Today I have an interview with the up and coming flat jockey Rossa Ryan. Please note that this interview was conducted before the continuation of racing. I hope you enjoy!
Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?
Rossa: To date, the Celebration Mile in Goodwood would be my favourite race I have won.
Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?
Rossa: If I had my choice in whatever horse in history I could have ridden, I would have to say Sea The Stars.
Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?
Rossa: I honestly am against banning it. I have done a few tours with people who have came racing to meet a jockey and I have showed them the whip and they could see after I showed them that it doesn’t hurt and it really changed their opinion of the whip after that. I could hit myself as hard as possible and it wouldn’t hurt. It’s only there to encourage horses to go forward for jockey’s.
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?
Rossa: Well, it all depends on the weight you have that day. If, for instance, I had a light weight, I would eat little to nothing and if I had a heavy weight that day or the next I would eat dinner, if I was hungry. All depends day to day I suppose.
Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?
Rossa: I think they’re very wrong. I would love for the general public to actually witness the love that the stable staff, owners, trainers and jockeys have for these horses. We love our sport and we love horses. And the care the horses get is completely pampered to be honest. They’re so well looked after and you see it day to day how happy horses in racing are.
Me: Racing is an all year round sport, so when you do get some down time, what do you like to do?
Rossa: Well I’m from Ireland so when we get our time off I usually go home to visit my family and have a little holiday at home.
Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?
Rossa: Well I have always followed James Doyle on his style and also Sean Levey, he’s helped me massively in little guidelines to becoming a better jockey and is always there to give me advice if I need it.
Me: What’s your overall goal in racing over the upcoming few years?
Rossa: My overall goal, to hopefully ride a Group 1 winner and maybe, just maybe, be Champion Jockey.
Me: What is your ‘horse to watch’ for the next season or two?
Rossa: My horse to watch for the upcoming year would be Duke of Hazzard. He gave me my biggest win last year and he is on the upward curve to hopefully being a Group 1 horse this year.
Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?
Rossa: I think if you want to achieve a goal in life or make a dream come true… well I think for the best sports people of the world, they only got there through hard work. Going that extra mile where possible and putting that bit more practice in.
Firstly, as always, I want to thank Rossa for his time. I personally think he has a promising future ahead, he is a brilliant rider and a credit to our sport. The fact he is so young sets him in good stead to have a long and hopefully successful career. I am excited to watch his journey over the upcoming years to see where he ends up.
Thank you for reading.
Sidenote: My raffle to raise money for the Stroke Association is now LIVE. So you can pop over to my Twitter and view this tweet for all information: https://twitter.com/zoelouisesmithx/status/1277629857460113410?s=20 There are some fantastic prizes and it is for a fantastic cause in honour of the 10 year anniversary of my mom’s stroke. The Stroke Association help not only those directly affected by a stroke, but also their families. They helped my mom massively and I wanted to raise money for them so they can continue to help other people in need. I hope you can all join me in raising money for this incredible cause!