An Interview with Eoin Walsh

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. I hope you all had a brilliant final day of Cheltenham yesterday! Today I am super excited to bring to you an interview with Eoin Walsh. He has recently returned from a pretty serious injury, so I caught up with him about all things racing, including his recovery and the importance of the Injured Jockeys Fund. Let’s jump right into it!


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

Eoin: My favourite race would have to be when I won on Zeeband at Thirsk for Roger Varian. It wasn’t the biggest race in the world, but I rode him out every morning since I started at Roger’s and he wasn’t the most straight forward in the mornings, he’s quite a difficult ride. To actually get on him and to get a win on him was fantastic and it meant a lot to me.

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

Eoin: I think I’d have to go for a horse from the past. I think I’d pick Frankel. The way he won the Guineas was phenomenal and every other race he won was breath-taking. He was just a freak. I’d have loved to have had a go on him.

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

Eoin: My opinion on banning the whip is absolutely ridiculous. The whip is out there as a corrective measure and an encouragement method. It’s not there to harm or hurt the horse. All of us in racing love our animals, there’s nobody who’s out there to hurt the horse. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

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?

Eoin: For me, I struggle with my weight quite a lot. I’m one of the heavier, taller jockeys in the weighing room. A typical day for me in the summer whilst I’m racing would probably be have a coffee in the morning, a coffee at lunch time and if I’m lucky, get home and have some dinner. Other than that, I wouldn’t eat a lot. In my off time, I tend to let myself go and enjoy myself but I do have to pay the price for it when I come back.

Me: So you’ve recently came back from quite a bad injury, how hard is it to return to the sport that put you into that position?

Eoin: I’ve never really thought about retiring from this injury. It’s more of a case of wanting to, I’ve got a good job at Roger Varian’s so I just felt the quicker I got back, the quicker I got going again. We’re coming into the flat season so I didn’t want to be joining the string half way through the season when all the jockey’s key positions were already filled. I wanted to get back before the turf so I could get fit and I’ll be available when wanted for the flat season.

Me: On from that, horse racing is one of the very few sports to have a charity who do the work the Injured Jockey’s Fund do, how important are they to jockeys and the sport as a whole?

Eoin: The Injured Jockey’s Fund are absolutely phenomenal. They are a great bunch of people and a massive help to all of us jockeys and we could not thank them enough.

Me: Racing is an all year round sport, so when you do get some down time, what do you like to do?

Eoin: With the world hopefully returning to normal fairly soon, I hope that in a down time I’d be able to travel to Thailand with friends, Callum Shepherd, Kieran O’Neill and Stefano. We like to get away for a couple of weeks, let our hair down and make the most of our time off.

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

Eoin: I would probably look up to the likes of Adam Kirby and James Doyle the most. They’d be my two favourites, they’re very good jockeys, very good horsemen and two nice people.

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

Eoin: When it comes to a race I’d love to win, I’m not going to be fussy. I’ll take any race, I’m just happy when I’m crossing the line in front. There’s no particular race I’d want to win at this stage. Just every winner matters to me, so yeah, any winner, any horse I can ride that wins.

Me: What’s your overall goal in racing over the upcoming few years?

Eoin: My overall goal the next couple of years would be to establish myself as one of the main riders for one of the big yards in town. I’d love to hope it’ll be Roger Varian’s but I’ll hopefully get my opportunity somewhere.

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

Eoin: I’d once again have to go for my old favourite Zeeband as a horse to follow. I think he’s gonna be a very, very nice four year old this year. I thought, personally, anything he did last year would be a bonus towards this year. I think he’s rated near the 90’s now and I think he’ll improve further. I think he could be a class act this season over the longer distances.

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

Eoin: I love riding at either of the Newmarket Racecourses. Mainly because I don’t have to travel far but because they’re just such prestigious courses and riding a winner there last season was absolutely amazing even though there was no crowd.

Me: With the Grand National coming up and it being announced Tiger Roll won’t run, do you fancy anything at the moment?

Eoin: I really hope Bristol De Mai wins the Grand National. It would be lovely for Nigel Twiston-Davies. He’s a very good trainer and I just love the horse as well, he’s just an absolute legend of the game.

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

Eoin: I can only answer for kids coming into racing, but my one bit of advice is just keep your head down, ask as many questions as you can, learn as much as you can from the older lads that have been around and just keep yourself to yourself and try and stay out of trouble. Coming into racing is very difficult for anyone, it’s not easy leaving home but you just need to get yourself around a good group of people and hopefully you can bring yourself forward.


I want to thank Eoin for his time to answer some questions, I know how busy he is now he’s returning to the saddle so I appreciate his time. For me, I think it’s incredible how strong jockeys are, mentally and physically. If I had been hit with an injury as severe as Eoin’s, I don’t know if I could come back and have the mindset that Eoin has but also other jockeys have too. I think it’s a testament to their strength when jockeys can come back and normally they’re better and stronger than ever when they do so.

I have had a busy two weeks on my website with 9 posts in 12 days and I have absolutely loved it, I hope you’ve all enjoyed the past 2 weeks posts and I will see you all on Wednesday evening at 6pm for my next one!

Galileo: What Makes a People’s Horse?

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new blog post here at zoelouisesmithx.com and a new piece in my What Makes a People’s Horse series. However, today’s is slightly different. I have decided to focus on Galileo today, however the difference being, he is more well known for his ability to produce incredibly talented offspring opposed to his career on the track. So today, as normal, I will go through his racing career, which was a very short one but I will also have a look at some of the horses he has produced whilst being based at Coolmore Stud. So, without further ado, let’s just jump right into it.

Galileo was foaled on the 30th of March 1998, by Sadler’s Wells out of Urban Sea. He was bred by David Tsu and Orpendale in Ireland, “Orpendale” is a name used by Coolmore Stud for some of their breeding interests.

Interestingly. Galileo’s sire Sadler’s Well (1981-2011) went on to sire the winners of over 2000 races, which included 130 Group 1/Grade 1 races. He was the most successful sire in the history of British racing, being named the 14 time record breaking leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland. Galileo’s dam Urban Sea (1989-2009) went on to be the dam of Sea the Stars, Black Sam Bellamy, My Typhoon and many more.

Galileo was owned by Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor and was sent straight into training with Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle.

Galileo’s first race came when he was 2 years old on the 28th of October 2000 when he ran at Leopardstown. He was the Evens favourite and Mick Kinane took the ride. Impressively, Galileo won by 14 lengths to Taraza (5/2) with Johnny Murtagh on board.

Galileo took a 170 day break, before returning to Leopardstown on the 16th of April 2001 for a listed race over 1 mile 2 furlong, where as the odds on 1/3 favourite under Mick Kinane again he beat stable companion Milan (7/1) by 3 1/2 lengths. Just one month later, he returned to Leopardstown, this time under Seamie Heffernan, starting as the odds on 8/15 favourite, winning again, this time by 1 1/2 lenghts to Exaltation I (10/1).

Galileo then travelled across the Irish sea for a Group 1 at Epsom in the Derby Stakes Class A Showcase Race, where he started the race as the 11/4 joint favourite under Mick Kinane. He beat the other joint favourite Golan by 3 1/2 lengths. After this race, reports said Mick Kinane had described Galileo as the best horse he had ever ridden.

One month later, Galileo returned to Ireland to the Curragh for the Irish Derby on the 1st of July, where he was made the odds on 4/11 favourite under Mick Kinane. He won by 4 lengths after his jockey eased him in the closing stages.

On the 28th of July 2001, Galileo returned to England to Ascot this time for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. He started the race as the 1/2 favourite, with regular jockey Mick Kinane riding. Galileo won by 2 lengths to the second favourite Fantastic Light (7/2) with Frankie Dettori on board.

Galileo returned to Ireland and attended Punchestown on the 8th of September 2001, where he went to the Irish Champion Stakes. He was the 4/11 favourite under Mick Kinane, however unfortunately the tables were turned and this time he finished second behind Fantastic Light (9/4) with Frankie Dettori.

For Galileo’s last ever race he headed to Belmont Park in America for the Breeders’ Cup on the 27th of October 2001. This was his first time racing on dirt and he started at 100/30 under Mick Kinane, however he could only manage 6th place. Immediately after this race his retirement was announced.

Galileo was retired to Coolmore Stud in County Tipperry, he was stood there during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season, then moved to Coolmore Stud in New South Wales, Australia during the Southern Hemisphere breeding season. However since 2012, he has stood exclusively in Ireland.

So now, let’s jump in to what I think everybody is here for and what he is mainly known for, his offspring. I’m going to go through some of the notable horses, however there are a lot so I won’t mention every single name, I will try and pick out multiple from each year.

The first horse I am going to mention is Nightime who was foaled on the 5th of April 2003, out of Caumshinaun. She went on to win the Irish 1,000 Guineas in 2006 before being retired in 2007 and has since become a successful broodmare. Also foaled in 2003 on the 14th of February, Sixties Icon out of Love Divine, who went on to win the St Leger Stakes as a 3 year old in 2006, he also went on to win five other Group races before being retired to stud.

Galileo also produced jumps horses, one being Celestial Halo who was foaled on the 7th of May 2004 out of Pay The Bank. He went on to be trained by Paul Nicholls, and in March 2008 at 4 years old won the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle as well as finishing second in the Champion Hurdle in 2009, also winning multiple other races throughout his career.

Also foaled in 2004 was Soldier of Fortune who was foaled on the 20th of February out of Affianced. He went on to win the Group One Irish Derby in 2007 as well the Group One Coronation Cup in 2008.

Moving into 2005, we have Alandi who was foaled on the 4th of April out of Aliya. He went on to win the Vintage Crop Stakes, Ballycullen Stakes, Irish St Leger and Prix du Cadran all in 2009. He was retired in 2012 and became a breeding stallion in Poland.

We also have New Approach who foaled on the 18th of February 2005 out of Park Express. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes, Futurity Stakes, National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes all in 2007 and the Epsom Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes in 2008. He also won the award for the European Champion Two Year Old Colt in 2007, the European Champion Three Year Old Colt in 2008 as well as the Irish Horse of the Year in 2008. He was retired and stands as a stallion for the Darley Stud, spending half of his year at the Dalham Stall Stud at Newmarket and the Northwood Park Stud Farm in Victoria, Australia for the other half of the year where he has produced horses such as Masar, Dawn Approach and Talent.

On the 12th of February 2006, Rip Van Winkle was foaled out of Looking Back. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes in 2008, the Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes both in 2009 and the International Stakes in 2010. He was retired to Coolmore Stud in 2010 and went on to sire 3 Group 1 winners, Dick Whittington (2012), Te Akau Shark (2014) and Jennifer Eccles (2016). He sadly passed away on the 1st of August 2020 at 14 years old after suffering a short illness.

In 2007, on the 20th of April, Cape Blanco was foaled out of Laurel Delight. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes and Futurity Stakes in 2009, the Dante Stakes, Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes in 2010 and then the Man o’War Stakes, Arlington Million and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes in 2011. He also won the Irish Three Year Old Colt in 2010 and the American Champion Male Turf Horse in 2011.

In to 2008, we see probably the most famous offspring of Galileo’s produced and that is, of course, Frankel who was foaled on the 11th of February out of Kind. Frankel went on to be unbeaten in his fourteen race career, winning over £2.9 million with wins in many big races. The Royal Lodge Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes in 2010, the Greenham Stakes, 2,000 Guineas Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes all in 2011. Then the Sussex Stakes, Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes, International Stakes and Champion Stakes all in 2012. Frankel was then retired and stood at Banstead Manor Stud at Cheveley in Suffolk where he was born. Some noticeable offspring of Frankel includes some Group 1 winners including Call the Wind, Cracksman, Dream Castle, Mirage Dancer, Mozu Ascot, Soul Stirring, Veracious, Without Parole, Anapurna, Logician, Quadrilateral and Grenadier Guards.

Another key horse in 2008 to mention is Nathaniel who was foaled on the 24th of April out of Magnificent Style who won the King Edward VII Stakes and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2011 as well as the Eclipse Stakes in 2012. Nathaniel was retired to stand stud as the Newsells Park Stud and out of his first set of foals, included a horse that almost everybody knows… Enable. Enable went on to win the Cheshire Oaks in 2017, Epsom Oaks in 2017, Irish Oaks in 2017, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2017, 2019 and 2020, the Yorkshire Oaks in 2017 and 2019, the Prix de l’Arc Triomphe in 2017 and 2018, the September Stakes in 2018 and 2020, the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2018 and the Eclipse Stakes in 2019.

On the 25th of February 2009, Noble Mission was foaled out of Kind. He went on to win the Newmarket Stakes and Gordon Stakes in 2012, the Tapster Stakes in 2013 and the Gordon Richards Stakes, Huxley Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Champion Stakes in 2014. He also won the Cartier Champion Older Horse award in 2014. Noble Mission then went on to sire a Grad 1 winner in Code of Honor.

Moving into 2010, we start with Magician who was foaled on the 24th of April out of Absolutelyfabulous. Magician went on to win the Dee Stakes, Irish 2,000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2013 and the Mooresbridge Stakes in 2014. As well as winning the Cartier Champion Three Year Old Colt Award in 2013.

We also have Ruler of the World who was foaled on the 17th of March 2010 out of Love Me True. He went on to win the Chester Vase and Epsom Derby in 2013 and the Prix Foy in 2014. It was announced on the 24th of October 2014 that he would be retired and stand alongside his father Galileo at Coolmore Stud. A notable offspring of Ruler of the World’s is Iridessa who went on to win the Fillies’ Mile, Pretty Polly Stakes, Matron Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Into 2011, we have Australia who was foaled on the 8th of April out of Ouija Board. Australia went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial in 2013, then winning the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and International Stakes in 2014. He also won the World’s top rated intermediate distance horse as well as the World’s top rated three year old colt both in 2014. On the 11th of October of 2014, it was announced Australia had developed a hoof infection and a suspected abscess and due to continued lameness the decision was made to retire him. He was to stand alongside his father Galileo at Coolmore Stud. Notable offspring include Galilo Chrome (2017) who went on to win the St Leger Stakes as well as Order of Australia (2017) who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Also foaled in 2011, was Marvellous who was foaled on the 9th of January out of You’resothrilling. Marvellous went on to win the 1,000 Guineas in 2014.

In 2012, we have Found who was foaled on the 13th of March out of Red Evie. She went on to win the Prix Marcel Boussac in 2014, the Royal Whip Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2015 then the Mooresbridge Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2016. She also won multiple awards including: Top rated European Two Year Old Filly in 2014, the World’s Top Rated Three Year Old Filly in 2015, the Top Rated European Female and Top Rated Irish Horse and the Cartier Champion Older Horse all in 2016. Found then became a broodmare, her first foal being a colt by War Front called Battleground on the 10th of May 2018. Battleground went on to win the Chesham Stakes and Veuve Cliquot Vintage Stakes and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Also foaled in 2012 was Gleneagles who was foaled on the 12th of January out of You’resothrilling. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes, Futurity Stakes and National Stakes in 2014. He was also the first past the post in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère, however he hampered multiple horses so was put back to 3rd place. He also won the 2,000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes all in 2015. He also won the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Colt in 2014.

Another incredible horse foaled in 2012 is Highland Reel who was foaled on the 21st of February out of Hveger. Highland Reel went on to win the Vintage Stakes in 2014, the Gordon Stakes, Secretariat Stakes and Hong Kong Vase in 2015, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2016 then the Hong Kong Vase, Coronation Cup and Prince Wales’s Stakes in 2017. Highland Reel currently stands at Coolmore Stud with a Stud Free of €10,000 for 2021.

On the 22nd of February 2012, Order of St George was foaled out of Another Storm. He went on to win the Irish St Leger Trial Stakes in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Irish St Leger in 2015 and 2017. The Saval Beg Stakes in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Ascot Gold Cup in 2016, the British Champions Long Distance Cup in 2017 and the Vintage Crop Stakes in 2018. He also won many awards, including the Top Rate Irish Racehorse and the World’s Top Rated Racehorse (Extended Distance) in 2015 then the Cartier Champion Stayer both in 2016 and 2017. Order of St George currently stands at Castlehyde Stud with a 2021 Stud Fee of €6,500.

Moving into 2013, we have Alice Springs who was foaled on the 4th of May out of Aleagueoftheirown. She went on to win the Tattersalls Millions Two Year Old Fillies’ Trophy in 2015, the Falmouth Stakes, Matron Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes all in 2016.

On the 14th of March 2013, Idaho was foaled out of Hveger. He went on to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes in 2016, the Hardwicke Stakes in 2017 and the Ormonde Stakes in 2018. At the end of the 2018 season he was retired and stood at Beeches Stud with a 2021 Stud Fee of €3,500.

Another 2013 foal is Minding who was foaled on the 10th of February out of Lillie Langtry. She went on to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Fillies’ Mile in 2015, the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks, Pretty Polly Stakes, Nassau Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2016 and the Mooresbridge Stakes in 2017. She also won the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Filly and Top Rated European Two Year Old Filly in 2015. As well as winning the Cartier Champion Three Year Old Filly, Cartier Horse of the Year, Irish Horse of the Year and the World Top Rated Three Year Old Filly all in 2016.

Moving into 2014, we have Churchill who was foaled on the 31st of December out of Meow. He went on to win the Chesham Stakes, Tyros Steaks, Futurity Stakes, National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes all in 2016, then the 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2017. He also won the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Colt and the Top Rated European Two Year Old in 2016. Churchill currently stands at Coolmore Stud and has a 2021 Stud Fee of €30,000.

Also in 2014, we have Winter who was foaled on the 15th of February out of Laddies Poker Two. She went on to win the 1,000 Guineas, Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Nassau Stakes all in 2017.

In 2015, Happily was foaled on the 27th of February out of You’resothrilling. She went on to win the Silver Flash Stakes, Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadère all in 2017. As well as the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Filly in 2017.

Also foaled in 2017, we have Kew Gardens who was foaled on the 20th of January out of Chelsea Rose. He won the Zetland Stakes in 2017, the Queen’s Vase, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger in 2018 as well as the British Champions Long Distance Cup in 2019. In June 2020, it was announced that Kew Gardens would retire from racing and stand at Castlehyrde Stud with a 2021 Stud Fee of €5,000.

Another horse foaled in 2015, was Magical who was foaled on the 18th of May out of Halfway to Heaven. She went on to win the Debutante Stakes in 2017, the Kilboy Estate Stakes and British Champions Fillies & Mares Steaks in 2018. The Alleged Stakes, Mooresbridge Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup, Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes in 2019, followed by the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Irish Champion Stakes and Pretty Polly Stakes in 2020. In December 2020, connections announced that Magical would be retired to become a broodmare.

We now move into 2016. On the 19th of May Anthony Van Dyck was foaled out of Believe’N’Succeed. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes and Futurity Stakes in 2018, the Derby Trial Stakes and Epsom Derby in 2019 and the Prix Foy in 2020. Unfortunately Anthony Van Dyck was put to sleep on the 3rd of November 2020 when he broke down in the Melbourne Cup at only 4 years old.

On the 22nd of February 2016, Japan was foaled out of Shastye. He went on to win the Beresford Stakes in 2018 and the King Edward VII Stakes, Grand Prix de Paris and International Stakes in 2019. He failed to win in 5 attempts as a four year old in 2020.

Another horse foaled in 2016 was Search For A Song out of Polished Gem. She went on to win the Galtres Stakes and Irish St Leger in 2019 and the Irish Leger again in 2020.

Now onto 2017, we have Love who was foaled on the 13th of April 2017 out of Pikaboo. She won the Silver Flash Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes in 2019 and the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks in 2020. As well as winning the Cartier Champion Three Year Old Filly in 2020.

We also have Mogul who was foaled on the 3rd of April 2017 out of Shastye. He has went on to win the Juvenile Stakes in 2019 followed by the Gordon Stakes, Grand Prix de Paris and Hong Kong Vase in 2020.

Peaceful was foaled on the 22nd of January 2017 out of Missvinski, who won the 1,000 Guineas in 2020. As well as Serpentine who was foaled on the 20th of March 2017 out of Remember When, who won the Epsom Derby in 2020.

The final horse to mention is Shale who was foaled on the 26th of March 2018 and in 2020 won both the Silver Flash Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes.


So, all in all, Galileo had a wonderful career, although it was short. He then went on to produce some of the best horses we’ve all had the honour of watching, some of those who have gone on to produce some incredible horses also. Overall we wouldn’t have some of the talented horses we see today if it wasn’t for Galileo. Currently and for many years now, since 2008, Galileo’s Stud Fee has been privately negotiated, but it is believed that he is the most expensive stallion in the world.

In 2016, after Minding won the 1,000 Guineas, Galileo became the sire of winners of all five British Classics. In 2018, there was a rumour that his Stud Fee was as high as €600,000. In August 2018, Galileo passed his own sire’s record of the most European Group races as a sire with Sizzling giving him his 328th. On the 1st of June 2019, Galileo had sired 192 Group winners. In the 2019 Derby, Galileo was the sire, grandsire or great-grandsire of 12 out of 13 runners and was the broodmare sire of the 13th horse. On the 9th of November 2019, Magic Wand became his 84th individual Group/Grade One winner, putting him level with Danehill for the most winners sired.

So, with all of that being said, I can see why so many people love Galileo. I decided to write a post up about him because it was slightly different. He is a people’s horse but mainly for the horses he’s produced, opposed to his own career so I thought it would be interesting to research it all a little more and name some of those incredible horses he has given us.

I enjoyed researching this one and I hope you all enjoyed reading it. This one is a very long one, so I do apologise for that but I felt like it was one I really wanted to do. I shall see you all in my next post!

An Interview with Phillip Dennis

Phillip Dennis

Hiya guys!

Today I am bringing you an interview with Phillip Dennis, I hope you enjoy!

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

Phillip: My favourite race that I have won so far would have to be the Epsom Dash on Ornate. To win a big handicap just 40 minutes before the Derby was great and a real buzz, he also gave me my first Group One ride in the Nunthorpe this year, which would be up there for a favourite ride that didn’t win. Hopefully he can be seriously competitive in listed or group company this season.

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

Phillip: If I could have ridden any horse past or present, I’d have to say Frankel as an obvious one. He was just a freak of a race horse and his Guineas win and York win stand out for me. A less obvious one would be Sole Power, he looked a real character to ride.

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

Phillip: I think the whip issue could go on and on but it really is an important piece of equipment that the wider public don’t really understand. I’m not sure what the best way to go is, whether it’s tighten up penalties or reduce hits, but in my opinion, banning it would be crazy.

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?

Phillip: I’m fairly lucky with my weight that it stays quite level and I can eat relatively well, depending on what weights I have in the coming days. 48 hour declarations are definitely a help to get the weight sorted for a lighter ride. In the summer I’d watch it a bit more than in the winter. When it’s quieter you can use it as a bit of a break for the body.

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

Phillip: If I was to talk to someone who thought racing was cruel, I’d have to explain to them how well the horses are looked after, morning and night. People think they are forced to run, but the majority are only happy when they are out with a saddle on them. Stable staff do an unbelievable job and treat them like they are their own.

Me: Racing is an all year round sport, so when you do get some down time, what do you like to do?

Phillip: During the odd days I get off I try to play golf… very averagely. But I’d be a fair weather player. So other than that I like to spend time with friends and family. During the lockdown I tried my hand at the odd bit of DIY and gardening.

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

Phillip: In the North, it’s a great bunch of jockeys, as people and riders, so it would be hard to single one person out that I look up to, but any advice I can get off the more senior riders is a massive help and I like to get as much as possible.

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

Phillip: The obvious races I’d love to win would be the classics, like any jockey. But on a more personal level, I’d love to win the Nunthorpe, being my local track and I love sprinters. Another one would be the Ayr Gold Cup. My dad used to take me and my mate up every year to watch it with him, so that one would be up there. When I was young it was always the Grand National, but not sure I’d be brave enough now, unless it was an old school master.

Me: What’s your overall goal in racing over the upcoming few years?

Phillip: In the coming season or two I’d like to keep building on numbers and also the quality of horses. Last year I got to 47 with a few nicer ones in there, so to keep riding in them sort of races would be great and to get above 50 would be nice.

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

Phillip: A horse to watch would be Que Amoro, a filly I won on for Michael Dods in the apprentice race at the Ebor Festival. She’s a seriously fast filly that stays the 5 furlongs strongly and on fast ground I think she’d be able to go up a level into a listed / group 3 company for them.

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

Phillip: York would have to be my favourite track, it’s my local, has the best racing in the North and arguably, the country. Always has a great crowd and the atmosphere is unbelievable.

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

Phillip: My advice to any young person would be hard work can always beat talent, so as long as you want something, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t or aren’t good enough. Just make sure you work as hard as you can and harder than anyone else and you’ll get to where you want to be.

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Firstly a massive thank you to Phillip for taking the time out to speak with me. From speaking to him I think he is someone who wants to learn and continuously improve in the sport and that is a great attitude to have and he will definitely be successful with that thought process. 

I hope you enjoyed and I will see you all next Saturday for An Interview with Tom Garner.

An Interview with Georgia Cox

Georgia Cox

Hiya guys!

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!

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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!

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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.