Radio DJ Sara Cox received a race-riding lesson from top Flat jockey Frankie Dettori and even got her horse’s head in front during a “ride-off” on the gallops at the British Racing School in Newmarket.
“It was the best day ever and I couldn’t stop smiling — it was such an incredible experience,” said Sara, who recently completed the first Dartmoor Derby.
“Frankie’s a world-class jockey and my legs felt like jelly even before I got on the horse. Frankie was very encouraging and gave me some really good tips. I can’t believe he let me beat him. It meant a lot for him to say that I’d done well — I am leaving radio and becoming a professional jockey,’ she quipped.
Frankie’s top tips for Sara included to “just hang on” and ride with shorter reins. “If you have shorter reins and lean more forward then you’ll have full balance and the horse will do the rest,” he told her.
The popular 45-year-old jockey is gearing up for the Flat season’s finale, the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 15 October, where Sara will also be hosting the after-party.
“I can’t believe I got beaten by a woman,” Frankie added after the session. “Sara did great — she had beautiful balance and her body posture was spot on, especially as she doesn’t ride a lot. I think the horse enjoyed it as well.
“Champions Day is our [Flat jockeys’] biggest day — there’s going to be thousands of people and we have some of the best races of the year all on the same day. There’s a lot of pressure but that’s why I work hard to get to that point and it’s exciting — it’s nerve-wracking but it’s also fun as well.”
The final day of the Flat racing calendar will also see the Champion Flat jockey crowned. Jim Crowley is currently ahead of last year’s titleholder Silvestre de Sousa.
Read the full report from the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in Horse & Hound on sale Thursday 20 October