are!

Me: What is your ‘horse to watch’ that you train?

Julie: A mare called Separate owned by Martin Hughes who has joined us from Richard Hannon. She had a very good level of form as a two year old, getting narrowly beaten in a Group 3 at Newmarket. Her form was quieter last year as can often happen with horses who are good two year olds, but she ran with credit several times. She’s had the winter off here and we are hoping she can return to something like her earlier form.

Me: What is your favourite racecourse to visit?

Julie: York because it is our local track, only a twenty minute drive away. It has world class racing and is run by great people.

Me: What’s your favourite race to watch back over the years?

Julie: We often watch back Judicial winning the Coral Charge at Sandown. It was our first Group 3 and he has been such a star for us. The Jockey Club sent a framed video of the race which is in our living room so we get to watch it back whenever we open it!

Judicial winning the Coral Charge at Sandown (07/07/2018) – Photo provided by Julie Camacho Racing

Another one is Lorton winning the £150,000 sales race at Newmarket as a two year old. There were 29 runners that day and you don’t ever think you can win races like that!

Me: What are your opinions surrounding discussions of banning the whip?

Julie: I would support a reduction in the amount of times a jockey is permitted to strike the horse with the whip.

Me: What is your best piece of advice for a young person following their passion, whether that be in racing or something else?

Julie: Get as much advice as you can before you set your goals, but once you’ve decided on what you want to do, be totally committed to achieving it even if it doesn’t come straight away.


As always, I would like to thank Julie and her family for allowing me to speak with them as well as providing some photos for this post. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I hope my readers enjoy it also!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you all in my next post which will be an interview with Barry Geraghty at 11am on Saturday (16/01/2021)!

An Interview with Jamie Moore

Hey guys!

Today I am thrilled to bring to you an interview with Jamie Moore. From such a huge racing family, I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to Jamie about all things racing!


Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Jamie: The Grand National

Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, who would you choose?

Jamie: Red Rum

Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?

Jamie: I think it’s a load of rubbish. I think it’s a part of the art of riding. Whip technique is a skill and we keep it safe as the rules are very good in this country. And it doesn’t hurt the horses.

Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?

Jamie: Richard Johnson and Ryan Moore.

Me: What is one race you’d love to win?

Jamie: The Grand National.

Me: Of course, you’re from a huge racing family, do you ever feel any pressure due to the success of the Moore name within racing?

Jamie: There’s not pressure. We all do our best and we all know how hard we try. The success is sweeter, but when it goes wrong it hurts more.

Me: On from that, what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given from Ryan, Josh, Hayley or your dad Gary?

Jamie: There is no real stand out from any, but we always help each other with little things when we can. Josh is always the best for advice.

Me: How is Goshen? Personally, where would you like to see him go next?

Jamie: He’s fine. I’d like to see him go to Sandown next month.

Me: One of the best photos, in my opinion, from Cheltenham is the photo of AP McCoy leaving his ITV podium to come and console you after the incident with Goshen, what was his words of wisdom to you in that moment? How did you feel to have one of the greatest jockeys in our time to give up his time out to come and speak with you?

Jamie: He just told me to keep my chin up. I just kept telling him I’m a d*ckhead. He’s the greatest jockey ever but he is also a mate who I rode against a lot. He knew what I was going through so it was very kind of him, but that is the sort of fella he is.

Me: You seem very close with your Dad in terms of the sport, are you looking forward to a potential future within training like your dad or is that not something you have ever thought about?

Jamie: I love the training side of things and I love just plainly riding horses – whether it is racing or training and I will always be at our stables helping out.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?

Jamie: Jog on and keep your nose out. If you don’t like it then ignore it. Come and see how our horses are looked after. When you see ponies and horses chucked in muddy fields with no grass with their ears flat back in the rain – They don’t have much of a life.

Me: What would be your ‘horse to watch’ for the next season or two?

Jamie: High Definition.

Me: What is your favourite race course to ride at and why?

Jamie: Sandown is a lovely track. You can see over all of London to spectate and watch them jumping down the back straight. It’s a great race course.

Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?

Jamie: Be a student of whatever it may be, whether it’s sport, medicine, journalism, whatever it is. Read books and learn everything you possibly can to be the best you possible can be in your chosen field. Never stop learning. Watch the best and learn from the best.


Firstly, as always, I would like to thank Jamie for taking time out of his day to speak with me all things racing. I hope everyone enjoyed this post as much as I did speaking with Jamie and getting this post wrote up.

I will be back Wednesday (13/01/2021) at 6pm with an interview with Julie Camacho. So I shall see you all then!

An Interview with Mick Fitzgerald

Hey guys!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year and we’re all back to make 2021 a good one. I am super excited to bring you my first post of 2021 which is an interview with ex jockey, now TV pundit, Mick Fitzgerald. Mick took time out of his morning Tuesday to speak to me all things racing, so I hope you all enjoy!


Me: What was your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Mick: Favourite race of my career I think to win was the Gold Cup, it was the one race I wanted to win more than any other. I was 15 when Dawn Run won in 1986 and you know, it was one of those moments that you never forget. I always wondered what it would feel like to win the Gold Cup and to walk into that winners enclosure and thankfully I was able to win that.

Me: If you could ride any horse that is currently in training, what horse would you choose and why?

Mick: I think I would choose Shishkin, because those good horses, especially ones like him, they’ve got very high cruising speed. He’s a bit of a natural athlete in that he’s got a lot of scope jumping and he’s just, he’s already proven on a big stage, winning the Supreme at the Festival. Erm, but he looks like he’s a shining star.

Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?

Mick: I disagree with it, I think that we need something that… People have to understand that when you’re in control of an animal that size, you sometimes need something that will give you the upper hand. I think when you carry a whip it is mainly for correction purposes. If you’ve got a horse that is being unruly or it’s a danger to other people and other horses, you need to be able to give it a slap down the shoulder to basically correct it to stop it misbehaving really.

Me: You obviously work for some of the biggest broadcasters in racing, some jockey’s never go down that route, why do you think you went into that? What do you enjoy about it?

Mick: Erm, why did I, I think in the past maybe, some jockey’s didn’t feel like it was an avenue they wanted to go down. I have always found working on TV enjoyable and I think as a pundit, having been there and done it, you know, I have an opinion that is valid in a sense that I know how it feels like to get it wrong and I know how it feels like to get it right. And I know, I’d like think with my coaching background now, I can kind of pin point areas where some jockey’s need to be better and areas where jockey’s excel. I enjoy it as a job, well it’s not really a job. I get to go racing at a time now, especially at the moment, when it’s a horrible time for a lot of people. If you’re an owner of a race horse you’re not allowed to go and watch your horse run, whereas I feel very privileged that I am able to work in a sport that I love and be able to convey that to the people who are watching.

And how do I feel? As you say, I have been very lucky. Ed Chamberlin – our lead presenter on ITV – is a great man to work with. He’s very… He’s not… It’ not all about him. He very much wants to get the best out of his co-presenters, whether it is Francesca (Cumani), whether it’s me, whether it’s AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh or Luke Harvey. He wants to get the best out of us, that’s what he feels his job is. Erm, and obviously when I worked for Channel 4 and BBC, I worked with Clare Balding, who was one of the best I have ever worked with. She is very professional and brilliant at her job and she has a great way of being able to talk to the person sat at home as if they were sat down beside her. She had… a super way. Nick Luck, obviously he is very professional and so natural. He is a very good communicator and he’s a really good operator. And then when I did work in radio, people like Mark Pougatch and John Inverdale, they are titans of their profession. Really really good presenters who are exceptional at what they do. Eleanor Oldroyd is another one I worked with on Five Live. She is a brilliant presenter, again, she has got a great… I think the key to good presenting is making the person sat at home, whether they’re listening to you or watching you, feel like they are the only person in the room and you are talking directly to them. That is what all of those people I have mentioned have done and still do brilliantly.

Me: You touched there on being a jockey coach as well, are there any upcoming jockey’s that you’re looking forward to that could potentially come close to AP McCoy’s record?

Mick: Oft, I don’t know about AP’s record, I think that… To put it into context Zoe, somebody has to ride 200 winners for 20 years consecutively to get near AP’s record… To get near it – not beat it. So that is a mountain and I certainly haven’t seen anybody that can be that dominant at the moment. But there is a good batch of young riders coming through, you’ve got Danny McMenamin who’s a very good rider based up the North, you’ve got Jack Tudor who is one of the lads I coach, he’s a very big talent. Liam Harrison is another young man I work with who is very good. Lilly Pinchin who I work with, I think she is very good. Erm, there is… The great thing is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, I’ve worked with the Bowen brothers, I’ve worked with Bryony Frost throughout her career and as far as I’m concerned, what sex a person is has nothing to do with their ability to ride a horse. You have to work hard, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone if you want to improve and only then will you improve.

Me: Do you believe Tiger Roll can go on to win a third Grand National? If not, are there any horses you fancy to take the crown?

Mick: It’s a big ask for Tiger Roll this year, like, there’s a lot of young… I think he had a better chance off winning it last year than he does this year. Obviously he’s a year older and it’ll be hard for him now. Erm, I would love to see him do it but I think it will be tough. I quite like a horse called The Conditional trained by David Bridgwater. He I think has… He ticks all the boxes for me. He’s a big horse.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks horse racing is animal cruelty?

Mick: Well, all they have to do is see how they are looked after. These horses… People have to… We need to educate people to show them as well. These horses are bred to race and if you turned them out into a field… We have horses here and if you turn them out in the field they gallop. They love to gallop and they love to jump and as far as I’m concerned these horses are bred to do this and it’s what they like doing. If they’re not being forced to do it, they still do it, so you know, I don’t see the cruelty. Horses that are looked after like these are? That’s not cruelty in my eyes.

Me: What would be your horse to watch for the next couple of seasons?

Mick: I think Shishkin. Definitely. He’s the one who should be on the top of everybody’s lists really.

Me: What is one race that you never won that you would have loved to win?

Mick: Champion Hurdle. I never won the Champion, I was 3rd in it and I never won it. That’s definitely the one.

Me: What was your favourite course to ride at and what is your favourite course to be a pundit at?

Mick: Erm, Cheltenham is my favourite because there is nowhere quite like it. To be a pundit, I think it’s a toss up between Ascot and Cheltenham. I think Ascot is such a fantastic Grand Stand and arena that it’s hard not to be impressed when you stand there and look up at that structure. Even when you drive in to Ascot you can see it and it’s really impressive and to work at it’s kind of got everything in terms of ease of access and how you’re looked after, that’s pretty good. And Cheltenham… I would have to say Cheltenham Zoe really, on both counts. You know, like it doesn’t get any better than there. I know I’m a bit biased and it sounds wrong for me to say Cheltenham and Cheltenham but it feels like it’s Cheltenham.

Me: What is your favourite day of the racing calendar?

Mick: Favourite day of the racing calendar? Erm… It is the Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival. Purely because it is the start of four days of absolute top draw racing.

Me: For the last question, what is your best piece of advice for young people who want to follow their passion, whether that be in racing or elsewhere?

Mick: Erm, don’t ever be put off by what other people tell you. If you want something and it’s something you care and are passionate about… Follow it. You might have to work harder than everybody else to get there, but it will be worth it in the end. If you care about something and you’re passionate about it, let that passion be what drives you forward. Never be afraid to chase your dream.

Me: Thank you for your time today Mick, I appreciate you’re busy so I am grateful you have taken time out to speak with me.

Mick: No not at all. The very best of luck, continue with what you’re doing.


I want to say a huge thank you to Mick for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with me and supporting the work I am doing on my blog. It’s an honour to speak with someone who is such a huge name in a sport I love. Mick gave some in depth answers that really gave an insight into the sport and I thoroughly enjoyed our talk.

I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did.

Thank you all so much for reading my first post of 2021. I will be back on Saturday (09/01/2021) at 11am where I am bringing to you an interview with Jamie Moore.

Is Hollie Doyle the Greatest Female Jockey of our Time? #VoteHollie

Hi Guys!

Today’s post is one I am very excited for. As, I think everyone knows by now, tonight is the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards and we have one of our very own, Hollie Doyle, up for the big award, so it is only right we all come together to support her and push for her to win. It would be incredible to see Hollie win as well as being able to boost our sport and the females within a male dominated sport. So of course, today’s post is all about Hollie Doyle and what she has managed to achieve in her short career so far.

Disclaimer: The facts, figures and stats are all from different sources online and I have simply compiled them altogether into one post, I have tried to use multiple sources to ensure all facts are as accurate as possible. I apologise if anything is incorrect. Please feel free to tweet me anything that may be incorrect so I can change it. At the time of writing this post 20/12/2020 all of the figures are accurate according to my online sources used. So with that being said… Let’s jump right into it.

Hollie Doyle was born on October 11th 1996 to parents Mark and Caroline, who both played a part in horse racing, so it was always meant to be. Mark being a former jockey and Caroline who rode in Arab horse races. From a very young age, Hollie became a part of the Herefordshire Pony Club and rode her first pony race at the age of nine.

At the age of just 16 on May 5th 2013, Hollie had her first ride under rules in a lady amateurs race, winning on The Mongoose at Salisbury in the 5:20pm for David Evans. And it seems that from that day on, there was no looking back for Hollie. That same summer, she went on to sit her GCSE’s’ before joining David Evans’ yard in Wales. She also spent six weeks in California that winter.

In 2014, Hollie moved on as an apprentice jockey to Richard Hannon’s yard in Wiltshire. In August 2017 Hollie won her first listed race on Billesdon Bess in the Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury, whilst still being an apprentice, before riding out her claim in November of that same year.

In 2019, Hollie set a new record for winners ridden in a British season by a female jockey, with an incredible 116 victories, passing the record of 106 which was set by Josephine Gordon in 2017.

On June 19th 2020 Hollie had her first ever win at Royal Ascot when she won on the 33/1 shot Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes for trainer Alan King. Shortly after, on July 9th 2020, Hollie rode her first Group race winner on Dame Malliot in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket for trainer Ed Vaughan. That same month, Hollie was named as a retained jockey for owner Imad Al Sagar, who she went on to win the Rose of Lancaster Stakes on Extra Elusive for only a month later, becoming Hollie’s second Group race win.

The season didn’t stop there, Hollie continued to break records and become a public figure very very quickly. On August 29th 2020 Hollie rode five winners in one day at Windsor, making her the first female jockey to ever win five races on the same card in Britain, another incredible achievement which threw Hollie into the spotlight once again. Not long after this, on October 14th 2020, Hollie rode her 117th winner of the season, breaking her own record from 2019. Only a few days later on October 17th Hollie became the first female jockey to ride a winner of Champions Day at Ascot winning on Trueshan at 11/1 in the Long Distance Cup for trainer Alan King, this was very shortly followed by Hollie’s first ever Group 1 when she won on the 16/1 shot Glen Shiel in the Champions Sprint for trainer Archie Watson.

In November 2020 Hollie was named The Sunday Times Sportwoman of the Year as well as finishing fourth in the Flat Jockey’s Championship which is the highest ever ranking for a woman.

Overall, a pretty incredible season for Hollie Doyle, who on December 1st 2020 was announced to be one of the nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award – Which goes ahead TONIGHT starting at 8pm on BBC 1, all votes will be cast once the show starts so make sure you watch the show to find out how you can make your vote count!

Now we’ve summarised how incredible Hollie Doyle is, I feel like we should back it up with some facts and figures, so lets jump into those! Again, I do want to emphasise that these facts and figures are from a range of sources and I have tried my best to ensure they are all accurate and correct, if there are slight differences, please do message me privately so I can correct those!

Hollie Doyle has had 3302 starts in her career, winning 422 of those and placing in 745. So if we break it down, that means Hollie has won 12.78% of her races and placed in 22.56%. Meaning she has won or placed in 35.34% of her career rides.

I don’t think this will come as a surprise to many, but the majority of Hollie’s wins in her career have came for Archie Watson. She has had 550 rides for Archie Watson, winning 112 and placing in 140. Followed by Richard Hannon, who she has rode for 332 times, winning 37 times and placing 79 times.

Following on from that, Hollie’s best strike rate is actually best for John Gosden, who Hollie has rode for 8 times, winning 5 times and placing twice. Therefore her win strike rate working out to 62.5%, her placed strike rate to 25% meaning her over all win/place strike rate is 87.5% when riding for John Gosden, quite extraordinary figures.

In terms of prize money, Hollie has won the most prize money when riding for Archie Watson, (using Google’s current exchange rate so this may vary). She has won 2,623,776 AUD which is around £1,478,580.42. Swiftly followed by Richard Hannon, who she has won 804,783 AUD which is around £453,520.57. And thirdly, Alan King, who Hollie has won 712,445 AUD which is around £401,485.20. Overall, under rules, since 2013 Hollie has won 8,937,837 AUD which is around £5,036,752.69.

Onto Hollie’s favourite UK racecourse – statistic wise, she has had the most wins at Wolverhampton, riding 472 rimes with 66 wins and 105 places. Meaning Hollie has won 13.98% of her rides at this venue and placed 22.25% times meaning overall she has won/placed in 36.23% of the rides she has had at Wolverhampton. In second place is Lingfield AW where she has had 367 rides, winning 59 times and placing 91 times, meaning she has won 16.07% of her rides, placed 24.80% times with an overall win/place percentage of 40.87%. And finally in third place, Kempton Park AW, where Hollie has rode 414 times, winning 45 times and placing 77 times, meaning she has won 10.87% of her rides here, placed 18.60% times with an overall win/place percentage of 29.47%.

Something I found interesting and wanted to just add in was the horses Hollie has had the most wins on. In first place is Tigerfish who Hollie has rode 18 times, winning 6 of those times. Secondly is Maystar who Hollie rode 12 times, winning 5 of those times and placing 4 times. And thirdly is Harrison Point who Hollie rode 9 times, winning 4 times and placing twice.

I have tried to keep this post as neutral as I possibly can using statistics alone to show who Hollie Doyle is and how her facts and figures line up. However now I will give a little bit of my opinion and I would love to hear yours over on social media!

I think Hollie is a credit to our sport, this year especially she has brought a new audience to our sport, she has been the face of British racing as a female in a male dominated sport and she is living proof that if you want to do something, male or female, you can do it if you put in the hard work and dedication. As a female myself, I find it inspiring to see Hollie doing so well in a sport that for many many years has been dominated by men, she is showing young girls that it is still possible to succeed in a sport like horse racing and I think that is so important. I have met Hollie a few times, cold nights at one of my local tracks Wolverhampton and she has always got a smile on her face, always willing to stop and talk to anyone, sign things, take photos, nothing is ever too much trouble for her and I love that about her. I am the same age has Hollie, literally born 3 weeks after her, and I could never imagine riding horses to the level she does, I have nothing but admiration for her and I feel truly inspired by her in terms of following my dream and doing what I love. I think we have a future Champion Jockey on our hands and personally I cannot wait for the day that she is given that crown.

I would love nothing more than to see Hollie Doyle win the Sports Personality of the Year Award 2020 and I think she truly deserves it. I will be voting and getting behind her and I hope everyone else can too. As soon as a live link is available via BBC to vote online I will share this on my social media as well as adding it to this blog post so we can all get behind her and vote for her to win.

Again, I love these sort of posts where I can dig into someone’s story and facts and figures and I will be doing many many more in 2021. If I don’t post before, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year, as much as possible in the current circumstances and I will see you all very very soon in my next post!

Visiting Charlie Poste and Francesca Nimmo’s Yard

Hi guys!

Today’s post is a very exciting one, it’s my first yard visit since the Coronavirus Pandemic started and boy it was an exciting one! I was lucky enough on Monday to visit Charlie Poste and Francesca Nimmo’s breaking in/point to point yard and it was definitely up there with one of my favourite visits. Back in March I interviewed Charlie (which you can read here: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2020/03/21/an-interview-with-charlie-poste/ ) and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so as he was so knowledgeable and he helped me to understand a lot about point to point and breaking in that I never previously knew, so I knew that this visit would be a very educational one and it did not disappoint! So, lets get straight into it!

We arrived at around 9am as the team were preparing to take some 3 and 4 year olds out. The team were all lovely and very welcoming as always! We were informed that Charlie and Francesca currently have around 60 horses, some of which they are breaking in and some of which they own themselves and are preparing for point to point races.

We headed down to the warm up area where the horses simply jumped over sets of tyres. Before heading into the field to see them do their work.

In between jumping the fences the jockey’s on board would tell Charlie and Francesca what they thought, whether a horse was jumping left or right, anything that may be slightly off etc, then Charlie and Francesca would switch the horse to another side or change the order they jumped and they would make sure they were taking on board the jockey’s opinions before switching what the horse was doing to ensure it was just as best as it possibly could be. I found it interesting listening to how they used the different things the jockey’s were saying to switch how things would be done next time round.

I asked the team a few questions as our morning went on, including how long it would take them to break a horse in. Charlie told us that normally a horse would stay with them for around 6 weeks, they would start a horse off stepping over a pole, then move onto a log, then onto a barrel, then the tyres and then finally over fences, this process would take around 4 weeks to get the horses comfortably jumping and cantering. I can honestly say I am amazed at the work Charlie and Francesca and their whole team do. From a horse that has never had someone on their back to a horse fully jumping fences in 6 weeks – that is pretty incredible.

I also asked about point to point racing as this is something I am not very knowledgeable and wanted to know more. Working at the yard is the Point to Point Men’s Champion Jack Andrews so of course their team know a thing or two about point to pointing. We were told that the rules are pretty much the exact same as regular under rules racing, however there are a few differences. For example, the weights are done totally different. For example, in a 4 and 5 year old race, 5 year olds may have a 12 stone weight across the board, however a lesser experienced 4 year old may have an 11 stone 7 weight across the board. As well as the jockeys who can ride in point to points, which is different. Anybody who is an amateur and below can ride. So essentially if you would like to ride in a point to point you would need a BHA jockey coach to sign you off to say you are competent enough to not be a danger to yourself or anyone else and then once you receive this certificate you are able to ride in a point to point race.

The horses we seen went over the tyre gallops to warm up before doing 2 or 3 rounds of jumps before being washed down and put on the walker to cool down. This is something that the team do daily.

Speaking with Charlie and Francesca you could see how passionate they both are about what they’re doing, they are both very much into the horses and racing and you can see the passion they have just by watching them at work. They also informed us that all decisions made are made between them. So, talking about decisions being made, I was very curious as to how they make a decision to buy a horse at the sales. If a trainer and/or owner is buying a horse they normally have a point to point back ground or an under rules race under their belts, so they can base their purchase off of that, however for Charlie and Francesca, they are buying a horse that has basically done nothing, so how do they choose what horses they want?

They told us that there’s an almost routine to choosing their horses. Firstly they will go to the sales and they won’t look in the catalogue beforehand, instead they simply do it from the gut feeling and the look of the horses when they see them in person. If a horse takes their interest it is only then that they will check the catalogue. When looking in the catalogue, Charlie told us is it Francesca who has an eye for the confirmations, for example if a horse has feet that turn in or out, or anything that may be of interest. They then go on to check the pedigree and see if this horse is going to be marketable later on in it’s life. Charlie explained to us that they have to be marketable as at the end of the day they run a business and there is no point in buying a horse that you cannot sell. Certain horses from certain Sire’s sell better than others and that’s just horse racing for you. After doing this, if they think this horse is the one they will set themselves a budget and they will go for it. If it goes past their budget they simply move on and try and find another.

Charlie and Francesca have had some brilliant success stories since starting up their business. Including Olly Murphy’s Thomas Darby who went on to come second in the Grade 1 Novice’s Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019 as well as going on to win the Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle back in January at Ascot. And another name some of you may recognise is Fergal O’Brien’s Courtandbould who just on Friday came second to McFabulous at Chepstow in the Grade 2 Novice’s Hurdle. Since leaving the yard and moving to Fergal’s Courtandbould has won 3 of his races, came second in 3 races and came third once. So he looks to be a very very classy horse and could go on to be something pretty special. However a slight sidenote to this story is that Courtandbould was purchased for a decent amount of money (out of respect for Charlie and Francesca I do not want to put this information out there) and after only managing to come second in his two Point to Point races, was sold for less than the price they paid. Charlie explained to us that sometimes you have to take the hit, it’s a business and sometimes you make money, sometimes you lose money and now he’s gone on to prove he’s a pretty decent horse.

Whilst at the yard we were also introduced to a few hopefully exciting future prospects. Including Fox in the Box who is by Presenting x Forces of Destiny – who Charlie actually mentioned in our interview in March – who unfortunately was due to ride a lot earlier in the year however due to Coronavirus hasn’t been able to run as of yet, however he is ready for a run pretty soon.

We also met a 3 year old unnamed by Jet Away x Cherry Island who was purchased for a decent amount of money and Charlie thinks could be an exciting horse in the future. He was such a calm horse and as you can see below, he was very interested in my phone. Genuinely one of the loveliest horses I have ever met.

Overall I think what Charlie and Francesca do is incredible. When we go to a race meeting you see the finished article, a horse jumping, running, winning but I think people forget that these horses start out with no idea what they’re doing and it’s people like Charlie, Francesca and their team who take them from having nobody on their back to jumping and racing. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with their team, they are all so knowledgeable and welcoming and I loved learning how a horse goes from zero to hero in such a short space of time. I was very impressed by the fact that they will only have a horse 6 weeks to break them in, in all honesty I had no idea how long it would take to break a horse in, but for some reason 6 weeks surprised me and seemed a very short space of time.

I want to thank Charlie and Francesca for allowing me to visit them and meet their gorgeous horses and really learn about the early steps in a horses career. I had the best time along with my parents and it really opened my eyes to a whole different sector of the sport that I hadn’t really looked into before.

I really hope you enjoyed this post and enjoyed an insight into the hard work and dedication it takes to get a horse up to the standard we all see at a racecourse! I will hopefully see you all in my next post!

AP McCoy – The Greatest of all Time?

Hi Guys!

So as this post goes live, the 11th of October it is actually my Dad’s Birthday. And as my Dad is one of my top supporters and is subscribed to my blog and will receive his weekly email, what better way to honour him and his special day than to do a post all about his favourite ever, all time jockey. Mr Anthony McCoy. I think we can all agree that he broke all sorts of records and will go down in history as one of the greatest. Even if you don’t follow horse racing you know the name AP McCoy. But I thought it would be super interesting to get into the nitty gritty and look at the facts and figures behind the great man and really investigate his career. I love these sorts of posts and find them so interesting to research and write up and the response I had from my followers in regards to my Ryan Moore post were incredible so I will hopefully be making this into a series where I look at jockeys and trainers and really investigate their story and their career.

Disclaimer: The facts, figures and stats are all from different sources online and I have simply compiled them altogether into one post, I have tried to use multiple sources to ensure all facts are as accurate as possible. I apologise if anything is incorrect. Please feel free to tweet me anything that may be incorrect so I can change it. At the time of writing this post 10/10/20 all of the figures are accurate according to my online sources used. So with that being said… Let’s jump right into it.

Sir Anthony Peter McCoy was born on May 4th 1974 in Moneyglass, County Antrim, making him currently 46 years old. He rode his first winner at just 17 years old on March 26th 1992 for Jim Bolger on a horse called Legal Steps at Thurles Racecourse in Ireland. Initially AP was an apprentice for Jim and whilst riding out for him one morning he suffered a really horrible fall and ended up with a broken leg. By the time he recovered he had continued to grow taller and decided at this point that it was best to become a jump jockey.

It was then in 1994 AP moved across the Irish Sea and began riding in England. It didn’t take long for AP to have his first winner on English soil. On September 7th 1994 he won at Exeter for Gordon Edwards on Chickabiddy. In his first full season in the UK he was a conditional jockey for Toby Balding which ended with him winning the Conditional Jump Jockey’s Title in 1995 before becoming the Champion Jockey for the first time in 1996.

After his very successful start in the UK, AP attracted the attention of the leading trainer Martin Pipe and an upcoming current leading trainer Paul Nicholls. In 1997 he joined forces with Martin Pipe which proved to be a very strong partnership which dominated National Hunt Racing.

By the new millennium AP McCoy had set a new National Hunt record for winners in a season with 253, he equalled the record of five winners at the 1998 Cheltenham Festival and he also became the fastest jockey to reach 100 winners in a season in 2001. He went on to beat Gordon Richards record for the total number of winners ridden in a season which was held since 1947. McCoy has always said this is his biggest achievement, despite all of his success after this. On December 11th 1999 AP rode his 1000th winner Majadou at Cheltenham.

He broke the record on Valfonic at Warwick on April 2nd 2002 and then went on to set a new record of 289 winners in a season. On August 27th 2002, he rode Might Montefalco at Uttoxeter to victory which meant he had surpassed Richard Dunwoody’s all time jumps record and became the leading jumps jockey.

AP joined forces with JP McManus in 2004 after reportedly being offered a £1 million a year retainer.

On January 17th 2004 AP rode his 2000th winner Magical Bailiwick at Wincanton. On October 3rd 2006, he then won his 2500th winner Kanpai at Huntingdon. He then reached 3000 winners just 3 years later when winning on Restless D’Artaix for Nicky Henderson on February 9th 2009.

At this point, AP McCoy had won pretty much every race he could win, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Chase, King George VI Chase and so much more, he still hadn’t won the Grand National. He had finished 3rd three times, in 2001 and 2002 on Martin Pipe’s Blowing Wind and in 2005 on Jonjo O’Neill’s joint favourite Clan Royal who was still traveling well until he was hampered by a loose horse. Finally, on his 15th attempt Anthony Peter McCoy won the Grand National on April 10th 2010 on Jonjo O’Neill’s horse Don’t Push It owned by J.P McManus.

After winning the Grand National, AP was named the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and therefore became the first jockey to win the award.

On November 7th 2013, AP had his 4000th career win on Jonjo O’Neill’s Mountain Tunes at Towcester. On December 16th of the same year AP reached the 150 winners landmark after riding a double at Ffos Las. This was the 18th time out of the 20 season he had been riding in Britain that he surpassed 150 winners. He was then crowned Champion Jockey for the 19th consecutive time, extending his record even further.

The next year on June 10th 2014, AP recorded his fastest ever half century of winners after winning on Bob Keown for Rebecca Curtis at Worcester. He reached 50 winners in just 44 days. That same season on July 19th 2014, AP reached a huge milestone by surpassing 4191 winners which his friend and mentor Martin Pipe achieved before retirement in 2006. He then broke his own record for the fastest century of winners in a season, his 100th winner coming on Arabic History at Newton Abbot on August 21st just 116 days into the season, beating his previous record of 130.

AP McCoy then announced live on Channel 4 that he would be retiring at the end of the 2014-2015 National Hunt Season after winning the Game Spirit Chase on Mr Mole which was his 200th win of the season. His last professional ride would be the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April 2015.

In the 2016 New Year Honours, Anthony Peter McCoy was knighted for his services to horse racing.

So, onto the important facts and figures.

Firstly, the big wins in AP McCoy’s career. The list is a pretty long one, so bare with me.

Firstly his Cheltenham Festival winners:

  • Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle x 3
  • Arkle Challenge Trophy x 3
  • Byrne Group Plate x 1
  • Cathcart Challenge Cup x 2
  • Champion Bumper x 1
  • Champion Hurdle x 3
  • Cheltenham Gold Cup x 2
  • County Hurdle x 2
  • Festival Trophy Handicap Chase x 1
  • JLT Novices’ Chase x 2
  • Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase x 1
  • Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase x 3
  • Pertemps Final x 1
  • Queen Mother Champion Chase x 1
  • RSA Chase x 1
  • Ryanair Chase x 3
  • Supreme Novices’ Hurdle x 1

Next up is his major nationals:

  • English Grand National x 1
  • Irish Grand National x 1
  • Midlands Grand National x 1
  • Scottish Grand National x 1
  • Welsh Grand National x 1

The list is endless so I haven’t included absolutely every big win AP has won, but there is just a little insight.

Sir Anthony Peter McCoy to this day, holds the record for the most wins with a massive 4358, including 4348 jumps and 10 flat. The closest to him is Richard Johnson, who currently, at the time of writing this has 3745 wins. AP rode 17630 horses to get his 4358 wins meaning he won 24.72% of his rides.

Interestingly, AP McCoy won most of his rides for Jonjo O’Neill with 808. Secondly is Martin Pipe with 694. Thirdly is Nicky Henderson with 197. Again these stats were found only on one source so I’m hoping they are as accurate as possible.

As far as my research took me, I found that AP has also rode a winner at every racecourse in the UK apart from Epsom Downs and Goodwood. Don’t quote me on this as I could only find it on one source!

Now, like with Ryan Moore, I searched high and low to find accurately how much prize money AP McCoy won and after a lot of research I found that he made £39,299,843 in total.

Overall I think everyone knows Sir AP McCoy is one of the best jockeys of all time and certainly the best I have ever seen in my life time. Personally I don’t see someone over taking the records he has set in a very long time – if ever.

Before I finish I wanted to include a photo I have found. AP McCoy basically broke every bone in his body whilst riding and still came through it to continue.

What do you think? Is AP McCoy the best of all time? Also, who else would you like me to research into? Please let me know via Twitter! On another note, I was lucky enough to interview AP McCoy back in March at the Cheltenham Festival and you can read that right here if you haven’t already: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2020/03/11/an-interview-with-20-time-champion-jockey-ap-mccoy/

This one was a tough one to write up as I have read different figures on different pages so I didn’t know what was 100% accurate, so it took a lot of different sources stating the same things before I wrote it. If anything is incorrect then please do let me know via Twitter.

See you in the next post!

1913: The Forgotten Epsom Derby Winner

Hiya guys!

Today’s post is another part of my Horse Racing History series. It is a little bit of a shorter story but one I found interesting and wanted to share.

On the 4th of June 1913, it was the 134th running of the Epsom Derby. And in a massive twist of events, Aboyeur won at 100/1 for jockey Edwin Piper and trainer Alan Cunliffe. However his win was very much overshadowed by other events that happened at Epsom on that day.

The race is now regarded as one of the world’s most famous horse races of all time, but it isn’t for the performance of the horses on the track. Let’s jump straight into why this 1913 Derby is so highly remembered.

The day starting off pretty normally with no major issues. When the Derby started – again no major issues, until there was an interference. Craganour, ridden by Johnny Reiff, hung left bumping into Aboyeur who then veered towards the railing and by doing so badly hampered Shogun, Louvois and Day Comet. Aboyeur’s jockey Edwin Piper then struck him with his whip in his left hand, which caused him to hang sharply back into the centre of the track again colliding with Craganour and attempting to bite him.

Into the final furlong Reiff had his whip in his right hand and Piper had his whip in his left hand which lead to the horses continuously bumping into each other, eventually Craganour crossed the line first just ahead of Aboyeur.

After a brief pause, Mr Robinson, the judge for the race announced the result stating that Craganour was first with Aboyeur second and Louvois third, controversially missing Day Comet who was on the inside who had been obscured by the other runners. However the result was not made official until the Stewards announced they were happy with the race and everything was okay.

After a short delay, as expected, the result was withdrawn. It was announced that an official objection had been made against the winner, however not by a rival jockey, but by the Stewards themselves. Which led to a very lengthy Stewards enquiry.

Finally, after interviewing the jockeys and the judge, the Stewards disqualified Craganour on the grounds that he had failed to keep a straight course and therefore ‘jostled’, ‘bumped and bored’ and ‘interfered’ with other runners. Therefore it was announced that Aboyeur would be awarded the race, winning at 100/1.

Even though the race itself was full of drama during and after, that was not the reason that the race was remembered, it was something far more sinister. It was due to the death of suffragette Emily Davison.

So, who was Emily Davison? Born on the October 11th 1872, Emily Wilding Davison was an English suffragette who fought for women’s rights to vote. Before this incident she had been arrested on nine occasions, went on hunger strike seven times and was force fed on forty nine occasions. She grew up in a middle-class family and studied at the Royal Holloway College in London and the St Hugh’s College in Oxford before becoming a teacher and governess. In 1906 aged 34 she joined the Woman’s Social and Political Union also known as the WSPU and pretty soon she became an officer of the organisation and a chief steward during marches. She was known within the organisation for her daring militant action, with her tactics including breaking windows, throwing stones, setting fire to postboxes and on three occasions, hiding overnight in the Palace of Westminster.

So, why did her death cause the Derby to be overshadowed? Well, that’s because her death was directly caused by the race, at the race course, by a horse in the race.

Emily Davison was stood at the Tattenham Corner, the bend before the home straight. Some horses passed her and at this point she ducked under the guard rail and ran onto the course. She reached up and grabbed the reins of Anmer – King George V’s horse who was being ridden by Herbert Jones. She was hit by the horse who would have been travelling at around 35mph within four seconds of her stepping onto the track. Anmer fell during this collision and rolled over his jockey who’s foot had got caught in the stirrup. Emily was knocked to the ground and reportedly kicked in the head, however a surgeon who later operated on her said that:

I could find no trace of her having been kicked by a horse.”

The whole event was captured by three news cameras, being broadcast to thousands as well as an estimated 500,000 people in attendance including the King and Queen. It is still unclear to this day as to what her purpose in attending the Derby and walking onto the course was, she had not discussed her plan with anyone or left a note. However several theories have been raised, these include, she was intending to cross the track and believed all of the hoses had passed or she wanted to simply pull the King’s horse down or she was trying to attach a WSPU flag to a horse or that she just intended to throw herself in front of a horse.

Bystanders rushed onto the track and attempted to help jockey Herbert Jones as well as Emily Davison and they were both taken to the Epsom Cottage Hospital. Whilst in hospital she received a large amount of hate mail from the thousands who had witnessed the whole event either in person or via the news.

Two days later on the June 6th she was operated on in hospital however she never regained consciousness and subsequently, four days later on June 8th at just 40 years old Emily’s injuries proved fatal as she died in hospital.

The only belongings found with Davison were two suffragette flags, the return stub of her railway ticket to London, her race card, a ticket to a suffragette dance later that evening and a diary with appointments for the following week. These belongings alone suggest that whatever her intentions were on this day, she did not plan on her life being ended.

As I previously mentioned, King George V and Queen Mary were both present at the race and it was in fact the King’s horse that Emily grabbed onto. They both enquired about the health of both Emily and Herbert whilst they were in hospital. As we know, Emily died, however Herbert luckily got away with mild concussion and other minor injuries, he spent one night in hospital before returning home on June 5th. He later said he could only recall a very small part of the event stating:

She seemed to clutch at my horse and I felt it strike her.”

Luckily he recovered pretty quickly and was able to ride Anmer at Ascot two weeks later. Anmer luckily remained uninjured in the whole event.

Interestingly, the King and Queen also both had opinions of the event that they recorded in their own personal journals. With the King stating it was:

A most regrettable and scandalous proceeding.”

With the Queen simply stating that Emily Davison was a:

Horrid woman.”

On June 10th there was an inquest held into Emily Davison’s death, Herbert Jones was not in attendance due to his health not permitting him to be fit enough to do so. Many spoke at the inquest including Captain Henry Davison – Emily’s half brother. The coroner said that in the absence of any evidence to prove so, Emily Davison did not commit suicide, instead the final verdict of the inquest was read as follows:

Miss Emily Wilding Davison died of a fracture of the base of the skull, caused by being accidentally knocked down by a horse through wilfully rushing on to the racecourse on Epsom Downs during the progress of the race for the Derby; death was due to misadventure.”

On June 14th Davison’s body was taken from Epsom to London where a service was held at St George’s in Bloomsbury, before being taken by train to Newcastle upon Tyne to the St Mary the Virgin church for her funeral which was watched by thousands.

This race is now known as the world’s most famous horse race due to the death of Emily Davison and not for the very controversial events in the race that day. Aboyeur, the eventual winner won at 100/1 which is something pretty special, but unfortunately his win is completely forgotten.

Personally, I have read so many articles about Emily and this day in particular and I have no idea why she did what she did. Of course, any life lost is horrible, but I don’t think people really ever looked into why. For an inquest to come back with a verdict of ‘misadventure’ I think is a little disappointing. I think if this had happened in today’s world, they would have had psychiatrists speak up about the event and potentially understand why or how this was allowed to happen. Aside from that, I do think it’s a real shame that Aboyeur managed to win at 100/1 in what sounds like a very action packed race but this was all overlooked.

I do just want to add that if you choose to do your own research into this story please please be careful as there are pictures and videos of the incident, they are really poor quality, however this may still be distressing for some.

I found this such an interesting story to research as it is one I have never heard of, so I hope you all enjoyed. See you all very very soon!