Today I am bringing you an interview with Tom Garner who is Oliver Sherwood’s stable jockey. I hope you enjoy!
Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?
Tom: There’s been a few that meant a lot but probably winning the two Grade 1’s I won last year in Saratoga on Winston C – A horse that I brought from England. It was the first Grade 1’s as a jockey and as a bloodstock agent.
Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?
Tom: Many Clouds. I rode him a lot at home and would have loved to have ridden him on the track, he’s the best horse I have ever sat on.
Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?
Tom: I think the public need to be educated more about the stick and how we use it. I agree with the current rules, but if a horse isn’t going to go for one smack, it’s not going to go for multiple. So young lads starting out should be better educated on how to make a horse go without having to resort to the stick.
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?
Tom: I’m lucky that my weight is okay at the moment, but I have been up to over 11 stone when I should be about 10 stone. I find alcohol is the worst for my weight and unfortunately for me, I love beer, but when it comes to eating I don’t watch it too much, just when I need to. I’ve lost over 7 pounds before in 24 hours, which isn’t advisable. But I just do plenty of exercise most days and I ride out and that keeps it level.
Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?
Tom: Again, the same as the stick. The public need to be better educated before they have opinions. If they saw the way the horses are cared for and the love of the horses from the stable staff who look after them day in, day out then a lot of people would change their minds.
Me: Racing is an all year round sport, so when you do get some down time, what do you like to do?
Tom: It’s hard for me to get away as I ride in England during the winter and America during the summer, but when we have had a few days before, I’ve been skiing with a few other lads or try and get to Dubai to visit friends who are riding out there, otherwise the days I have off I usually go out hunting or shooting.
Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?
Tom: Two people I have looked up to have recently retired. They are Noel Fehily and Leighton Aspell, both have helped me massively during my career.
Me: What is one race you’d love to win?
Tom: Obviously the Grand National or the Gold Cup. But I have finished 2nd and 3rd in the Pardubice so coming that close has made me want to win it even more.
Me: What’s your overall goal in racing over the upcoming few years?
Tom: I want to be Champion Jockey in America and come back and keep a good relationship with the trainers in England and win as many horses as I can, whilst I can.
Me: What would be your ‘horse to watch’ for the next season or two?
Tom: England would be a horse of Ben Pauling’s called Your Darling and America would be Winston C. He has a lot more good days ahead of him.
Me: What is your favourite race course to ride at and why?
Tom: I love Sandown. I’ve had a lot of good days with Rayvin Black and I love riding over fences there.
Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?
Tom: Someone said to me when I was starting out ‘work will overcome talent if talent doesn’t work hard’. Just to work as hard as you can and take advice from older lads in the weighing room. The most talented rider isn’t always the best jockey if he or she doesn’t work hard.
As always, first things first, I want to thank Tom for taking the time to speak with me, I know he is super busy whilst riding in America currently so I appreciate making the time to answer a few questions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this interview so I hope you guys did too. I will see you all next Saturday at 11am for An Interview with Liam Keniry.