Today I am bringing you an interview with flat jockey Ben Curtis. I really hope you enjoy!
Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?
Ben: I think my favourite win so far was an early one. The Irish Lincoln on Drombeg Dawn at the Curragh. It was a race that helped kick start my career on a bigger scale.
Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?
Ben: A horse I was close to working for John Oxx at the time, Sea The Stars was a horse I would have loved to have ridden in a race. He oozed class in all aspects.
Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?
Ben: I believe as a sport we have bent over backwards to co-operate with all of the bad publicity this subject receives. There is no whips in racing as it is! We are using pillows on sticks. They do not cause any pain only persuade horses through sound. Either way they are always going to be needed for safety purposes and I believe that as long as we, as jockeys, stay within the rules and guidelines that are currently set, the current situation should not be looked at again to appease anyone and we now need to stand our ground on this matter.
Me: As a jockey, weight is obviously a huge thing for you guys, so what would you eat on a regular day? Are there any periods across the year where you can actually just eat everything and anything or is it a strict kind of diet all year round?
Ben: As a jockey I believe it’s hard for anyone to stick to a routine diet with the amount of travelling involved, logistically it is near impossible to plan. Personally I don’t eat breakfast and would often miss lunch. But I love an evening meal and I live by the philosophy once you burn more than you put in then you won’t put on weight. It’s very simple.
Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?
Ben: Anyone who considers horse racing as cruel are misinformed and uneducated on the matter. These horses receive five star treatment. They are bred to do a job and love what they do. And a visit to any racing stables will highlight the regard and love these horses receive.
Me: Racing is an all year round sport, so when you do get some down time, what do you like to do?
Ben: It all depends on what you plan for the year. Whether it is to take some downtime in the winter, attack the all weather or focus on jobs abroad. Downtime for me is rare as I like to keep busy and competitive throughout the year. But when I do, I like to spend time with my family and love a day out with a few beers and music with friends and depending on the amount of beers a possible dance.
Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?
Ben: Mick Kinane was always my idol, but presently looking up to Ryan Moore and Frankie (Dettori) two completely different characters but both masters of their trade.
Me: What is one race you’d love to win?
Ben: I’m not pinpointing one but there are a few, the Nunthope as I love York, the Derby or any race at Royal Ascot.
Me: What’s your overall goal in racing over the upcoming few years?
Ben: My main goal first and foremost is riding winners but a group one is my ultimate and what I put all the work in with a view of achieving.
Me: What would be your ‘horse to watch’ for the next season or two?
Ben: I think Lord Of The Lodge is a classy animal and when the ground is soft a horse called Ainsdale could turn into a high class sprinter.
Me: What is your favourite racecourse to ride at and why?
Ben: York and Ascot are both exceptional tracks to ride and both get large crowds and have an atmosphere to boot.
Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?
Ben: If you are lucky enough to pursue a job or career that you love, put in the hours, do the work and don’t give up. There are a lot of downs in any career choice but once the highs outweigh them you are on the right track. Always look at where your going, not where you’ve been!
Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you to Ben for taking some time out to speak with me. He gave some brilliant answers and I really enjoyed this one, I hope you guys enjoyed it too!
I will see you all next Saturday at 11am for An Interview with Max Kendrick!