My Race Days
Welsh National, Brendan 'Properly Educated' Powell and a very proud moment
The past year has been good for me riding plenty of winners (but could always do with more) and especially as I stayed injury free. Getting a clear run is very important because if you are out there are an unlimited number of jocs to jump into your position and it's very hard to get back the rides you have missed out on. At the same time you need other people’s misfortunes to get chances, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
The death of Doreen Rackham in the summer was a low point for me, as she was like my English Mother, and looked after me when I arrived over as a spotty teenager many moons ago. She will be greatly missed.
The high point for me was getting my hernia operated on during a quiet period in the summer. It had been killing me for a number of months so it was an instant relief to have it sorted.
April and October were good months for me, netting four nice winners each month. But that’s all in the past, so here's hoping to another good season with plenty of winners and most of all staying in one piece…G6
It was great to be able to get home to Ireland for Christmas. After making a mad dash from Sedgefield to Bristol to catch my flight home, I then spent my three days off at home sat on the couch recovering from a busy few months, with my Mammy waiting on me hand and foot!
It was a 3.30am start for my mother on Boxing Day, who had to take me to the airport (she must love me coming home), as I was riding at Market Rasen. A couple of rides there bore no fruit but as I had a ride in the Welsh National the next day my spirits were up. Peter Bowen had rung me on Christmas Eve to see if I'd ride Mumbles Head and do 10 stone. Looking back on it, he only rang me then so that I didn't have too much turkey!
I got the weight down with a bit of sweating and headed off to Chepstow. There was a massive crowd there as everybody had the racing bug from Kauto Star winning his fifth King George the day before. Down at the start everyone was buzzing and trying to get a good position but, luckily for me, I was told to sit three quarters of the way back. I got a lovely position and jumped away fine until we got to the ditch in the straight where Hey Big Spender jumped across me and blinded my horse. He clouted the fence hard and threw me off! What an anti-climax!! But, as ever, I was in one piece.
I then had no rides until Newbury on New Year’s Eve. Swansbrook was my mount but he failed to stay three and a quarter miles. My fault, as I insisted he would get it. What do us jockeys know! I thought as I had three nice rides at Exeter an early night was the best option. So I rang in the New Year fast asleep tucked up in my bed. The life we lead!
Early start, on New Year’s Day when I took my DAwG Tommy Tayto for a walk, thinking I’d get the New Year off to a good start with a nice walk then three nice rides. Come 5pm that evening it was not the start to the New Year I was hoping for. All my mounts ran badly, so much for my dedication staying in and an early morning walk! Next New Year’s I'm going dancing!
Brendan Powell Jnr is the only jockey making any money! He is only 16, riding loads of winners and is too young to drive. It does not get better than this. Coming back from Sandown a few weeks ago, me and Noel Fehily agreed that he is raking it in as he does not drive. With no bills to pay, he is the only jockey making money, as he does not have the massive expense of fuel or a mortgage. He told us that he turns 17 on January 26th and we told him not take or pass his driving test for as long as he can because when he does the money will soon disappear. Save save save....
As he is living and working in the outback down at Colin Tizzard’s, he ends up going racing in the horsebox or gets an old friend of his father, who lives near Tizzard’s, called Cyril to drop him to a main road where he can meet up with other jockeys going racing.
He obviously was not very good at geography at school, as one day he was meant to be going to Leicester racing and asked Conor O’Farrell to pick him up but Conor, who was also not good at school, said he would but picking Brendan up would have meant going two hours out of his way! So he didn't pick him up and Brendan could not get to the races - it’s always nice having good friends!
Now us jockeys have an unwritten rule that if you’re driving to the races you get coffee or whatever you want bought for you, or if you pass a Toll Bridge the passengers pay it for the driver. As I drive Brendan a bit, I thought it best to educate him to the unwritten rule early doors in his career…
It's a shame that not all jockeys had as good an education. Some will pretend to be asleep as you come to Toll Bridges, while others will just stay in the car while you go into a shop or even disappear into the toilets. The things some people will do just never surprises me.
Former jockey Carl Llewellyn was always renowned for his cleverness, or tightness, whichever way you want to look at it, but he set a standard that every jockey is trying to beat. Jimmy MCarthy took over his mantle but we do have a few ' Junior Jimmys' in the weighing room now.
Nicky Henderson’s conditional, Jerry McGrath is a known sleeper, or pretend sleeper when it comes to stopping at a shop. During a trip to Exeter on New Year’s Day he thought he would get his new year off to a good start by not spending any money. So as I filled my car up with fuel he decided to pretend to be asleep. I then had to get my own coffee and, just to make matters worse, I had to also buy Noel Fehily one as he played the “I'm running late” trick on me. Now, this is a new one on me but it's a trick I'm now wise too and will be playing it back on the Fehily DAwG!
To finish with, I have to give Tommy ‘Top Cat’ Carberry (PeterJon) a shout out. He has been living with me for over a year now and is great craic to have about the place. Well, after lunchtime anyway, as it takes him that long to wake up properly. You could meet Tommy on the stairs at six in the morning and not even get a hello out of him. To be fair he has confessed that he is not a morning person. If you were a lucky person you might get a nod of the head but I can assure you that would be it.
If he was not to make it as a jockey, he definitely would as a cook. We, as self-made Bachelors, cook for each other most nights and I have to say this man can cook. He is so proud of what he cooks it makes me laugh every night.
His mother Pamela must have been a Saint as he needs some mothering. He needs help with washing his clothes, paying bills and organising riding out and I feel like he is my adopted son, although he is only six years younger than me.
While shopping over Christmas, Tommy was trying to buy a proper pair of pants! It was such a proud moment for me, like when a child speaks its first word or takes its first steps. Tommy 'Top Cat' Carberry was growing up.
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...
- 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
- 13.08.13 Being Wally, trying not to get arrested and living the American dream
@ianirwin on the door
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