Today’s post is with the lovely Georgia Cox who is currently an apprentice jockey for William Haggas, she has gave a cracking interview with some brilliant, detailed answers and I thoroughly hope you enjoy!
Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?
Georgia: Theydon Grey’s hat trick on the Knavesmire definitely stands out in my mind. looking back now wish I had of enjoyed those days more, as I know now more often that not things don’t always go to plan or as perfectly as we did. Sheikh Ahmed’s yellow and black silks have always been my favourite, having been able to ride a lot of nice horses for him and his team. So, bringing any of their horses back to the winner’s enclosure means a lot to me. I have always loved watching Mtoto’s replays who of course is also the sire of the great Shaamit and a huge part of Somerville Lodge history!
Me: If you could ride any horse, that you never had, past or present, which horse would you choose?
Georgia: This is probably a biased answer but for me it would be Sea of Class. If anyone had read the newsletter I wrote, they would know my thoughts about her greatness. She had a breathtaking presence, an extraordinary aura and gumption beyond belief. She was just completely unique.
Me: What are you opinions surrounding the discussion of banning the whip?
Georgia: This topic has been done to a death. For me it’s about as boring as Brexit and the question “what’s it like being a girl race riding” Nothing annoys me more than our sport getting a slating. I have felt a smack by other riders during a tight finish so I know that it does not hurt. Unfortunately, horses can’t speak English so you use actions to explain the game, it’s used to keep them going, to cajole them into line. It’s similar to a boxer getting a slap/receipt from their coach. It’s a means to get them to concentrate. These horses weight 500kgs, the stick is air cushioned and it lands on the thickest bit of flesh when their adrenaline is at a high. They are naturally flight animals, but often when I’m waiting to get the leg up in the mornings, my horse will play with my stick, I could rub it all over their face without them flinching. If they associated it with pain, there is no way I would be able to do that, ill-formed and uneducated perception of the stick is ancient.
Me: You ride for William Haggas, as an apprentice jockey, What is it like working for him?
Georgia: I walked in to Somerville Lodge fresh faced at 16 and very shy. Once I started to find my feet, my passion grew stronger and talking about the horses is how I found my voice. 98% of my vocabulary might be horses but that’s when I’m most confident doing what I love. Our horses have everything they could possibly need from: treadmills; salt boxes; vibe plates; 5 horse walkers; spa’s; physio’s; top class farriers and vets and heat lamps fitted everywhere that is possible. So much thought goes into these animals everyday rituals. Having been nearly 7 years now I know a lot of their pedigrees first hand which I find particularly interesting finding the traits they pass down their family. I know our yard like the back of my hand and everything gets done to the highest standard. Somerville Lodge is where the attention to detail and organisation gets taken to another level our horses certainly live the riches life.
Me: What is your favourite race course and why?
Georgia: I have had some great days at York in the past. The facilities there are top class, it’s a very fair track and the best horse always wins. It’s topped off by always having a good atmosphere too. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Me: What is one race that you’d love to win?
Georgia: The Derby is the race that every jockey dreams about winning. Even people who are not into racing know about how prestigious the Derby is.
Me: What would be your horse to watch for the next season or two?
Georgia: It’s hard to pick just one right now, so many unexposed raw types with so much potential especially at this time of year when they are all coming back in from their winter holidays. Strengthened up, fresh and raring to go. The dream is very much intact for all. They are getting back into their individual routines suited best for them so we are all hoping that ducklings have turned into swans and their top class pedigrees shine through.
Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?
Georgia: As mentioned above, I’ve been at Somerville Lodge since I was 16 so I can only say based on our yard and if every yard is like ours, no one would dare question the welfare of our horses. We look after our horses better than we do ourselves, the minute details never go amiss for each individual horse. I know every single one of our horses from sight, pedigree, conformation, character and racing form. These horses are the best looked after animals in the country. If you ever look through the photos in our phones you’ll be swamped with so many photos of horses. They truly are the apple of our eyes.
The racing photographers and twitter pages (like Racing tales/Micheal Harris) should also be commended as pictures can say a thousand words, the moments captured between grooms and horse you can see the love in there eyes. Good twitter pages should be shown support by the likes of itv racing to get more people hooked deeper into the history of the sport. I think all the yards should be more transparent and you will find more video gems like the Harry Bentley in the stalls to go viral, as things like that happen constantly everyday.
There are so many stories in racing that should get made into movies like Frankel is great but I’d love to see one on the great Sir Henry Cecil himself and how inspiring his journey was. To hit the heights that he did, to then go between 2000 – 2006 not having a single group 1 winner in 2005 only trained a dozen winners to go from 200 horses shrank to 50 how he came back from that is an inspirational story that everyone could do with!
Racing tickets should be cheaper and there should be more competitions for people to win tickets/ merchandise. We are always happy to see more young people to cherish the roots of racing instead of just going for the music concert after. All the good that our sport does could do with being exposed more. There are so many issues with social media and young people these days. Horses are an escape from that. They don’t judge you, they don’t care what you look like or how many followers you have. You see when you have such a strong passion about something, it gives you something to focus on, when other in life is going wrong it’s something to turn too, perhaps even a sense of purpose and direction in life, these days so much of our lives are consumed into staring endlessly at our phones that seem to takes over so much of our lives. when social media gets to much you can always count on the horses to be there waiting for you, they are always happy to see you and can only be good for mental health.
These equine athletes earn us a living and none of them owe us anything. Every horse that comes through our yard, I follow their journey after they leave wherever that might be that they go to. I have many pictures of them in retirement. They give us a reason to get up in the morning. I, like so many others would be lost without these animals. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. A contagious, infectious, addictive lifestyle. It’s a passion like no other. It’s a game like no other where adrenaline is on tap. It’s living in the fast lane. We are the sport of kings and we shall drown out the nonsense.
Me: What is your favourite day of the racing calendar?
Georgia: Royal Ascot has to be the pinnacle of the sport. Five days packed full of top class racing. So much history and so many superstars, human and equine, have passed under that tunnel. It is where dreams are either made or shattered. It is something that every jockey owner, breeder and trainer want on their CV, a Royal Ascot winner.
Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or otherwise?
Georgia: If you have a passion for something, follow it. Mine has taken me all over the world and led me to a pretty exciting life. I believe having a good work ethic can get you anywhere. Life is a marathon not a sprint but have your blinkers on to remain focused and un-distracted from your goals. The quickest way to get somewhere is a straight line after all. Having good people around you is important, as a support system but also to inspire you and help you achieve your best. It’s not what happens in life, it’s about how you deal with it all. Be humble and laugh it off!
Me: You have previously ridden in the Queen’s colours, how special was that for you?
Georgia: It’s something I’ve always dreamed of and hugely proud of, to be able to put her majesty famous silks on, has been an absolute honour and I wish there to be many more times ahead yet!
Interviewing Georgia was fantastic, she is so open and passionate about the sport it is incredible to see. So firstly, as always, I want to say a massive thank you to Georgia for taking the time out to have a chat with me and answer some questions.
I really hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it.