Today I am bringing you an interview with Jamie Spencer who has achieved brilliant things within the sport. I hope you enjoy this little insight to him!
Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?
Jamie: Riding a winner at Cheltenham on Pizarro, lots of other more important flat races but jump racing I was born into as my father won the Champion Hurdle.
Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?
Jamie: Boring selection, but obviously Frankel. He’s been the best horse of my lifetime.
Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?
Jamie: If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it. Horses are herd animals and generally run together as a pack to see who’s the best, then they need a form of encouragement.
Me: You have won multiple classics in your career as well as being Champion Jockey both in Ireland and Britain, what do you class as your biggest achievement? What are you most proud of this far in your career?
Jamie: Winning the St Leger on Brian Boru in 2003, it was a month after one of my best friends and housemate Kieran Kelly had died from a fall at Kilbeggan.
Me: As a jockey, weight is obviously a huge thing for you guys, is this ever a worry for you?
Jamie: My weight isn’t a major issue so I’m fortunate.
Me: You rode for Aidan O’Brien for a short while as his stable jockey at Ballydoyle, since then he has gone on to break all sorts of records, as have you. How was it working for him?
Jamie: He’s clearly broken all the records, been a genius in the sport. We are all older and wiser now and thankfully he’s supported me to win many Grade 1’s since then.
Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?
Jamie: We all start in racing because we love the horses, that sentiment never leaves, from a personal point of view.
Me: Racing is an all year round sport, so when you do get some down time, what do you like to do?
Jamie: It’s an all year round sport, but as I have gotten older I do more for myself so I take plenty of time off. I can’t complain.
Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?
Jamie: I admire lots of people for varying reasons. For example, Luke Morris is a tremendous advocate of how there is no substitute for hard work. Then you get Andrea Atzeni who’s naturally a gifted horseman. And then there’s plenty who do very well but if I was an owner I wouldn’t use them, so who’s right and who’s wrong? Racing is all about opinions.
Me: What is one race you’d love to win?
Jamie: The Derby.
Me: What’s your overall goal in racing over the upcoming few years?
Jamie: I’m on the back nine regards being a jockey, I’ve concentrated on other areas of the sport for many years and hopefully will utilise these efforts in the future. The beauty of racing is nothing is a given.
Me: What would be your ‘horse to watch’ for the next season or two?
Jamie: I’m particularly hopeful Mohican Heights can progress, but like everything at this time of year, it’s a guessing game.
Me: What is your favourite race course to ride at and why?
Jamie: Ascot. It’s been good to me and I love going there more than any other track.
Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?
Jamie: If you want to be involved in racing, there are no short cuts. I believe the jockeys adapt so well as they’re not educated enough to realise it’s madness the hours they put in and living the dream of finding the good horse. Outside of racing, well I know nothing else than this game, but I’m guessing if you follow people like Bill Gates or John Magnier’s advice, you won’t go far wrong.
As always, firstly I want to thank Jamie for taking the time to speak with me, he is a ridiculously talented jockey who has achieved some incredible things so it was an honour to get the chance to ask him some questions.
I hope you enjoyed!