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‘Another box ticked’: Frankel’s jockey on making his debut over National Hunt fences

Flat jockey Tom Queally partnered the mighty Frankel in all 14 of his winning starts during a racecourse career from 2010 to 2012, when the son of Galileo then took up stud duties.

While it is possibly unlikely Tom will ever sit on a horse of Frankel’s prominence again, the jockey went on to enjoy further Group One wins and rides across the Pond in a riding career spanning two decades. But on 6 November, the 36-year-old ticked off another box when riding in his first steeplechase at Fontwell Park on the Gary Moore-trained Bad Boy Du Pouldu, finishing second to Go Long.

The Irishman had ridden in a few hurdle races for his trainer-father Declan Queally, but this was his debut over the bigger sticks.

“I really enjoy it and if I’m not riding on the Flat one day, I may as well go jump racing,” says Tom, who is engaged to Bad Boy Du Pouldu’s trainer’s daughter Hayley Moore, a Sky Sports Racing presenter.

“My job has always been to ride horses – whether that is over jumps or on the Flat, it doesn’t make a difference to me,” he adds.

“I was very grateful to Gary and the horse’s owners in the Cocktail Racing Partnership for taking a risk and putting a Flat jockey up.”

Tom also appreciated the extra pounds allowed in National Hunt racing – at Fontwell he had a weight of 11st 3Ib in comparison to his daily Flat riding weight of around nine stone.

“It is much better getting in the car and being allowed a coffee in the morning instead of just having an ice cube,” he says, highlighting the harsh reality facing many jockeys when it comes to weight management.

Tom enjoyed hunting as a child in Ireland before becoming an apprentice Flat jockey.

“I always loved the idea of jump racing but back then you could get an apprentice licence aged 15, whereas you had to wait longer to go over jumps, so I just cracked on with the Flat,” he adds.

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“I’ve been very lucky with my riding career so far and it’s great to get some experience jump racing too, it’s another box ticked. If I go into punditry in retirement, at least I can say I’ve ridden under both codes. There is nothing worse than a former Flat jockey mouthing off about a jump jockey on the TV,” he quips.

“I’ve been through many ups and downs – I’ve seen it all in racing. But I am fortunate my bottle is still rock solid. I never worry about nerves, even when I was riding Frankel.

“I always say, you only regret the things you don’t do in life. I don’t worry about getting injured jump racing — you could just as easily come off a two-year-old at home. I have a great understanding of horses and I am happiest when I’m sitting on a horse.”

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