Our columnist Richard Williams recently caught up with jockey Ryan Winks and as you read, he was in fine form. Fresh from a day on the track with Chestnut Ben.
What was your earliest racing memory?
My first racing memory was at Southwell racecourse with my parents; ’88 or ’89. It was their first Arab runner as trainers, and my dad’s first ride. The horses name was Homefield Blue Dhal, and he won the 5f race.
With racing in the family, were you always going to be a jockey?
I always had an interest in racing. At 11 I would help break the yearlings, and at 15 I had my first Arab ride aboard Obyda. Later that year I partnered him to be third in the Arab Derby at Epsom. I then moved to Les Eyre’s at 16, where I had 2 rides as an apprentice before returning to Arab racing. My interests progressed to jump racing in 2009 where I started riding pointers, and had my first ride under rules over fences in 2010 at Stratford aboard Media Man.
Is there more pressure with being Assistant Trainer as well as a jockey or do they go hand in hand?
For me they tend to go hand in hand. It lets me get closer to the horses I ride on the racecourse, as I get to ride most of them every day, which helps them and me. Although I find it much more nerve wracking stood on the ground than riding.
Do the yard set targets for the season? & Do you target certain races?
We try and set targets for each horse; depending on the stage they are at. It might be a certain race or just to learn and improve from the previous run.
What is a normal day compared to a Racing day?
On a normal day we feed around 8am, and the horses all get a haynet and a check over. We will then muck out and every horse will either be ridden around the canter track or go to one of the grass gallops. They then get a lunch net, and a couples of hours to chill out. Any clipping, mane pulling, shoeing is done in this time. We then start night stables at around 5, the horses are skipped out, fed and checked over again before bed.
On a racing day not much changes, but we start earlier, dependant on what time we need to leave. Runners are priority and are done first and every inch of them is checked before they go on the walker. The horse box is packed with their own bridle, and everything they need on a race day, including extra hay; and we often take a travelling companion. We like to keep things as relaxed as possible, so the horses are less stressed about going racing.
Do you have a favourite race course?
Aintree. Without a doubt.
If you could ride any horse PAST or PRESENT, who would it be & why?
Arkle on the way to winning the Gold Cup in 1966Arkle. He was a proper, old fashioned chaser and oozed class. I’d love to have a spin on him.How do you relax outside of racing???I like to go to the pub for a game of snooker, out for dinner, or just stay in and relax in front of the tv.
Did you have any racing hero’s?
John Francome and Christophe Soumillon.
Can you give our readers a couple of horses to follow for the winter please Ryan?
Modulus. He won 4 races in quick succession last season on soft and heavy and feels better than ever this season.
Gran Maestro. A quirky type with a lot of class. We hope we’ve cracked him this season and he’s very much one to look forward to.
We would like to wish Ryan all the best for the season ahead, may it be a successful one and we look forward to seeing him in the Winner’s Enclosure in the not too distant future.
- Chestnut Ben, Modulus and Gran Maestro pictures all provided by Ryan Winks
- Arkle picture – Selected and supplied by @AnaglogsDaughtr – Many Thanks
- Interview by Rich Williams – 3 Furlongs Out & arseonlinetips