My Race Days
Going on my own,Tank Top Tom and Twinkly Bell!
Since the start of my riding career I've been using valets at the races. Valets basically do the hard work for all of us jockeys at the races. They arrive hours before the first race and leave an hour after the last. From the moment we get to the races they take our bag from us, hang up all our gear, prepare our saddles and weights and make sure we have the right colours on.
When we come back in from riding we just chuck our saddles on the table and our colours and riding gear on the floor. They then have to clean the saddles and wash our gear while we exit the building. In the depths of winter mud can be stuck to you and cleaning all of this is no easy task when you have any amount of jockeys to look after.
John Buckingham, who won the Grand National on Foinaven, was my valet when I first came over and a nicer man you would not meet. He retired about 8 years ago and ex-jockey Chris Maude took over his business .He employs a really good bunch of lads in Ginger Graham Piper, Shane Clark and Lee Sooty Southern, amongst others, and this is the real back bone of the weighing room. People go on about the camaraderie in the weighing room and it starts with these guys. They are the butt of most jokes and give as good as they get. Without these guys there would be no camaraderie about the place.
Sadly this is an expense and luxury that I am no longer taking. Since last Saturday I have started to do this myself in order to save a few quid. I am finding myself going racing for one ride most days and, as I'm a freelance jockey, I tend to try to ride out where racing is on and end up driving most days.
So with fuel prices the way they are, agent fees and tax you end up with hardly anything. Valet fees are 10% + VAT, so by doing this myself I'll be saving over £18 a ride. Granted I'll end up paying a little more tax at the end of the year but I will be saving quite a bit of wonga!
Since I started I've had to invest in a few things that I didn't have like girths, lead bags and tights! The first two were no problem to get but the tights I had to ask my female lodger Carmen "Da Wizard" Mugual to pick them up for me. I thought it might just save a few funny looks in the shop. Racing is the only profession where men can get away with wearing tights, other that if you’re Drag Queen, of which there is a few floating around in the weighing room.
As I am now looking after myself, I can basically sit anywhere in the weighing room. At Plumpton on Monday I found myself sitting in a chair rather than a bench. Any time I got up to go for a sweat or physio when I came back my chair was gone. Mattie Batch kept taking it saying it was the canteen chair and that it was needed in there - Menace!
At Warwick I put myself out of the way and found myself upsides a few amateur jockeys. I was joking with the lads later and was telling them that my bottle will be gone in a month’s time if I keep ending up sitting beside them!
I've had a grand introduction with not much kick back and it hasn't been raining over the past week, so it's not too bad so far but when it does start raining, and you have a few rides on the one day, then I might start thinking it's not worth it but I love work so we will see how we get on. G6 to washing my own briefs!
On last week’s Morning Line Tom Scudamore was the guest. Now why they had him on I'll never know. Tom does a column for The Times once a week and last week was going on about how everyone is now on Twitter and it does his head in. This got brought up on the programme on Saturday where Tom duly gave me a bit of stick about it. Have a look!
So after I had seen this I sent this message to Scu...
From the text message you can see that Tom is a big fan of tank tops. Hence the name ‘Tank Top Tom’. For any of the big meetings you can have any bet old Tom will be wearing a tank top. So when you see him make sure you call him that!
I've been trying to dig dirt on Tom since Saturday but have been finding it really difficult. Anyone I asked just told me that he is squeaky clean. The best I got was when he started crying when he won on Loch Derg at Fontwell a few years back but to be fair he has grown up since then. Well in some parts anyway. To be fair Scu is a top man and is one of the best lads for taking the mick! Whenever he is telling a story about one of the other jocks (mainly Daryl Jacob) he has a massive crowd gathered and never lets the truth get in the way and always gets a good reaction. He should have been an actor but to us he will always be ‘Tank Top Tom’.
As the weather has been quite good recently, and I’ve not had too much racing, I've started to play a bit of golf again. As it’s winter the winds can be blowing quite a bit. It's always important to check which way it's blowing. To do this we usually chuck a bit of grass in the air to see which way it's blowing. A well-known trainer does this at the races for some reason and recently his jockey has been coming out to the paddock reaching down to the ground, picking his bit of grass and throwing it in the air. Now when this got spotted you could just imagine that this jockey started getting a lot of abuse from his colleagues. You see any little thing gets picked up on so if you do anything out of the ordinary it gets picked up on straight away .Sammy Thomas gave this Jockey a bit of abuse on Twitter about it and he did not take it at all well so I best not mention who it was as it definitely hit a nerve ...
I have to give Jamie ‘Geezer’ Moore a special mention for his ride on Fruity O’ Rooney in the Skybet Chase at Doncaster last Saturday. He is only a pony of a horse and his saddle had slipped a little turning for home, and got worse the further he went up the straight, but as he was still in front and. more to the point, had Jamie on top they kept going and by the time they jumped the last fence the tack had gone right back and Jamie had kicked out both his peddles. As you can see from the picture the saddle is right back and usually when it goes this far back a horse will start bucking but as it was at the end of 3 miles he was lucky! He went on to finish third and deserved every bit of prize money he got because he had some balls to keep going .G6 to da Geezer.
Hay, I'm David or Dave Crosse and I'm a professional Jumps jockey originally from near Cashel, Co Tipperary. I am now based and have been for the last 14 years in Lambourn in Berkshire - the home of Jumps racing.
Racing has been going well for me this season and I hope to make a big impact this winter when the proper jumps racing starts. I've been through the mill with injuries down the years but nothing that has ever stopped me getting back in the saddle. I've probably broken bones in places people didn't even realise they had bones.
I'm going to take you through what I get up too on and off the track, and try give you an insight of a jockey's life and the craic we have 24/7.
Being a Jumps jockey is a dangerous game but to me its the best game in the world. I look forward to sharing the craic we have in the weighting room with the Lovetheraces and Attheraces readers. It a side of the sport that very few people see so its going to be pretty special.
So here we go...
- 10.12.13 Riding The Moose, muckin' about with the Twistons and a goodbye to Charlie Huxley
- 27.11.13 The emotions of racing, Chappers getting the hump and the first ever Fryer Jockey!
- 13.11.13 Taking the falls, my tribute to McCoy and a huge Dingbat Of Da Week
- 28.10.13 Heading to Champions Day, Gavin Sheehan's Mother an Katie Perry
- 10.10.13 A Mattie Batch Classic an Quitting racin over a Female
- 02.09.13 Meeting US stars, causing trouble zip wiring and looking out for Rednecks
"Riding The Moose, muckin' about with the Twistens, Theres a DingBat about and goodbye to Charlie Huxley" http://t.co/bl4FdprgF5
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