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horse racing - The W1nners' Club


It’s time to dust yourself down and do something useful with your time. Yes, we know you loved your old job and yes, we know that you didn’t mean to drink quite so much alcohol that lunchtime but unfortunately, due to an oversight on your part you eventually got the sack.

The question now is what to do with the rest of your life.

Maybe a change of career is on the cards because let’s face it, being known in your previous industry as the person who said, “I’m not as think as you drunk I am,” to the boss upon being asked if they’d consumed any alcohol over lunch has made you a bit of a laughing stock.

Have you ever considered winning the Grand National?

The pay isn’t bad and everyone else will be drunk when you do your victory parade rather than you for a change.

If jumping over fences on the back of a one tonne beast wearing nothing more than fancy coloured shirts, knee high boots and holding a whip is your thing – here’s what to need to do to realise your ambition:

1.    Join the Pony Club


Taking part in the Pony Racing Authority and Pony Club racing days is the best way to start your racing career. The emphasis on race days is more about having a go and having some fun than serious competition. You’ll need to be a member of The Pony Club to compete and – no, saying you’ve ridden Donkeys on Blackpool pleasure beach will not grant you automatic entry.


2.    Undergo compulsory training


Before you can even begin to dream of winning the Grand National, you’ll need to embark on a nine week course at the British Racing School. This course is compulsory if you want to work full time in a racing yard. You’ll have to do nine tough weeks at Newmarket or the Northern Racing College in Yorkshire but by the end of the course you’ll receive an NVQ in Racehorse Care meaning horseshoes will now mean more to you than simply good luck because they’re hung on a wall a certain way up.


3.    Get some work in the horse racing industry


Now that you’ve completed the nine week course, the lovely bods at the British Racing School will be more than willing to help you find a yard to work at. There you’ll become part of the stable staff team. As a newly qualified stable hand you will look after the racehorses and ride them every day. This is your first step to becoming a jockey and is very important as you’ll get to know what goes on, ‘behind the scenes,’ in racing – as a result we advise you not to develop a gambling problem at this point in your career.


4.    Get some racing done


Before you become the next Frankie Dettori, you’ll have to become an apprentice jockey (on the flat) or conditional jockey (over jumps) first. Every rider has to have an apprentice licence which allows you to ride in flat races against the professional jockeys, but a weight allowance will be provided to compensate for your inexperience. Once you’ve had a few wins as an apprentice, you’ll then be able to obtain your professional licence or amateur rider permit – a bit like passing your driving test only using a bridle and reins instead of a steering wheel and brakes.

5.    Win the Grand National


Jockeys have to be light. A flat jockey usually weighs about 8 stone and jump jockeys can weigh a bit more at around 9 ½ stone, so it’s goodbye pizza, lager, and anything else you would consume in celebration after winning the Grand National.  Remember that jockeys are also professional athletes so you’ll need to be extremely fit and healthy. All in all you’ll need commitment, dedication, motivation and a great relationship with horses to get to the top; so stop lamenting the loss of your last job and go and win the Grand National.

Good luck!


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