Does ex-jockey Jamie Hamblett have the X Factor?
Most jockeys who hang up their riding boots retire into a roll training horses or putting their skills to use as a panellist or presenter on the TV. However, one former Flat jockey, Jamie Hamblett, has dreams of becoming a singing star after his band made it through to the live finals on the X Factor.
Jamie, who lives in horseracing's HQ in Newmarket, rode twenty-three winners in a career in the saddle spanning over four years. He was apprenticed to ten-times champion trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, and even had a ride for the Queen. His last appearance on the racecourse came back in October 2009, but he has continued his association with racing, riding out every morning for John Gosden before heading off to do bits of acting and modelling.
The twenty-four year old entered the popular reality talent show as part of a trio, Triple J, with his friends Jaymi Hensley and Josh Cuthbert. After wowing the judges with their opening audition, the group narrrowly missed out on making it to the judges' houses stage. However, with another band pulling out of the competition, they received their lifeline and rebranded themselves Union J with the addition of George Shelley to make them a four-piece. In less then a week, they have picked up an astonishing 130,000 followers on Twitter and are already being touted by some as the next big boy band.
Friend and former colleague, Nicky Mackay, says, "It's strange seeing someone you ride out with every morning appearing on TV on something like the X Factor. But fair play to him, he's done really well and is up there now with a really good chance on a programme which opens up plenty of doors. I mean look at One Direction - they didn't even win it!"
"It takes a lot of guts to try your hand at something completely different. I'm not sure there's ever been anyone famous from Newmarket from outside of racing and this shows that it isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all of success!"
Many of his other ex-colleagues are cheering him on and Kirsty Milczarek has even touted another name from the weighing room who could be chasing the X Factor dream next year!
Tune into ITV next weekend to see how Jamie and his bandmates get on as part of the final 12 in the hotly-contested live shows. Here's the performance of Union J singing summer smash, Call Me Maybe, which got them through to the finals:
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