In association with lovetheraces.com we're delighted to bring a new blogger to ATR in the shape of jumps jockey David Crosse, who will be giving his own colourful take on life behind the scenes every fortnight.
I'm originally from Tipperary, but am now based in Lambourn in Berkshire - the home of jump racing.
I'm a walking accident, I've broken bones in place people didn't even know they had bones. I've recently returned from a bad leg injury and started riding again at the end of September 2010. I'm back and fully fit now though.
I'm going to give you the behind the scenes look at being a jockey - and also hopefully entertain you with the stuff we get up to when we're not on the course.
Life is great for me at the minute, mainly because I’m flat out and things are going well. I love being busy, and I can’t sit still for two minutes. I’m riding out every day, cleaning cars on the days I’m not racing and anything I’m riding is running to the best of their ability with a few knocking on the door. So hopefully soon a couple of them can win! I’ve been riding out at Nigel Twiston-Davies’ for the last year and a half and I’m finally getting on a few horses with chances. Just over a week ago I had a couple for him at Wetherby including Kayf Aramis, who is a former Cheltenham Festival winner. He’s been there, done it and got the t-shirt. His race at Wetherby was his eighty-second start, and he was keen to get going. He was soon in his rhythm with the others struggling to keep up. He went past the winning post the first time travelling and jumping really well, he came around again passing the winning post for the second time. Here he decided that his job must be done and tried to pull himself up! He thought we only had to go around twice; lucky for me I was doing the counting. So off we went for another circuit but I was squeezing him along now at this stage. I turned into the home straight in front but I was under pressure and Kayf was getting tired. Until now Kayf has raced 40 times over hurdles with many different jockeys and never made a mistake but at the second last, he dived at it and nearly came down. Trust me, he had the will to remain on his feet and somehow stayed upright and went on to finish third. Most other horse would have laid down
Riding Zayfire Aramis in the bumper was always going to be exciting. I rode down to the start in the company of another horse. However, just as I turned and said he was. OK, Zayfire promptly jinked at a hurdle and put me on the floor! Luckily Zayfire was caught easily, and there were no further incidents. I rode him in the middle of the pack and he travelled well, at the final bend I asked him to quicken, which he did - just not as quick as the two favourites. He stayed on well for third, a great result for his first race with lots of promise for the future and he should be winning races. Kayf Aramis and Zayfire Aramis run for the www.kayfaramisracing.com club. A fun club based at Nigel Twiston-Davies’, where members enjoy visits to the gallops and owners’ badges to the races as well as a share of prize money, all for just £75 a year! There were 20 club members at Wetherby to cheer on the horses and greet him into the winner’s enclosure. It’s always a good feeling when you come back in and everyone is happy. G-6
On Thursday last week I then had another ride for The Twister. This time though it had bottom weight of ten stone which meant me losing eight pounds to do the weight, but no jockey is in a position to turn down rides and I’m certainly not so I accepted the ride. As I’m skin and bones on a good day, it’s just fluid that I lose so sweating starts for me as soon as I know that I have that much weight to lose. Mental strength is required when you’re doing this because as soon as you hear you have a light weight you feel hungry straight away! Sweating at the gym with a sweat suit and in a hot bath is my main ways of getting the weight off. On the day of racing, after riding out, I hit the gym followed again by a hot bath. Upon arrival at the races I usually just try to have two pounds to lose, and that is done in the sauna. Your saddle and all your gear weighs only four pounds, and that includes your back protector, pad, boots, colours and girths. It’s like riding on a postage stamp naked! I had a nice ride early on as Scarlet Mandy travelled and jumped nicely for me, but with a circuit to go I came under a bit of pressure and spent the last circuit shoving along, but I got a good response and finished second in the end. Another good run but still needing that winner, but I think the horses I’m riding are running to their best, you can decide here.
It’s been a couple of months now since we made the video #JockeyStyle, but people are still talking about it. When we did it we hoped for around 30,000 views within the year on You-Tube if we were lucky, but it got that within the first day and has now had over 680,000. Unbelievable really from something I organised for a bit of fun, but like I said if it gets one more person interested in racing then happy days and it will have done its job. Parents keep coming up to me saying that bloody song you did, my kids have it blaring out the whole time whilst dancing around our sitting room. Ruby Walsh’s sister Jenifer said to me that her kids are doing the dance in school and everything, and that she’s been driven mad from it! It makes me happy knowing that it’s causing people headaches. But the best bit for me was the other day when me, Bolge and Tumelty were watching replays at my house. Whilst Barry Geraghty was being interviewed, some random kid appears in the background doing the #JockeyStyle Dance.
Daryl Jacob is a good friend of mine but the way we speak to each other you would never know! I get a great kick out of abusing him and I’d like to say vice versa, but he is afraid of me. Some would call it character building but I just call it "Da Banter". Recently Daryl was on the receiving end of a bollocking from me at Plumpton for being a naughty boy. Let’s say no more. A few things needed to be said and as far as I was concerned that was it, move on time! Well that was until Noel Fehily heard we’d had a few words. A couple of days later Daryl was staying at Noel's but his hot water was not working and Daryl needed to have a sweat, so Noel suggested that he rung me to come round and sweat in my bath but it might be a bit tricky as Noel told him I was still raging with him! In the meantime Noel had texted me to act like I was still thick with him and to play along. I didn't have to think twice about this, game was on! So Daryl rings me and I answer by saying "What do you want?" And he says "ca,ca,ca can I come round for a sweat ?" I then said "Yeah, but you’re to sweat and then leave and don't dare even try to talk to me!" So he came round and tried to make conversation but I just pointed at the bathroom. Noel and I have a right ‘aul laugh. We just love watching him stew. After Taunton last week I was riding out down in the West Country, so I ring Daryl to see if I can stay at his. We're chatting away and then his Mrs. comes in with their two DAwGs Roxy and Reve. I ask him why he is called Reve and Daryl says it’s after his favourite horse Reve de Sivola. I said whaattttt? The horse you got jocked off of, and is now favourite for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. This is what they call opening a can of worms. I kept on to him that he is going to have to change his DAwGs name as its wrong calling him Reve if he is not riding him, which is a bit of a sore point. So if you see Daryl out walking or running with his DAwG Reve ask him what is his DAwGs name? You will be surprised how good it makes you feel... I think he should call him Spot.
A big congratulation most go out to Jimmy (Scrooge) MaCarthy and his partner Lottie on the birth of their twins Thomas and James or Jimmy and Jimmy Jnr as I call them. Jimmy is one of our most senior members of the weighroom but is obviously in his prime at the minute. I went up too see them all last week and have to say that they have a lovely little family. Jimmy is renowned for his tightness and is always looking for a good deal, so he obviously put in for a two-for-one here! Some people (me) think it is Karma for all his years of tightness and now it will cost him twice as much. But joking aside I wish them all the best.
Peter Toole had a life threatening injury at Aintree over 22 months ago and since that day he has been trying to get back race riding. He was riding in a novice chase and took a crashing fall, dislocating his shoulder badly but that was only minor compared to the head injury he had which left him not being able to move the right hand side of his body. He was in a coma for nearly a month and the first time he woke up and remembered anything was when he was on the runway flying back to Ireland to a specialist hospital. Several months later he was up and moving about, but was still quite limp on his right side, he was now ready to come back to England and he moved into Oaksey House for more rehabilitation. Here everyone worked him hard despite Peter protesting most of the time. After another six months he started riding out again in Charlie Mann’s where it all started for him. He was now back in his element riding out and even allowed to jump a few horses, but at the same time his right hand side was only making very, very slow progress. Recently he has accepted that it will not be physically possible for him to race ride again and if he had another fall he might not be so lucky. So it’s now official that he is retired from race riding. Have a look at the video below, this was on the way back from jumping a few horses where me and Peter went upsides, I think he gave up because deep down he knows I’d ride him to sleep!
At the end of the season Peter is moving back home to Ireland, where he is going to set up a business buying and selling horses. He is open minded about which path of selling horses he is going to go down but is really looking forward to getting his life back on track as he starts the next chapter of his chapter. Peter has been a good friend to me and I’d hope he would think the same so we have organised a party for him on March 23rd at The Malt Shovel in Lambourn. Let’s just say we will be hoping we’re not racing the next day. G-6 to Da Tooler
No matter how busy you are, you’ve always got to find time to get a round of golf in each week. On Wednesday last week I took on Da Mystery Golfer in a match play round of golf at West Berks. Before teeing off you sort out how many shots are given or taken. He only gives me 1 so I’m up against it straight away but I like a challenge. Let’s just say one was not enough, as I never got a look in and hand to hand the whole £15 over when we were finished.
People just keep surprising me. Just when you think you know someone well, they will come out with or do something worthy of a DingBat of the week award. Last week this jockey was travelling to Taunton for a couple of rides and it was his turn to drive so he took Tommy Carberry with him and they moseyed on down together. He is a busy man at the minute, so was on the phone making calls on the way down. By the time they got on the M5 Thomas was fast asleep and said jockey was driving away chatting on his phone (hands free of course). Now Taunton usually takes one and a half hours, but as he was chatting away he lost track of where he was going. An hour down the M5 he looks up and sees a sign for Wellington and realises he has gone too far but it was too late to get off the motorway, so ends up having to go as far as Exeter before he can turn around. As he gets off the motorway to turn round, Tom wakes up and says "are we there yet?" to which the jockey says "we took a wrong turn, we’re at Exeter ." Tommy being half asleep says yeah right, but at the same time types it into his phone’s sat nav and then turns around and says "Crossey, you DingBat!" Having escaped this bit all last year, I’ve now found myself in it twice since the turn of the year. For my sake let’s hope this is the final time that I’m a DingBat.
Finally, a certain Gary Fox must have nothing better to do as he sent me this on Twitter during the week, enjoy!!!!