2 jockeys have been rewarded for their new careers outside of racing.
Ollie McPhail (left) and Tom Siddall both picked up prizes at the Griffins Richard Davis Awards at Cheltenham racecourse earlier this month (Sunday 17 November).
Former jump jockey Ollie McPhail — who is now the lead education officer for Racing to School, which introduces children to the sport — and Tom Siddall, who is combining race riding with equine dentistry, were recognised for their efforts.
The award programme, which is run by JETS (Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme) rewards jockeys who are planning for their future.
Ollie took the £3,000 Griffins Richard Davis achievement award and Tom the £2,000 Injured Jockeys Fund progress award.
The achievement award — now in its 18th year — is designed for jockeys who have significantly achieved in their new careers and is to be spent on further development.
Ollie rode more than 130 winners as a jump jockey before retiring in 2008. While he was still riding he sought advice from JETS and built up additional skills and qualifications, covering IT, first aid and child protection.
In his last couple of years as a jockey, Ollie also began working part-time for his current employer, the British Horseracing Education Standards Trust, a racing charity, where he now runs the Racing to School initiative, delivering a range of educational activities designed to introduce children to the sport.
“While my riding career did provide me with a range of transferable skills, I had never worked with children and young people, delivered an education programme, or managed people; so these are skills have had to develop for myself. I had a good time as a jockey but knew it was time to move on. I love my new role and get such a great buzz from it,” he said.
“For younger jockeys starting out, I think planning ahead for the future should become part of the culture and they are foolish if they don’t use JETS to increase their skills set and open doors.”
The progress award — which was introduced in 2006 — rewards the early progress of those jockeys who have more recently started out on a new career path.
Tom used time off when he was injured to train in horse dentistry, enabling him to start building up a client base of racing and other equestrian yards.
“I had several meetings with JETS to discuss options, training and ways to go about it. JETS then helped me organise everything to attend the equine dentistry and anatomy and physiology course in Idaho, US,” said Tom.
“They also supported me financially with the course, without which I would never have been able to do it. I would like to go on now and gain an equine dental technician qualification,”
The awards are in memory of jockey Richard Davis who had started planning for his future before his fatal race fall in 1996.
For more information visit: www.jets-uk.org
Photo by Gavin James