Subsequent yr Lewis Hamilton could possibly be the primary sportsman in historical past to earn in extra of 1 BILLION dollars as arguably the perfect method one driver on the planet. But this yr, the title of greatest jockey in UK horse racing was shared by two males, and neither acquired a penny in recognition. So what drives a jockey to win the jockey championship?
The reply is straightforward – PRIDE
In taking the Open Golf Championship this yr Padraig Harrington pocketed GBP750,000. Not dangerous for 4 days work. Roger Federer needed to put in a bit extra effort to say the lads’s Wimbledon title, an entire two weeks in reality. However he was rewarded handsomely with a cheque for GBP700,000.
Jamie Spencer and seb Sanders shared the Champion Jockey title, each having scored the identical variety of wins through the season. But the reward for fulfillment from the sponsors was simply £10 per win (round GBP2,000) which was all donated to charity.
The UK horse racing Flat Season lasts for eight months and ends in mid-November. Between them, Jamie Spencer and Seb Sanders notched up greater than 2,000 rides. That equates to a mean of greater than 4 rides, each single day, for eight months. Take out the occasional ‘time without work’, days when damage put them on the sidelines, and days out as a result of suspension, and it’s clear the quantity of dedication required of a jockey to win the title.
Nevertheless it goes rather a lot deeper than driving in loads of races. The on a regular basis lifetime of a horse racing jockey is extremely gruelling. We frequently hear concerning the top-flight horsemen resembling Frankie Dettori, Mick Kinane, and Kieron Fallon, flying everywhere in the world to compete in a number of the richest horse races on the planet. This glamorous image of life within the saddle is however one aspect of the coin.
On the opposite aspect you have got jockeys reminiscent of Spencer and Sanders, plus many, many extra who make their dwelling steering thoroughbreds across the race programs of the UK.
A typical day for a jockey will begin at first mild with driving work on the coaching gallops. Then it’s off to whichever race course is staging a gathering that day. And within the UK that assembly might be anyplace from Exeter and Tub within the South of the nation, to Perth and Musselburgh in Scotland.
These days horse racing tales place just about day-after-day of the yr, with just a few exceptions. Flood-lit all-weather tracks additionally imply racing within the night. It isn’t unusual for a jockey to compete on the turf in the course of the afternoon, then sprint up the motorway to a night assembly on the factitious surfaces of Wolverhampton or Kempton. Typically the final race within the night is perhaps as late as 9:30pm. Then the jockeys should weigh-in, and attend any shows if profitable, earlier than altering out of their driving silks and making their method house. It isn’t uncommon for a jockey to be arriving again residence within the early hours of the morning, and setting the alarm clock for 6am to start out yet again.
Approaching the climax of the season, one specific day Jamie Spencer drove from his residence in Newmarket to London for a listening to on the Jockey Membership, then flew to Scotland for racing at Musselburgh, then again to Wolverhampton for the night assembly which ended with the 9:20pm race, earlier than lastly returning to Newmarket. A spherical journey of some 900 miles. A couple of jockeys have the posh of drivers and personal flights paid-for by house owners. However the majority of journeymen riders need to make-do with car-sharing and infinite miles up and down the motorway.
After which there’s the problem of the jockeys’ weight loss plan. Everyone is aware of that jockeys have to take care of feather-weight proportions. They obtain this by surviving on a meagre eating regimen of boiled fish or hen, and some cups of tea with out milk.
The most important hazard of following such a restrictive food plan in pursuit of success, is that of de-hydration. In a bid to keep away from taking over additional weight, a jockey will drink much less, particularly through the course of a race day afternoon. And if he must shed a number of kilos he’ll sit in a sauna and sweat the load. The impact of de-hydration might be lack of focus and even fainting.
Individuals might imagine that driving a race horse is little greater than pointing him in the best course and kicking him within the stomach to get him going. Nothing could possibly be farther from the reality. Extremely-strung thoroughbreds want little encouragement to run at full tilt, and actually most want restraining in the course of the early a part of a race. It takes appreciable power and energy to regulate half a ton of muscular animal travelling at 30 miles per hour. Equally, it takes bodily effort to drive a horse out to the road in an in depth end. All this on boiled hen and tea!
Returning to the unique query, of why jockeys will put themselves via this arduous routine?
“It is all concerning the status that comes with claiming the title.” Explains British Horse Racing Authority spokesman Lucy Watson.
The names on the Trophy embrace most of the Racing Greats – names resembling Gordon Richards, Lester Piggott, Willie Carson, Pat Eddery, Kieron Fallon, and Frankie Dettori. To have your identify engraved alongside their ‘heroes’ is what drives individuals like Sanders and Spencer.
The highest jockeys receives a commission for every journey – a payment of £125.94 from the proprietor. As well as they’ll usually obtain 10 per cent of any prize cash. Jamie Spencer has winnings to his identify in extra of GBP2million this season and can earn round GBP200,000 by means of prize cash alone. However then Spencer is Champion Jockey and trainers and house owners alike all clamour to guide him to experience their horses. He does not discover it troublesome to get rides on the easiest horses. It’s one thing of a self-perpetuating upward spiral. In case you are good, you get to journey the horses with one of the best probability of profitable, and also you win extra races.
However as you may think, it really works the opposite approach too. Spare a thought for the opposite jockeys that make up the numbers in each race. They typically need to take no matter rides they will, on horses not more likely to win, at programs throughout the nation, and shouldering all of the inherent travelling bills. All within the spirit of this nice Sport Of Kings.