Tell us about your first experience of riding a horse.
My first experience of riding a horse was my little pony called nutmeg. She was a bit of a devil, the first pony I took to pony club as well and she used to throw me off everywhere. Such a madam.
We’ve heard some of your friends are professional jockeys, do you want to talk a bit more about that?
Yeah I’ve got a few friends who are in the racing game. National Hunt-wise, Sam Twiston-Davies, Conor Shoemark, Tom Bellamy, Richard McLernon, Aidan Coleman and then Flat-wise just Kieran Shoemark. I’ve known them growing up, been to school, Sam Twiston Davies was one of my best friends growing up, a good guy. They’re all good people to be fair.
Did you ever want to be a jockey when you were younger?
I did want to be a jockey when I was younger, it was about the age of 15, 16 where I stopped riding and other sports took their toll. I went and played football at quite a decent level so I stopped riding then because I couldn’t commit to it. But the dream was that Sam Twiston-Davies was always going to be the trainer when we were growing up and I was always going to be the jockey and we were going to work together. But that failed and he did his thing, he’s done really well so I’m proud of him.
Which of your Love Island mates would make the best jockey?
I think my Love Island mate who would make the best jockey would have to be Kem purely for size. I think the rest of them have a bit of bulk and weight issues in terms of muscle and a bit of height. But Kem’s always been small, he reckons he’s about 5’10 he’s actually about 5’7. Yeah he would’ve been perfect for it, except he’s never actually seen a horse before and he sat on one once and he got thrown off.
Earlier on what was it like meeting Frankie Dettori and what was it like on an equisizer?
It was great meeting Frankie earlier and we had a bit of fun on the equisizer, very hard work. But obviously to meet such a great like Frankie Dettori who has accomplished so much in the flat game and obviously recently won the Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe, yeah it’s a real honour.
Did you ever think you’d make it as a professional jockey?
I couldn’t make it as a professional jockey now, I weigh too much and I’ve grown up, I’m about 6 ft 1. I wouldn’t be able to make the weight and I love my food too much. So there’s no way I could drop down to anything below 10 stone.
We saw you giving Kem a few pointers recently, is he keen to get back on a horse?
Do you know what, Kem really enjoyed it because he’s never been to a stables or a raceyard, he’s never really been to the countryside, he’s never stroked or touched a horse before. He sat on it, he missed the saddle and he ended up sitting on the horse’s bum that’s why it got a little jittery and threw him off. But that horse has actually won recently after Kem’s episode so maybe it was the dodgy seating arrangement which made the horse decent. But no I don’t think he’ll be getting on a horse anytime soon.
You’re here at Ascot, what do you enjoy most about a day at the races?
I think my favourite bit about the races is when you can get together with a group of mates, you can enjoy the whole day, starting with breakfast. You can go out for like a nice full English, you can have a few beers there. It’s just the fun and excitement throughout the whole day and you can always go with the right crowd, you choose who you go with and when the sun’s shining especially there’s few things in my opinion that are better than a day’s racing.
Any absolute fashion no-go’s for racegoers?
Fashion no-go’s for race goers has got to be trainers, jeans, just polo shirts or T-Shirts in general and anything with a hood. I’ve always worn a shirt, chino or trousers and smart shoes. Tie or bow ties are not always essential but it’s a good way to top off the outfit.