Why the Festival thrives on amateur jockeys living the dream

Why the Festival thrives on amateur jockeys living the dream

Richard Hobson, who trains Shantou Flyer, laughed off suggestions that he might have a hard time reading the riot act to the man who’s signing the cheques, and said: “He is an absolute gentleman, he just wants to learn, do the best by himself and the horse all the time. There are no problems at all having an owner as a jockey.”

Amateur jockeys came in for something of a kicking this week after Tuesday’s National Hunt Challenge Cup, with lashings of suspensions all round.

“Four miles is a very unusual trip, amateurs, riding novices, and everybody keyed up for the Festival: it is a lively combination,” he said. “You could take out one of those elements and the race would be entirely safe. Horse welfare is absolutely to the fore at the moment and rightly so, but it would be awful if they got rid of the amateur element. We don’t need any amateur races lost.”

While the opportunities are there, how far could this enthusiast go?

“The ultimate would be to ride the National, so I need to find a horse for that. But winning the Foxhunters has always been my dream. I always think that when punters complain about my riding, well, they know that I am going to be riding my horses so they can lump it. I will keep on riding for as long as I can make the weight.”

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