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Hollie's Blog: Getting Started In Racing

03 July 2017

I hope that everyone’s been enjoying the racing over the last couple of weeks since my last blog. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to ride due to a collarbone injury that I sustained at Goodwood in June. Thankfully, I’m on the mend and should be back riding soon.

I’ve wanted to be a jockey since I was very young and injuries are something that you have to accept as part of the job, as all professional athletes will know.

Horse riding and racing have very much been part of my life for as long as I can remember, in fact I think I was sat on a horse before I could even walk!

My Gran bred Arabian horses which although similar are a different breed to thoroughbred racehorses and run in their own races. Gran bred them and Mum would ride them whilst my dad was also a jockey who rode thoroughbreds on the flat and over jumps. Growing up I knew nothing other than racing.

As soon as I was old enough to learn to ride, I started going to Pony Club. Combining the love for horses with Mum and Dad’s lives as jockeys really fuelled my own ambition to get in the saddle myself.

I had a pony called Jerry, who was a bit of a character, to say the least. Jerry’s still around at the age of 30, although I think he made sure that I spent more time on the ground than on his back.

As a kid I used to travel to Point-to-Point meetings with Mum and Dad, whenever we had runners. I always looked up to Nina Carberry, I think she’s one of the best female jump jockeys around. I actually originally wanted to become a jump jockey, but I never quite grew big enough!

When I was old enough to, I started pony racing where I rode a few winners.

My pony racing days came to an end when I turned 16 and I began a full time job working for David Evans in Wales. I then went to the British Racing School to do my amateur jockey course. I rode 3 winners as an amateur. Shortly after turning amateur I took the first step to becoming an apprentice by completing the apprentice jockey license course at BRS. I\'ve been working for trainer Richard Hannon for two and a half years now. I’ve been very lucky with the chances I’ve been given so far and it’s great to be part of a big team. As I mentioned in my last blog, Barney Roy won the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot this year which was great. Big winners always give a boost to the whole yard.

I’m still fairly early on in my career, but I feel very lucky to have ridden some brilliant horses and in some big races. First Mohican, who I’ve ridden in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket and the Chester Cup as well as on Good Friday at Lingfield Park for the All-Weather Championships Finals is a horse I am fond of, he’s such a character. My win on Scarlet Dragon in the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket is definitely a highlight of my career so far.

I really appreciate the chances I am getting from the numerous Owners and Trainers who are supporting me. Both Cathy Gannon and Hayley Turner have helped me over time and given me plenty of advice for which I’m really grateful.

As I mentioned earlier, it can be a tough life as a jockey, but my aim is to keep on working hard, getting as many rides and winners as possible and keep improving as a rider. One day I’d love to ride a winner at Royal Ascot!

As for any young girls or boys reading this and thinking they might also want to be a jockey, I’d say to just work hard and always look to improve yourself.