Worcester Races + EXCLUSIVE Interview with Richard Johnson

worcester

Hey guys!

So this is probably my most anticipated post EVER. So many people who knew about my interview with Richard Johnson have been super excited to be able to read it, especially a very very EXCLUSIVE never before discussed Cheltenham Festival tip, which will be hidden somewhere in this post so make sure you read all the way through! 

So onto the post… I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely people at Worcester Racecourse to a day of racing to experience their track and to interview a jockey or trainer of my choice. I chose one of the most successful jockeys of our time and the current Champion Jockey Richard Johnson, so that interview will be all included in this post. The aim of this collaboration is to show people, especially younger people that horse racing is not animal cruelty like most people think, in fact, these horses are some of the best treated animals I have ever seen. The people who care for them have true love and adoration for their animal and they treat them like royalty. 

Firstly I would like to thank Worcester especially Katherine who arranged for this to happen, I am super grateful for the opportunity to work with them as a company. The racecourse in itself is probably one of my favourite courses that I have been to. It is quite an open course so from the stands you can see 99% of the course, some courses I have been to the most part is behind trees etc and you don’t see much apart from the home straight, so I loved the fact it was so open and you could see the majority of the course. I attended Worcester twice within a few days, once invited and then I decided to go again on my own accord and I love it as a course overall. 

For me, I have always loved horse racing, it is something my parents, especially my dad, watched a lot whilst I was growing up and I took a real interest in it at around 16/17 years old, at 18 I began working for a bookmakers, which made me even more interested in horse racing as I was around it all day, every day and since then I have fallen in love with attending different courses, seeing different horses, meeting different jockeys and trainers and it really is something I enjoy doing.

Over the two days I was lucky enough to meet a few different people, including Jonjo O’Neil and Nicky Henderson, two world class trainers as well as Chris Hughes from Love Island who was part of the Jonjo O’Neil team and someone I never imagined I would meet as he very very rarely rides outside or Ireland, Barry Geraghty which was truly an honour as a massive horse racing fan.

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And of course I met the incredible Richard Johnson who I had the privilege of interviewing. So here is the part you have all been waiting for. I sound recorded the interview, so here it is written word for word how it went down. Including the very exclusive Cheltenham tip so do not miss that part!

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

Richard: Definitely not. To be honest anyone that thinks that they should always come and actually see what the horses do on a daily basis. They are literally cared for 24 hours a day, you know in great accommodation, their stables are fantastic, they literally have first class treatment you know, they get fed 3 or 4 times a day and they are cared for and the girls and lads that look after the horses, they’re like their pets basically. They don’t own them obviously, but they look after them as if they’re their own. And they have a fantastic life and they enjoy racing, no way in the world me as a jockey could make one of these horse jump one of these fences today you, know. I can physically make them go over, you know they have to enjoy it. Yes, unfortunately there are injuries along the way and that’s sad for everybody, but erm you know. The horses do enjoy it and I rode ponies when I was young because I enjoyed it and we all get enjoyment out of it and hopefully the public that come racing regularly, that’s what they see and enjoy.

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

Richard: Oh god, it’s hard. I’m very spoilt because obviously I get to ride lots of nice horses as well. But I think the Cheltenham Festival is four days rather than one day but the Cheltenham Festival it’s a big build up throughout the whole season. That’s like our Olympics or World Championship I suppose, each year. The Irish come over in their droves to come to the races and the horses, it’s a massive outing, the Irish horses come over to run and yeah the four days at Cheltenham, obviously I’m from Hereford, not far from Cheltenham and I’ve lived around there for a long time so the atmosphere there is fantastic and anyone that, Worcester is obviously a great track for the Summer, but Cheltenham, if you want to go and get the atmosphere of a big race day there’s no better place.

Me: Do you miss AP (McCoy)? And if you, what’s the biggest thing that you miss about him?

Richard: I miss him. I miss him in the weighing room because he was a great friend obviously and I rode with him for over twenty years, so erm yeah we were great friends and I miss him as a great friend in the weighing room. I don’t miss him on the race course, in the fact he used to beat me regularly. But again, he was great to ride with because he was a great jockey and you know, it helped me try to chase him and made me more hungry and hungry to try and ride more winners and try to beat him and you know we had a great sort of competitiveness between us and erm again, we were also great friends and we had ups and downs and you know we both had good and bad days so you know it was always nice to have a friend in the weighing room to talk to as well.

Me: Looking ahead to the new National Hunt Season horses, what do you think will be your best ride at Cheltenham?

Richard: Oh gosh, again, very hard, like we just said Cheltenham is a long long way away but even now people are still talking about it. Erm, I would love to think Native River could come back in the Gold Cup and go two spots better than he did last year. He was 3rd in the race last year and ran really really well. Erm you know, this season we will be geared for him to be running in the Gold Cup again so I suppose he’s my big hope. I think for me, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is, I’ve been very lucky to win it once before a long time ago in 2000 but if I could win in any race that would be the one I would like to win.

Me: Do you every get nervous before or during a race?

Richard: Erm, I think I always get a little bit nervous before a race, I think you, you want the horse to perform to it’s best level it can, erm you’re always thinking about the race and trying to work out what you want to do and you’ve always got a plan, plans don’t always go exactly how you want, but again that’s sort of you know, you’re always, you just want things to go right and as soon as you jump off in the race, your focus is on what’s going on and I think a little bit of nerves is probably a good thing. If you’re not nervous at all then you’re a bit over confident and sometimes, yeah it’s never good to be over confident.

Me: During your time as a jockey, what has changed in regards to social media being introduced and younger fans?

Richard: Erm, massively. You know obviously even you know, with two racing channels now on TV and social media whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or all the other things, you’re sort of out in public light I suppose and you know you’ll have good days where obviously you’ll get lots of lovely messages and good praise and then obviously you have bad days where things don’t go right and you know you get the other side of it. And it is sad, you’ll read things about yourself and think everybody out there is doing their best and you know, mistakes can happen and do happen and that’s a part of life really. Sometimes stuff that is put on some of the social media isn’t very pleasant and it would be lovely to think there is a way of stopping it but that’s life and I think we’ve all seen good and bad social media but on the whole social media is brilliant, it gives everyone a chance to have an opinion and hopefully everyone’s got the common sense behind what they say as well.

Me: What’s your most memorable race, win or lose?

Richard: Erm, again, erm, I suppose, erm.. two really. Rooster Booster winning the Champion Hurdle, again, a few years ago now erm, he literally, I was a passenger. I went around on his back and he travelled really well, he jumped fantastic and he flew up the hill at Cheltenham. And honestly, I can’t believe, even to this day, how easily he won. Erm, it was just, yeah, a dream ride for me and I suppose finishing second in the Grand National on Balthazar King, he was just an amazing horse for use for a long time and I must admit going to the last, I thought I was going to win and from the last to the winning post we just couldn’t get past the one in front and he gave two hundred percent and you know there was no disappointment, it was just you know sad for him not to win, but again I had an amazing ride on him and I suppose, yeah, that’s the one, I finished second but it was still an amazing ride.

Me: Does it still play on your mind that you haven’t won the (Grand) National yet?

Richard: Erm, it’s obviously a race I would like to win. Erm, I mean again, I’ve been second in it twice and sometimes when you finish second it’s almost worse than finishing third because you think well if this and if that and erm, the Grand National is one of those races I think you’ve got to take what you’re given really because you never really know what’s out there with forty horses running in the race. Erm, I’ve had lots of good rides in it and again we’ve gone close twice and it’s a race I would like to win before we finish.

Me: We go to the Gold Cup and Grand National next year for the first time so no pressure.

Richard: If I win both the Gold Cup and Grand National next year, if that’s the case you’ll have to come to every Gold Cup and Grand National after that.

I just want to take a moment to thank Richard for being one of the loveliest people, this was my first time interviewing someone so I am so grateful he was so lovely, patient and kind when with us. He was also super honest and so easy to get a long with whilst asking him questions and having a chat.

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For me, you’ve heard it from the current champion jockey just how in love and well looked after the horses are. He said that the horse is 5 times the size of a jockey so they wouldn’t be able to force it to do something it just didn’t want to do, so clearly the horses enjoy it or they wouldn’t be there doing it. Did you all pick up the cheeky Cheltenham tip too? Native River is currently being rode out and geared up for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and himself and the team think he has a better chance this year. So definitely a horse to keep your eye on as he is already in training for the big race!

I am so happy and grateful I had this opportunity and really can’t thank Worcester, Katherine and Richard enough for everything. Worcester have one last race day this year so check out their website here if you’d like to attend that, something I definitely recommend: http://www.worcester-racecourse.co.uk/

I personally love horse racing, the atmosphere is great and in person you really do see how well looked after the horses are and I would recommend it to anyone. If you’re a student, Katherine did inform me that they have started doing a student race day at Worcester, normally held in May, so definitely keep your eye out for that because it is such an interesting sport and a great day out for families, friends, couples, everybody can enjoy it.

I really hope the wait for this post was worth it, I hope you enjoy my very first ever interview and I hope you keep your eyes peeled for Richard Johnson’s tip. I will see you all in my next post!

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Hoodie Allen: The Hype Album First Impressions/FULL Review

My Weight Loss Story + Advice and Tips!

Hey guys!

So it’s been a little while since I last posted, mainly due to the fact I have been super busy organising my 21st birthday party which is only 4 weeks away (how scary?) and that has taken up a lot of my time. But as Hoodie Allen has dropped a new album I thought right now at 00:08am would be a perfect time to sit down and finally write up a new post. If you have been following me for a while you will know that I am a huge Hoodie Allen fan and I have been for a few years now. And on his last tour I was lucky enough to get a meet and greet and meet him, which was amazing, he genuinely is the loveliest human being I have ever met and he is so genuine and down to earth too, it’s like talking to a friend when you’re with him.

So without further-ado I’m going to get into a breakdown of each song from the album with a little bit of a review/opinion of it. I am doing an active post with no editing, so as I am listening to the album track by track I will be writing my opinion straight from the heart and I will be posting it as it is, so I apologise if there are any mistakes. I am yet to listen to the album because I knew from the moment Hoodie announced it that I wanted to do a first impressions sort of post, so this is me listening to the album for the first time ever and telling you all exactly what I am thinking as I listen! I hope you enjoy this different type of post because I am so bloody excited to be writing it. So here it goes! PS: Go grab yourself a cuppa because it’s gonna be a long post I think…

So first on the track list is Believe.

So it starts off with Hoodie singing a little verse, which I absolutely love. Hoodie’s singing voice is definitely a weakness of mine. Okay so my favourite line in the first verse has to be ‘people keep talking, we finally doing numbers’ referring back to his People Keep Talking album, which I absolutely love and Numbers is one of my favourite songs from that album so that line makes me so happy. Okay this song is such a nice song. ‘Dreaming of the day when I finally quit my day job’ I feel like this song is Hoodie really reminiscing about a time before he gained a fanbase and I may be really weird but I actually love it when an artist reflects on life before the ‘fame’. ‘Look how far we came dog, hard work finally paid off’ again I love the reflective side of this song. Hoodie worked his ass off to be where he is today and I think that line really shows that he’s grateful that the hard work was worth it in the end. Then it’s back to the chorus, again Hoodie’s singing voice is unreal.

Second verse. I like the line ‘I guess I gotta be dumb to look at my choices and try to act like I’m not privileged’ because it’s Hoodie noting that he knows he’s got a good life, but referring back to verse one, he worked his ass off so it is well deserved. I also like the little bit of arrogance with the line ’cause while most of my friends are tryna pay their student loans, I just write this rap and already paid for my future home’ I mean who doesn’t like a little bit of arrogance in a rap verse? I also personally like the line ‘I never beat around the bush’ because a lot of my friends and family always tell me that I never beat around the bush so I like that line. Then the song finishes back with the chorus. Overall I like the song and if this song is a reflection of what is to come on the rest of the album I can’t bloody wait!

Next is Know It All. Okay so I’ll admit, I have heard this because he released it a while back, so I will keep it short and sweet.

So the whole of the first verse is Hoodie singing, can this get any better? And then into the chorus and his voice is raspy and I may have fallen even more in love if that was even possible. Second verse is hoodie doing a rap/sing sort of vibe? Either way it sounds unreal and I am in love. Overall I think this is a killer song and I totally see why he dropped it as a single before the album.

Third is All for Me featuring Scott Hoying.

Okay so a bit of a sexier vibe going on here, I like it. Even though it is very sexual Hoodie still manages to slip a cute line in there doesn’t he? ‘We ain’t getting married but everything that I make we share’ this is the exact reason Hoodie is so well liked in my opinion, he can rap/sing just about anything but he always manages to include a nice/cute line in there somewhere. Onto the chorus. I personally have never heard of Scott Hoying but his voice sounds so gorgeous, wow. I also love how there’s an orchestra sort of vibe in the backing music, something different for a rap song. 

Verse two… again, very sexual, a little arrogant, but I like this side of Hoodie. But again, he manages to drop a cute line or two in there. ‘I stay awake, I never fall asleep ’cause I ain’t tryna share you with no one, it’s all for me’ how cute is he? I also like the cute little ‘bam’ noise he makes at the end of the verse. Again, onto the chorus to finish. Again another good song, can’t fault the album so far.

Next is Fakin featuring Wale.

Okay, first chorus I absolutely LOVE. ‘Why you always fakin’ on the net though? Why you always flexing for the timeline?’ I would definitely say Hoodie has hit a taboo subject right on the head here. I know so many people who fake it for social media. Spending their whole months wage on a bag or a watch just so they can flaunt it online, it’s ridiculous and Hoodie has gone straight in from the get go with this song and I love it.

First verse again, I love it. A couple arrogant lines once again, but who doesn’t love it? So many girls call me daddy, I should fight for custody’ and ‘all my haters love me, that’s why they never bug me, your girl is probably going home with me ’cause you ugly’ are the two standout lines for me in that verse. Onto the chorus again.

Again, I’ve never heard of Wale before but I love his verse. Very open and upfront, what did I really expect after Hoodie’s verse and chorus though? I like the play on words with the line ‘my hoodie on, I call Hoodie up and book every white girl in the hood today’.

Verse number three and back to Hoodie. Hoodie rapping quickly and arrogantly and just wow. Again a little reference to the unreal album People Keep Talking, love it. YES HOODIE. I love the savageness of this line ’cause my biggest fan is also your mother, I swear they be playing this every summer, so’ love it!

Next up is Play the Field.

So the intro and the bridge are good, Hoodie’s singing voice once again making an appearance. I like the sound effects around ‘the play the field’ hook.

Verse one, I really like the lines ‘I don’t care what your friends think, ’cause if treating you good isn’t good enough, you gon’ have to find somebody else that does’ I don’t know why, just hit a chord in me, I like them. Then onto the chorus part.

Verse two, Hoodie rapping quickly once again makes me so happy. I think deep down Hoodie has a right soft side, for example, a rap about playing the field but as mentioned before he still manages to drop a cute line in there… ‘You can be my side kick, shorty riding shot gun’.

Next up is Sushi.

YES! Now this song is what I have been waiting for. A Hoodie Allen classic upbeat song. Okay, I love every line of the pre-chorus. Calling out users and haters, what more could you want from an opening couple lines of a song? I love a risky line, so of course I love ‘homie, I’m a threat do I look like ISIS? Nah, I don’t need to resort to violence’. Love love love.

I love the chorus, a classic Hoodie Allen up beat song. Is it even a Hoodie Allen album without at least one song like this? I love the arrogant line once again, how can you not? ‘Everybody know me, why the hell you introduce me?’ I mean… True.

Next up is Ain’t Ready.

Okay, just from the sound of the guitar and the first two lines I feel this may be my favourite song from the album. I love a good acoustic song from Hoodie. (PS download Americoustic if you haven’t already because Hoodie doing acoustic is something everybody should hear).

The first verse, pre-chorus and chorus are unreal, all Hoodie singing acoustically and I am genuinely in love. Onto verse two and rapping Hoodie is back. Another reference to another amazing album All American, again you’re missing out if you haven’t listened to Hoodie’s music before. And again the chorus, which I am in love with. Onto the bridge, again I love it. Hoodie’s raspy singing life is honestly ridiculous. So talented in every sense of the word. I can definitely say so far that this is my favourite song from the album. Don’t be fooled by the shorter review, I was too busy listening and admiring the lyrics to focus on writing oopsy!

Next up is All My Friends featuring State Champs.

Again I have never heard of State Champs, but opening up the song and sounding amazing. I feel like I’m going to like this song purely based on Hoodie’s first few lines including ‘yeah, and this one’s for the people who were with me before I had a dollar in my bank account’ and ‘it’s real love, real friends, yeah I never separate it homie’ because Hoodie is now known pretty much everywhere around the world but it’s nice to see he hasn’t forgot his roots and those who were around way before the fame and the fortune, I really like that. The whole song is full of good lyrics and heartfelt lyrics too. And I really really like State Champs. It’s a different type of song to what I think we’re used to from Hoodie but I really like it.

Next up is Mad.

First thoughts are before Hoodie even sings/raps anything, it sounds like an old school classic, a bit of a sexual 80’s vibe to it. I like the chorus, again sounds very old school. Verse one is back to Hoodie rapping. It’s quite cute, about being a ‘goddess’ and then he ends the verse with ‘I ain’t like them other dudes, are you stupid?’ should expect the unexpected with Hoodie shouldn’t we really aha.

Oh wow, once again Hoodie being a little naughty with his lyrics, should I really be surprised? ‘Okay you got me, got me, I’m just so glad you want me. But other times I feel unqualified, you Donald Trump me’ god I love you Hoodie Allen and your slightly naughty but hilariously true lyrics.

Okay the bridge. Hoodie’s high note whilst singing ‘but now, I give up everything I had, had, had’ wow, just wow. The bridge is actually so cute, Hoodie showing his soft side again.

Next up is Something Dangerous.

As everyone knows by now I love Hoodie’s singing voice, but wow, just wow the chorus, his voice sounds unreal, genuinely just wow. Onto verse one, I love the line ‘you know I gotta go on tour sometimes, but like Shaq with the free throws, you know I’m always missing ya’ a little naughty with the lyrics again, but a cute meaning behind them, I like it. 

Okay, so verse two starts up and it hits me a little harder than expected. Definitely relatable on so many levels. ‘Nowadays I’m feeling like we’re strangers. Took a little break, we ain’t really been the same since’. Ending it being a little arrogant again, ‘I know a lot of dudes tryna chase you, but I’m the only one who ever made sense, Hoodie, babe’ is it bad I like it when his arrogant side comes out? Ha. Listening to the bridge and final chorus makes me think he’s definitely going to sing it on tour because I can picture the crowd joining in and clapping along to the backing track, yes.

Next up is Heartbreak featuring Goody Grace.

Listening to the first few lines and the backing track, sounds like an acoustic again, so I know I’ll like it. Again I have never heard of Goody Grace, but opening the song sounds absolutely unreal.

I always love Hoodie’s lyrics. In verse one I particularly like this section ‘looks fade eventually, will you still have sex with me? Like, even when we’re 70? Will you remember me when we’re losing our memory?’ I don’t have a reason but I genuinely just love that section of lyrics.

Verse two, starting up with ‘hey you know I’m searching for the type of love you see in the movies’ I think this strikes a chord with any girl because it is any girls dream and if you say it isn’t you’re probably lying oops. I think this is so relatable to all girls ‘like a roomie, she’s sleeping next to me, but not speaking to me’ because every girl has lay in bed with their partner and ignored them and put their back to them because they’re hurt or upset. The line ‘like if we fighting every day, is it worth it now?’ hit me hard, again, so relatable to anyone, men or women who’ve been in a heated relationship but isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. I think this one is probably one of my favourites from the album, it’s so relatable and I love the lyrics and Goody Grace’s voice too.

Next and last but not least is Runnin’ Circles.

Oooo I love this line ‘the mind of a perfectionist, but now a days I appreciate the blemishes’ I feel like this describes me perfectly. This song I think is going to hit people deeply. I love ‘I relish the opportunity to be a better man, be a better son, better brother, be a better fan’ such a genuine line.

Verse two, once again I love the lyrics, so heartfelt. ‘But if I follow what you follow, chances are I probably still working at the fucking mall. So don’t tell me to dream small’ this line makes me happy, it’s sort of a push for people to dream big or what’s the point? Okay this song is an unreal way to end the album. I absolutely love it. It’s deep, it’s to the point and there is a message behind it and I absolutely love that. 

‘There is a million ways to make it in this life, so let me hit you with a little piece of advice. If you ain’t doing something everyday that makes you feel alive, you should find a better way to spend all your frickin’ time’ Hoodie Allen, I love you.

Okay so that’s it. What an album it is! I have loved and supported Hoodie for as long as I can remember so I sort of knew I would love the album, but honestly to anyone who has either never heard of Hoodie or has never heard his music, please give him a chance and take a listen. Hoodie Allen is honestly one of the most underrated artists I have ever came across and I wish more people knew about him. He is so talented as a song writer, a performer, a singer and a rapper. If you follow my social media and have been for a while you will see I have met a lot of ‘famous people’ over the years, but hands down, I am not even just saying this Hoodie is the nicest, most genuine person I have ever met. He genuinely loves and appreciates anyone who listens to his music, goes to his shows and shows him support and to me that is so so important as an artist, you should never forget the people who have made you who you are by paying for your music, merch and shows and honestly I love seeing Hoodie interact with his fans because you can see the genuine love he has for each and every person.

I absolutely love the album and I think anyone who hasn’t already gave it a listen definitely should. I haven’t brought tickets to Hoodie’s tour as of yet because with my 21st birthday coming up I don’t know what surprises my parents have in store for me and as they know I love Hoodie I am praying it’s tickets and/or a meet and greet ha, but if not then of course I’ll be buying tickets to see him, so if you’re going to his show in Birmingham, UK then let me know, would be amazing to meet some fellow Hoodie fans that follow me. I really hope you’ve all enjoyed this different sort of post. It is currently 01:58am here in England, so it’s been a 2 hour writing session, but well worth it. 

Thank you for reading!

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Side note I have also got around to making an account on Only Fans so go check that out: https://onlyfans.com/zoelouisesmithx. Some exclusive unseen pictures and videos of what I get up to daily as well as my collaborations with Manchester United, Daytona and more!