‘I was more interested in farming’: champion rider Will Biddick on finding his love for racing, his showjumping wife and breaking records

Will Biddick has been crowned the 2018/19 champion men’s point-to-point jockey, and picked up the prestigious trophy at a ceremony held at Cheltenham Racecourse on Thursday (14 November). It was an impressive seventh time the 32-year-old has been crowned champion, having reclaimed the title from fellow jockey Alex Edwards this year. Here are some interesting facts about the champion rider…

A farming background

As a youngster, Will had no desire to be a jockey and was far happier on his father’s farm in Cornwall. “I didn’t get interested in racing until I was 15,” Will told H&H. “My dad had a couple of pointers so I thought I’d have a go. But after two years, I was thinking how to tell my dad I didn’t want to do it anymore; I was still more interested in farming.”

His showjumping wife

Will married top showjumper Harriet Nuttall, a three-time runner-up in the Hickstead Derby with her great horse A Touch Imperious, in October 2018. The pair met four years ago on the hunting field and they married in Harriet’s hometown in Somerset in front of 240 guests. Impressively, both Harriet and Will are national champions in their respective sports.

Working for a champion trainer

Race-riding and working in the sport has taken Will all over the country, and he spent many years working, and riding as an amateur jockey, for National Hunt trainer Venetia Williams in Herefordshire — which ignited his passion and love for racing. He has also worked for Paul Nicholls at the champion jump trainer’s Ditcheat yard. For the past six years, he has rented a yard in the village of Alhampton in Somerset, while Harriet keeps her showjumpers a stone’s throw away at her parents’ yard in Queen Camel.

Returning to Cornwall

After success as an amateur, Will joined the professional jockey ranks but things didn’t quite work out as he planned. “It took me 11 months to ride a winner as a professional jockey. Along with the daily wasting [restricting his diet], it was all very demoralising and my head became fried,” he said. So Will returned to his roots in Cornwall, to “get away from horses” and would eventually get his jockey licence back, which kick-started his flourishing amateur career in the saddle.

Record-breaking

Will rode into the history books in 2019, breaking the British record for point-to-point winners after landing his 415th career victory at Eggesford in Devon. Richard Burton had held the all-time record of 414 wins since 2011. Before claiming his seventh champion title last season, Will had previously won the crown an impressive six consecutive times.

His new business adventure

The champion rider has been establishing his breaking-in and pre-training business for the past few years and now has a busy yard of horses from a variety of trainers in the West Country, including Paul Nicholls. “It is going from strength to strength and I hope to become the go-to person for breaking in and pre-training in the area,” said Will. “We’ve pre-trained and broken in more horses this year than ever before — I love being behind the scenes and get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the youngsters go on and flourish on the racecourse.”

Don’t miss our full interview with champion jockey Will Biddick in our Point-to-Point Special in the 21 November issue of Horse & Hound.