Celebrating our jumps jockeys

LOVERACING.NZ
29 September 2020

KNOTTINGLY FARM JUMPS JOCKEY COMPETITION LEADERBOARD

Shaun Fannin       95

Aaron Kuru            63

Emily Farr             39

Reece Cole           38

Buddy Lammas     30

Dean Parker          29

Michael Roustoby  24

James Seivwright  23

Hamish McNeill     14

Sam O'Malley        11

Barry Donoghue    10

Isaac Lupton          10

Stephan Karnicnik  7

Mathew Cropp        5

Gary Walsh             4

Lemmy Douglas     4

Charlie Studd          3

Shaun Phelan       1

 

Dean Parker



What is your background in horses?
I grew up on a farm in the far north, my mum rode so I was always with horses. I show jumped ponies and have been out on the hunt field since I was five years old. I have hunted every season since. I met Neville and Anne Monoghan through hunting and they introduced me to the racing side of things. I knew I wanted to become a jockey but had no experience, so they got in touch with Nigel Tiley who took me on.

How did you get into jumps racing?
I was working towards my apprenticeship but unfortunately, I kept growing and becoming too heavy to ride on the flat. I had a couple starts as an amateur rider until Nigel suggested giving the jumps racing a go. I started riding at Shaun and Emma Clotworthy’s in the mornings and also got in touch with Kevin Myers who all helped me kickstart my jumps racing career. 

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Winning on Senassy at Wanganui.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Nigel Tiley who helped get me going at the beginning of my career, and Kevin Myers who helped me develop my jumping career. 

Best horse you’ve ridden?
Napoleon, because he gave me a really nice ride.

Best win to date?
With just two to narrow down at this point, I would have to go with Senassy.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Winx.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
I am fortunate to be able to ride some really nice horses of Kevin Myers this season.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
I ride lots of work in the mornings and go to the gym a couple of times a week.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Ellerslie because you get to go over the hill and jump some really nice fences.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
Sheep and Beef farming up North with my family. 

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Best dressed would be James Seivwright. 

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
“a bloody good time!”

Matt Cropp

What is your background in horses?
I have grown up with them my whole life. My Father and Grandfather were both huntsmans so I’ve always hunted from a very early age and done showjumping and bronc riding at rodeos too.

How did you get into jumps racing?
I started riding on the flat but my weight kept creeping up so it seemed like the natural progression with my jumping background. So I started schooling horse with Craig Thornton and it all began from there.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Winning the Wellington Hurdle and Steeplechase on the same day and riding in the Gr.1 Telegraph.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My Grandfather, Ron. I always go to him for advice and watch race replays together.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
A horse I rode on the flat for Moira Murdoch called Double Barrell, he won a race at Hastings and felt incredible. Obviously also the two little mares Wee Biskit and Joint Effort who were amazing at what they did and had massive hearts.

Best win to date?
On a horse called Stingray that won New Zealand Cup Week. He was up against really good horses and was sitting last the whole way, then bombed them on the line. Eric The Viking’s win in the Wellington Steeplechase was pretty special.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
It would have been amazing to jump Red Rum.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
Te Kahe is a nice jumper that is due to breakthrough. It will also be exciting to follow the progression of Zedbra who had her first start at Awapuni.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
I’m lucky I don’t have to worry about my weight when I ride over the fences, but I do ride trackwork and school horses in the morning. Riding my hunters and young horses keep me busy and gets my eye in, while taking my hounds out keeps me active.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Riccarton. It’s been a pretty good track to me and I’ve had a lot of success there. It’s a nice roomy track with decent live hedges.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
No, I’m quite cynical and haven't ever done it.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
I’m lucky I’m able to jumps ride alongside my full-time job as a huntsman. I also drive tractors in the summertime doing silage and maize.

Your biggest pet hate?
Grandstand jockeys.

Who’s your sporting hero?
Tony McCoy, he achieved a lot. 

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
a great sport that we need to keep alive.

 

Gary Walsh

 

What is your background in horses?
Asking an Irishman his background in horses is similar to asking a kiwi if he plays rugby, it's just a part of the fabric. I didn’t do pony club, I just started working for a racing stable when I was in school.

How did you get into jumps racing?
The money was the only encouragement I had, It was either go to college or start working and making money.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
My most memorable moment on a racecourse would have to be when Highly Likely took out Shaun Phelan in a steeplechase at Trentham. He was riding one for Nelson. I never laughed so much in my life, I show everyone that replay. It helps that I ended up winning the race.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I am my own biggest influence, no one else is going to do it.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
Miss Finland is the best horse I've ridden.

Best win to date?
My best win to date was the Barefoot Bowls Cup at Flemington a few years ago. But, I did win the Wellington Hurdles. 

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Anything that’s a quiet ride.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
I drink wine instead of beer during the jump season.

Favourite racecourse and why?
My favourite track is Ellerslie because there is always a good night out after a jumps meeting there. Also, Palmerston North because it’s only a 10-minute drive for me. 

Your biggest pet hate?
My biggest pet hate is driving 10 hours to a northern meet on Sundays and having to work.

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Worst dressed jumps jockeys are Hamish McNeil and Lemmy Douglas, they’re a couple of show ponies. it's jump racing, not Royal Ascot. Best dressed are Aaron Kuru and Shaun Fannin but that’s because they give me their clothes when they’re upgrading.

Who’s your sporting hero?
My sporting heroes are Shane Warne, Roy Keane and throw Tiger in there.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
red bands and beer, while flat racing is high heels and champagne.



Barry Donoghue

 

What is your background in horses?
Like most I started on ponies progressing through the equestrian circuit and pony club, my parents were extremely supportive of my passion. My Grandad was a master and field master of the Westmeath foxhounds, and there are photos of me from before I could even walk riding double on his horse at the hunts. I suppose this is where I got my love for the horses from.

My first pony was a schoolmaster where I hunted and did show hunter while my second was a 2-year-old Connemara pony named Smurff which was just broken in. Needless to say, he was either going to kill me or cure me as I was on the ground more than on his back, but I pursued and ended up progressing in hunting, eventing and show jumping to a high level all around Ireland.

How did you get into jumps racing?
My parents rented boxes in a livery yard at Charlestown Stud just outside Mullingar which was owned by Irish Grand National-winning trainer Dot Love who is one of my biggest inspirations to date. Dot evented internationally for Denmark in her younger days, and along with Joseph Murphy (international event rider for Ireland) and twin brother Ciaran Murphy (trainer) they gave me the best grounding possible. The yard transformed from eventing to National Hunt Racing in my early teens and this was where my love for jumps racing began. I loved being in the yard, when I wasn't at school or playing sports, I was at Charlestown. They also did a lot of breakers, eventually progressing to breaking and schooling all of the Gigginstown House Stud’s horses, one of the biggest National Hunt operations in Ireland. I was part of the breaking in and schooling of some of the best horses in Ireland, the stand out being Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition.

When I finished school I was keen to see more of the world and went to renowned horseman Rick Worthington in Australia, breaking in and track riding. I was part of the breaking in process for the Ingham family’s stock and others. Needless to say, they were all very quality horses, dual Gr.1 winner Pressday being a standout. Rick taught me a lot and I still hold what he taught me very close. I then went south to one of the best horsemen I've ever been around, Julien Welsh. I was also doing a bit of riding and schooling for Eric Musgrove and Matt Leek. At Julien's, I was again part of the breaking in process of some exceptional quality stock such as Sepoy. I came to New Zealand in 2013 and worked at Kilgravin Lodge for over five years as an assistant manager. I am currently working for Chad Ormsby of Riverock Farm. Chad and Alisha are lovely people and do a great job, Chad is also a very good horseman.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Being in the birdcage for the Caulfield Guinness when Starspangledbanner won.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I've had a lot of Influential people throughout my career in which I turn to, but my parents would have to be a stand out for me.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
I've broken in a lot of Group winners but I'll never forget the first time I got on Pressday, it was something I'd never felt before.

Best win to date?
El Disparo (one and only)

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
I loved watching Moscow Flyer when I was younger, but I would have loved to get a spin on Frankel.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
I'm in the gym most nights but the sauna seems to be my best friend.

Favourite racecourse and why?
I'd love to ride around Cheltenham, it's a true spectacle.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
Putting the saddle on from the wrong side, terrible luck

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
Still working full time in the industry.

Your biggest pet hate?
Not tucking straps into keepers.

Who’s your sporting hero?
Can't split between Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
spectacular racing, a real buzz.



Shaun Phelan

 

What is your background in horses?
My dad has trained horses my whole life so I was lucky enough to be raised into the game. My mum was also a keen equestrian so I did the whole pony club scene as a kid. By the time I was 12 my Dad sent me up to Pukekohe where I started riding trackwork every day with Peter Johnson. By the time I was 14 I was doing stints with Ben Foote who helped me a lot as a young fella. 

How did you get into jumps racing?
Dad took me to Mrs Browne’s jump school when I was 13 years old and I’ve been hooked ever since.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Pakenham Cup with Our Big Mike will always be unforgettable. As well as winning four in a day at Te Aroha was pretty special, and the celebration afterwards was bloody good. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I was lucky enough to start riding in an era of very well known jumps trainers and jockeys. Tony Cole helped get me started by riding his team of horses. Mrs Browne has always been a huge influence on my career as well as jumps racing in general. From a rider’s perspective, I was the young fella on the block riding against the likes of Jonathan Riddell, Tony Ihaka, Tommy Hazlet, and Richard Eynon. All competitive to ride against but very helpful in kick-starting my career. 

Best horse you’ve ridden?
All three of my Grand National winners, Eric The Viking, Uppercut and It’s A Wonder. They were all very good jumpers 

Best win to date?
Toms Myth winning the Great Northern is the pinnacle of racing for any jumps jockey. Carrying the famous Browne colours over the Ellerslie hill is as good as it gets. 

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Tallyho Twinkletoe, I think he is the best jumper we have ever seen here in New Zealand. Although I wouldn't want to fight Aaron for the ride, he has a black belt in karate. 

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
Harvey Wilson has a great team of horses, and I have some nice horses within my own stable that are coming up nicely. 

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
A lot of running, gym, boxing and sitting in the bath or sauna. I often find myself dropping a couple kilos in the morning before race day. 

Favourite racecourse and why?
Riccarton. It is a great jumps track to ride around and the Grand National Carnival is like nothing else. 

Do you have any race day superstitions?
I always make sure to reply to my mum’s good luck text message before the race, and when I go into the barriers I say a quick prayer to my Nana asking for good luck. 

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
Training and breaking in.

Your biggest pet hate?
Bludgers. 

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Michael Mitchell was always dressed very professionally. Worst dressed is Gary Walsh, he borrows clothes from anywhere he can and his shoes look like he’s stolen them from his Grandad. 

Who’s your sporting hero?
Jonah Lomu.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
an industry where I have met a lot of amazing people filled with a comradery of passion and love for the game. 

 

Shaun Fannin



What is your background in horses?
I have been riding ponies since I was seven, showjumping, showing, show hunter, everything really. Mum trained a few back in the day and grew up with Sue Thompson who between the two of them taught me how to ride. Their involvement in racing became a part of my introduction to racing.

How did you get into jumps racing?
Riding show jumpers and being too tall to ride on the flat, I guess it was something that was destined to be. Mum and dad weren't too keen for me to get involved in riding over fences but my interest was too great to stop me from pursuing it.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
My first winner aboard Houndscry at Trentham. I lost one of my irons at the first fence and luckily I regained it a while later. I was riding the length of John Wayne and the finish looked like I was changing gears in an old Bedford truck. The main thing was we got the job done, but it’s always a good laugh to look back on!

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Kevin Myers. I learnt very quickly how to think fast and work hard. He taught me early on that I'll only get out what I put in. He taught me most of what I know today and I  wouldn't have achieved much of what I have if it wasn't for him. I'm forever grateful for that.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
I've been lucky enough to be associated with some great horses throughout my career with the likes of Sea King, Zed Em and Tallyho Twinkletoe to name a few.  A personal favourite is definitely Kick Back, she was the size of a pony but had the heart of a lion. Her season in 2016 was incredible, culminating in the Great Northern Steeplechase was something I'll have with me forever.

Best win to date?
Definitely either one of my Great Northern wins. Kick Back was special as it was my first and my association with her. She was so tiny she could barely see the top of the fences, and all I had to do was wait as long as I could before I let her go. 2019 on Wise Men Say was also memorable as he was a touch out of form and we changed his racing pattern to try to sharpen him up. It paid off with an all the way victory.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Kauto Star. He was an absolute champion jumper. His record speaks for itself but he had a magnificent leap and a huge heart and it gives me goosebumps watching his replays.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
Laekeeper, he's a machine and a great jumper who gives me a real thrill to ride. Kevin has a nice team around him this year so hopefully, I can ride a few of them this season.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
Riding work and plenty of schooling to keep my eye in. I play a lot of squash and tennis which helps keep me fit and the hand-eye coordination in tack.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Ellerslie, it's New Zealand’s premier track and I have had some great wins there. It's always a buzz and a great atmosphere.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
I would definitely be a Grammy performing artist. I'm a very good dancer and an even better singer. Just an all-round performer.

Who’s your sporting hero?
Daniel Carter. I played rugby right through school, I was a first five and I idolised him. A great ambassador for New Zealand sport and in general, he is a champion on and off the pitch.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
not for the faint-hearted.

Emily Farr

 

What is your background in horses?
I was born and bred on a hill farm in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales surrounded by sheep and Welsh Mountain ponies. I suppose my love started from there. I was on a pony before I could walk, riding was always on the cards with horse obsessed parents like mine. I went through the normal pony club ranks, hunting, showing, eventing and show jumping. My parents followed me around the UK representing Wales in show jumping from the age of 8 until I was 16. I really loved it and I am so grateful for the support of my parents throughout my childhood. However, when I turned 16 I wanted to follow in their footsteps in the racing world, even though my mother tried her best to keep me away. She used to say “jump racing is too dangerous for girls.” 

How did you get into jumps racing?
I was bred into jump racing with both my Mum and Dad being amateur champion jump jockeys in the UK. If anything, Mum was a lot better than Dad but she would never admit it. They trained point-to-point racehorses throughout my childhood and I used to go and watch them until I became old enough to have my first ride.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
I love progression and seeing horses learn and be successful. So many of my memorable moments are seeing maiden hurdlers that I have taught and spent time with being successful. Obviously Gobstopper is one of those, but Bahhton is a particular horse that holds a place in my heart. I took him to many shows and show hunter classes and his love of jumping was shown by winning his first start over fences with myself on board. It may have only been a maiden hurdle but I get great self-satisfaction from teaching a horse to jump and providing them with another option in their career. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My parents back in Wales are huge supporters of my career and they are always there with advice and criticism. I have met some incredible people while being in New Zealand and I am privileged to have had the opportunities I have been given. You have to surround yourself with people that support and promote you, not only as a jockey but as a person. The whole Brownes family are the best crew to have your back and I appreciate them every day.

Also, John and Linda Wheeler are a great support team to have and it is great to have an association with their jumpers. I also spent time with Craig Thornton when I first came to New Zealand and I learnt a lot from watching him ride. There is always great advice provided by Jonathan Riddell, if you are brave enough to ask when he’s wasting. 

Best horse you’ve ridden?
I am very lucky that when I returned to the UK last year I got to have a gallop on Potters Corner trained by Christian Williams. He won the Welsh Grand National in 2019, an extremely tough, old fashioned steeplechaser. One of the best flat horses I have ridden would be Two Illicit trained by Roger James and Robert Wellwood. I rode her in trackwork last year and she is pretty special to me. Raceday would be Gobstopper, Pump Up The Volume, Big Mike and Kaharau who are a couple of my favourites. 

Best win to date?
In New Zealand, my Hawkes Bay Hurdle win on Just Got Home trained by Rudy Liefting is one of the best days in my career. I thoroughly enjoyed travelling to Melbourne to win the Drechsler Hurdle on Gobstopper. Being the only female licensed jumps jockey in Australia is quite exciting.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Istabraq is a horse I grew up watching. He won the Champion hurdle three times and the Irish Champion hurdle four times and many more. We all dream of sitting on an aeroplane like him. 

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
I have a lot of maiden hurdlers that are exciting. Kaharau, Mishka, Cleaver. Just to label a few to look out for. 

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
My weight has never been an issue over fences if I’m honest. I ride a fair bit of track work, normally around 12 to 19 a morning which keeps me out of trouble. I also have a love/hate relationship with my personal trainer, Baylee Jackson. She’s pretty tough on me. 

Favourite racecourse and why?
In New Zealand, Ellerslie is a course that doesn’t compare to any other on the planet. It shows a true test for a stayer especially when it is a heavy 11. However, if you are a jumping enthusiast, you must tick Cheltenham off your bucket list. The atmosphere is incredible.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
Not really. I’m just a big believer in Karma. 

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
I would love to be in London doing Musical Theatre. It’s a pretty big passion of mine and I encourage anyone to take me up in a karaoke competition. Party trick is that I can tap dance! 

Your biggest pet hate?
I hate keyboard warriors. 

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
I don’t know about the jockeys, but if you want a lesson about winter fashion check out Jacques Duncan (Ken Duncan’s wife). She is an icon of tweed and fur. Outstanding outfits every jump meeting. 

Who’s your sporting hero? 
I look up to any athlete that is elite in their chosen sport. The commitment, dedication and self-sacrifice is truly inspiring. A P McCoy is in his own category as a Jumps Jockey. 

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is ……. 
a sport that provides me with a thrill like no other.

 

Buddy Lammas

 

What is your background in horses?
Both Mum and Dad were jockeys so I grew up riding. It started with pony club, hunting, show classes and showjumping until I was 17. I then had to decide between racing and playing polo in England. Obviously I decided on racing.

How did you get into jumps racing?
Dad was a jumps jockey for the master Mick Preston so when my weight began to fluctuate too much, I decided to give jumps racing a crack.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
I really can't decide between winning a 1.2 million dollar race or winning in Dubai as part of the apprentice challenge. A low light was fracturing my back in a fall at Waipukurau.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I have to go with Mum and Dad. They are always the first to congratulate me for the good stuff and the most reliable when times aren't so great.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
On the flat, Wall Street. Over jumps has got to be the mighty Shamal.

Best win to date?
The Great Northern on Jack Frost. Coming from as far back as he was for a win was pretty cool.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
I wouldn’t turn down taking Winx for a hoon.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
Tintintinnie, a horse from my stable who will need this season but I think she will make a nice steeplechaser. I can't decide on just one so I will go with Bigredmoon and Old Countess, they are both coming up nicely this year.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
I run and pretend to play squash. By that I mean I look at my racquet and say I really should go and play. I do have to spend crazy hours in the spa and sauna.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Riccarton. Excellent sauna and the course proper and steeplechase tracks are always very well prepared.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
I don't do pre-race interviews.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
Training and a stock agent.

Your biggest pet hate?
Trying really hard to make weight and failing, just to have people comment on it.

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Best is Lemmy Douglas in his suit and tie.

Who’s your sporting hero?
Frankie Dettori.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
scary, and fun when you win.

 
 
Hamish McNeill
 
 
What is your background in horses?
I've been around horses my whole life. My Grandad bred and owned race horses so from a very early age I was always riding ponies, moving onto horses when I was about 12. From as young as I can remember, all I wanted to be was a jockey. I began riding track work for a couple of the local trainers during the weekends while I was still at school, mainly Ian Jardine.

During the summer of 2013, I was sent down to Newmarket by my boss’ partner Peter Scudamore to work for Sir Michael Stoute to gain more experience. Whilst there, I met Derek Nolan and I was fascinated by the concept of travelling the other side of the world to see what racing was like. Six months later I got a phone call from him telling me he had a job lined up for me. So I booked my flights and was in New Zealand by 8th December that year where I began working for Shaun and Emma Clotworthy and the rest is history.

How did you get into jumps racing?
I was born into it with my Grandad breeding and owning, and my cousin Campbell Gillies was also a jumps jockey. When I left school at 16, I began working for National Hunt trainer Lucinda Russell. I had a handful of point to point rides from the age of 16 to 18, riding one winner on a horse called See You There

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Would definitely have to be Grand National week of 2017. First of all, winning the Sydenham Hurdle on Go Go Gonzo, then two days later winning the National Hurdle on Ready Eddie for Laura Knight and Stephen Nichalls. It was my first ever ride in the race, on top of that I had won on Go Go Gonzo two days prior. I was already committed to ride for Stephen and Laura as they had supported me through the whole season and to me loyalty is a big thing, so to win it for them was personally a very big deal being able to repay them.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My cousin Campbell for sure has been my biggest influence, he was a jumps jockey back in Scotland and my absolute idol. He passed away 8 years ago, so he is definitely the reason I am where I am today.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
Would probably be a horse called One For Arthur who won the 2017 Grand National for my old boss Lucinda Russell. Giving her and the Jockey Derek Fox their first win in the race respectively. 
 
Best win to date? 2017 Grand National Hurdle on Ready Eddie, he wasn't the most well-bred horse going around at the time but he definitely made up for it with this jumping ability and heart. He was very economical through his hurdles and wouldn't waste any energy, he was just such a genuine horse.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Far too many to pick from but top three would be; Big Bucks, Kauto Star, Red Rum.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
Tommyra for Toby Autridge, he would definitely have to be one of the nicest jumpers I’ve sat on.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
That's a secret.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Hurdle track would have to be Riccarton. Steeplechase track definitely Ellerslie as the fences are just so inviting.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
There is a song that was written about my cousin which I listen to every race day morning. I also have my cousin’s seatsavers with his initials on my saddles.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
It would definitely still be something within racing, there's nothing else I’ve ever wanted to do. It's a paid hobby.

Your biggest pet hate?
Can't say I have one.

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Best would definitely have to be Aaron Kuru, and worst...they know who they are.

Who’s your sporting hero?
Of course it has to be AP McCoy, that's a no brainer.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
the best drug known to man.

 

Michael Roustoby

What is your background in horses?
We start young in Australia, having a dollar each way on the Melbourne Cup from the age of five. My parents put the bets on and we had sweepstakes at school. We also went to the races sometimes and got to pick three horses for the day to put $1 each way on. My first-ever pick was Let's Elope in the 1991 Melbourne cup and I got close to $5 which was a fortune for a five-year-old. (Lollies were one cent each back in those days). My brother Adam and I were obsessed with jockeys after going to the races. We got replica jockey whips with winnings at the races and used to ride our rocking horse or perch on the side of the lounge and hit it with the stick. I would have loved to have been a jockey, but I was over 50kgs at 13 or 14. My brother Adam discovered jump racing when we were 14. We decided we were going to pursue that, (I still hadn't ridden a horse at this stage) and I just went along with it. Once we started riding at 18 I decided I would never be good enough to ride over a jump as rising to the trot was really difficult. My new dream was to be able to ride trackwork for a living, so we attended Richmond Tafe in New South Wales and completed Certificate 2 Stablehand and Certificate Trackrider.

Adam and I then both volunteered to work for Eric Musgrove for free for two weeks so we had something on our CV to get a job at Randwick. We ended up getting paid and staying at Eric’s for two months. We then came back to Sydney and once again volunteered to ride work at David Payne’s for a couple of months (never earnt a cent but the experience was valuable) which landed us a paid job with Gai Waterhouse. Mainly warming up and cooling horses down for the jockeys, getting the odd spin round the track cantering and eventually working our way up to riding gallops and attending the Melbourne Spring Carnival. Roger James then offered me a job, so I decided to come to have a look at New Zealand for three to six months. 13 and a half years later and I’m still here. Adam stayed in Australia, and has worked in England, Ireland, Tasmania and eventually found his way back to Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne stable where he works and rides over jumps.

Our school teachers and even our parents told us we would never make it in the industry, and we had to finish school to have something to fall back on. Not the traditional route but got there in the end

How did you get into jumps racing?
While I was working for Roger James, I wanted to learn and ride more horses. Trudy Thornton and Jane Hunt who were riding at Roger’s told me Mrs Browne was looking for another rider and I should go out there during my lunch break. So I did. I loved the farm lifestyle and riding the jumpers up the hill. It was something different. Eventually, myself and my partner Jen Mcilroy decided to train a jumper. I thought I can't train a jumper and not be able to even school one myself, so I asked Michelle Strawbridge if she could teach me. I had never ridden over a jump before then. Michelle was brilliant, I had no idea but she explained it all to me in simple terms and gave me great advice. She put me on the right horses, watched me ride and gave pointers. ‘Work on this, try this, don’t do that’ etc. I doubted myself, I didn't think I was good enough and it wasn't until four years later when Jen and I had another horse I'd been schooling that went really good that I decided to get my licence.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
All winners are great, but a horse trained by myself and my partner Jen McIlroy ‘Shakeitup’ winning a hurdle by 12 lengths at Ellerslie ridden by Shelley Houston was probably the most exciting. Racing is 98% disappointment so you learn to forget and move on from the bad days

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I've learned from many people but my brother Adam and I learnt together and supported each other the whole way through and wouldn't have made it so far in the industry without each other.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
Woodsman and Aigne, they are jets. Mongolian Kahn trackwork. A tough quirky customer but a freakish stayer.

Best win to date?
Winning an Open hurdle on Aigne at Rotorua is my biggest win so far. I was lucky enough to ride him in the Jerico Cup in Australia too. Neil O'dowd was a great supporter and it's a shame he has retired from training.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Hurricane Fly. Only Winx has won more at the top level and she never saw a hurdle

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
Anything in the Te Akau tangerine.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
Spend more time on the cross trainer, treadmill and mechanical horse than I do with my family.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Te Aroha hurdle track jumps are in a straight line and have a good run into all the fences. The horses generally jump well there.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
I'm not that arrogant that I think the undies I wear will have any influence on the day's events.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
Riding trackwork still. I love it.

Your biggest pet hate?
People who are offended by everything. World's become way to P.C.

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Pass. I have no idea when it comes to fashion.

Who’s your sporting hero?
AP McCoy. Cliche for jump jockeys to say but name a sportsman who has been champion at their game for 20 years in a row as well as breaking most of the bones in their body. Physical and mental toughness at its best

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
the ultimate test of man and beast.

 

Reece Cole

What is your background in horses?

I come from a racing background. My Grandfather, Bill (Shotgun) Burke was a trainer, and my uncle, Kim Burke, was a flat and jumps jockey. I had a pony we used to get bucked off, and at 13 I got sent to Shaun and Emma Clotworthy’s and learnt to ride work there. They're the best family. I then went home and worked for Alan Johnson, Kenny Rae and Donna and Dean Logan. After I finished school, I moved to Bryerly Park to work for Shaun and Emma again. I then made the move to Matamata where I now ride track work, break-in and pre-train a few.

How did you get into jumps racing?
My family always had a jumper when I was little, my uncle rode over fences and he set me up with a move to Matamata.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Definitely having a share in Tommyra with my uncle, Toby Autritdge and the crew when he won the K S Browne hurdle last year with Shaun Phelan riding. Also, the Waikato Hunt Cup last year on Pythagoras as both myself and Jess Brosnan are members of the Waikato Hunt Club.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Definitely my uncle, and the Autridges since I moved to Matamata.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
Rising Romance. I took her to Australia twice winning the ATC Oaks and finishing second in the Caulfield Cup.

Best win to date?
Winning on a flooded day at Te Rapa by 15 lengths on Toby’s horse Le Bon Fin. Never got to see the best of him. 

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Definitely have to be Tallyho Twinkletoe or Regina Coeli.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
Ali Baba and Altius.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
Not much food and a fair bit of exercise. Sweating is a constant.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Hastings, I rode my first winner there. It was my uncle’s first time back since breaking his neck and he was there to watch. It took a couple days to get home after that one.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
Not particularly. It is what it is and if it's going to happen then so be it.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
I would be breaking in and pre-training like I am now.

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Definitely one of the best would be James Seivwright, he is a neat freak so he always looks slick.

Who’s your sporting hero?
AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh. What they achieved in jumps racing will be hard to come close to.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
the greatest thrill, all the time and effort that goes into jumpers makes winning all the more special.

Lemmy Douglas

What is your background in horses?
I literally came from nothing to do with horses, I had never even been face to face with a horse until I was 21. I didn’t even know what a head collar was! I always loved watching the races and for a long time I wanted to be involved, I just had no idea how. Until I came across the British Racing School where I spent 10 weeks learning how to ride and I just fell in love with the game from the get go. I knew I had it in me and I just kept pushing myself, even when I kept falling off I got back on again and again until I got it right.

How did you get into jumps racing?
After my 10 week stint in Newmarket, I went to work for Paul Webber who definitely had his work cut out for him but he gave me every chance. I got to work closely with AP McCoy, James Best, Liam Treadwell and a few other of the jumps jockeys who all gave me tips and advice when schooling horses. I knew I wanted to ride the jumps, it was just such a thrill and after a couple years I ended up having a short stint riding under the rules of Arabian Racing for Delyth Thomas. He was an absolute delight and is amongst one of the best trainers in the industry, so I got to ride some really nice horses. I spent a lot of time in Lambourn where I held a conditional and an amateur license working for Roger Teal. He was great and they really look after you there, he definitely taught me a lot about my riding.

I eventually made my way to New Zealand where I worked for Ken Duncan for two seasons and he gave me the introduction into some real racing, giving me every ride he possibly could. Ken treated me like family and I couldn’t have asked for a better boss, he’s as tough as old boots but he’s fair in what he does.

Now I am currently in Cambridge working for Mark Brooks and continuing to improve. I’m schooling as many horses as possible with the goal to ride some big winners, and I still can’t believe five years ago I had never even sat on a horse. I’ve had the pleasure of riding in some of New Zealand’s biggest jumps races so I just need to win some now, you could say I’ve come a long way but still a long way to go. All I can do is improve, but the support I’ve received has been amazing from trainers and owners.

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Being there to watch my good friend Buddy Lammas win two Grand Nationals for the Ken Duncan stable. Being a part of that team was a thrill.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Buddy Lammas has been my mentor and very good friend since moving to New Zealand, I cannot thank him enough. He’s been there supporting me through all the highs and lows, keeping me going and educating me every step of the way.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
Hesalljazz for Stephen Ralph, it was my first New Zealand winner back in 2018 and he’s still my champion.

Best win to date? 
Hesalljazz in the Maramarua Hunt hurdle was an absolute thrill of a race.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Would have to be Tiger Roll trained by Gordon Elliot.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
There are a couple of young ones coming up, such as Brawler for Clinton Isdale who won a jump trial at Cambridge really well. I’m mainly excited to see Hesalljazz try to take on the steeplechase fences this year.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
I do a lot of cycling and running. I also have a personal trainer I see once a week for strength training, but nothing too crazy.

Favourite racecourse and why?
Riccarton, I just love the steeplechase fences there. It's a big track and every fence is inviting.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
I have to bang the top of my helmet before leaving the parade ring. I don’t know why, I just do it for good luck or something. Or maybe just to make sure I’ve got it on.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
I’d be a food hygiene specialist, that was always the plan following the catering route.

Your biggest pet hate?
I’m pretty easy going so can’t say that I have one.

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Best dressed would have to be Hamish McNeil, that tweed suit is outstanding. For the girls, Emily Farr wins that every time. I don’t know who would be the worst dressed, the lads scrub up well enough when we need to. Although a couple of the lads could sharpen up though.

Who’s your sporting hero?
Would always go with AP McCoy, but Davy Russell would be the second choice.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is …….
The biggest thrill I’ve ever experienced, it’s a buzz like no other, the good the bad and the excitement before every race is really something else.


James Seivwright

 

What is your background in horses?
As a young kid, I wasn’t the biggest fan of horses, it wasn’t until my dad retired from the army and got a job in Ireland as a stud manager that I really took an interest. Soon enough, I couldn't be kept away from horses. I got a little 14hh cob pony, it used to stop a lot in the early days so I learnt about keeping my leg on early.

I then got into pony racing when I was about 14. The ponies range from 12 to 14 hands high and race small 800m rope and fence post tracks in a paddock, right up to 2 miles. It’s a great way for young jockeys to get experience before taking out a license as an apprentice.

I then progressed to riding as an amateur in England where I rode a couple of winners in point to points before moving to Australia to ride work. Eventually finding my way here to New Zealand.

How did you get into jumps racing?
I really wanted to be a flat jockey, but being six feet tall I was never going to make the weight, so I thought jumping was the go. Luckily I love it too. I was working for Chris Waller, and Lee Magorrian who was the apprentice there at the time told me they needed more jump jockeys in New Zealand. My visa was not far off running out so I thought why not have another go at riding over jumps while I'm still young enough instead of going back to the UK. Lee sorted a job for me with Shaun and Emma Clotworthy who have always been great. I was only going to come for one season, I’m now finishing my 4th!

What has been your most memorable moment on a racecourse to date? (good or bad)
Riding Thenamesbond to win the Waikato Hunt Cup at Te Aroha was a good moment, we led and he pulled the whole way. I was glad when we crossed the line! Bad would have been breaking my collarbone at the last hurdle at Christchurch last year, I was out for the rest of the season from it!

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I don't really have one, I’ve always just done things to be happy.

Best horse you’ve ridden?
I rode Preferment when I worked for Chris Waller, he was a beast. I also rode the grand national winner Many Clouds once when I worked for Oliver Sherwood in England, he was such a gentleman of a horse. Big Opal would be the best jumper I’ve ridden here in New Zealand.

Past or present – one you wish you could throw a leg over?
Istabraq, he was trained by Aidan O’Brien and won 3 champion hurdles. He was some horse.

One or two horses you are most excited about riding this season?
The Arabian Duke is looking like one to watch, he flew around the steeplechase at Cambridge trials last week.

In order to be raceday fit and the right weight, what does your training schedule look like?
A ridiculous amount of cardio and not a whole lot to eat. If only I wasn’t so tall!

Favourite racecourse and why?
Riverton steeplechase course, it’s so much fun and they’re decent-sized fences too.

Do you have any race day superstitions?
I used to but not anymore, I realised it doesn’t change anything.

If you weren’t a jumps jockey, what would you be doing?
Definitely something in racing, probably breaking-in horses full time. I currently work for Sam Beatson at Riversley Park and really enjoy breaking in yearlings.

Your biggest pet hate?
I wouldn’t say it’s a pet hate but I’m a really tidy person, I hate mess.

Best or worst dressed jumps jockey?
Hamish McNeil has a tweed suit he wears for the big race days, it’s pretty fly. I don’t want to make any enemies by saying who dresses the worst, but someone does wear ‘sneans’ (sneaker and jeans combination) a lot though.

Who’s your sporting hero?
AP McCoy, he is the ultimate jumps jockey. Nobody will be in his league for a very long time.

Finish this sentence: Jumps Racing is…….
The most exhilarating thing to do on a horse.

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