Getting back in the saddle after a spell in prison: 6 facts about comeback jockey Charlie Deutsch

Charlie Deutsch is a talented young jockey rising through the professional National Hunt ranks, but 2018 was a rollercoaster year for the rider after he found himself, regretfully, on the wrong side of the law and convicted of dangerous driving. Following a spell in prison, Charlie is now getting his life — and career — back on track and is looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival…

A top job

The 22-year-old lives in Gloucestershire with his girlfriend Meg Jones and rides predominantly for National Hunt trainer Venetia Williams, who is based in Kings Caple, Herefordshire.

His spell in prison

His route through the professional jockey ranks has so far been rather unorthodox following a spell in prison in 2018.

In May last year, Charlie pleaded guilty to dangerous driving while over the drink-drive limit and escaping police custody, something he “deeply regrets”.

He served two-and-a-half months of a 10-month sentence in Bristol prison, during which he had time to “think about things”.

While inside, Charlie landed a job within the prison gym, which helped him maintain a good level of fitness. He was also allowed a copy of Racing Post each Saturday.

Childhood dreams

Charlie spent his childhood hunting with the Heythrop and was also a keen member of the Pony Club. Growing up he dreamed of being either a jockey or a huntsman.

Keeping faith

The young jockey left school aged 16 and worked for trainer Charlie Longsdon, before starting under the tutelage of Venetia Williams. Despite falling in his first ride, Venetia maintained faith in Charlie’s ability in the saddle and continued to put him up on her horses, boosting him up the ranks, and the pair have enjoyed plenty of success since.

An exciting Festival prospect

With the Cheltenham Festival now on the horizon, Charlie is looking forward to his rides at the meeting, in particular the Venetia Williams-trained Aso.

He is fond of the nine-year-old gelding — describing him as “intelligent and a right personality” — who he’s steered to two victories from two runs this season. The son of Goldneyev has an entry in the Ryanair Chase.

Success in the saddle

Charlie has ridden round the big Grand National fences, although he experienced a fall from Houblon Des Obeaux in last year’s race.

His biggest successes in the saddle have all come aboard Venetia Williams-trained horses, including the Listed Lanzarote Hurdle on Yala Enki in 2016, with whom he also won the 2018 Grand National Trial Chase, and the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase at Newbury in November on Aso.

Don’t miss our full interview with National Hunt jockey Charlie Deutsch in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (14 February). For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.