Two Yorkshire-based former jockeys have been rewarded for successfully changing careers – and becoming a racehorse trainer and a chef.
David O’Meara (pictured left), who is now a racehorse trainer in Nawton and Gihan Arnolda (pictured right), who is now working and training as a professional chef in York, took top honours in this year’s Griffins Richard Davis Awards. They were presented with their awards on Sunday (13, November) at Cheltenham racecourse.
The awards have been running for 16 years and were established by the Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme (JETS) in memory of late jockey Richard Davis who had started planning for his future before his fatal race fall in 1996. The awards recognise the effort, initiative and forethought that jockeys and former jockeys put into developing new careers.
Former jump jockey, David O’Meara takes the Griffins Achievement Award – worth £2,750 – which goes to the jockey judged to have achieved the most in developing a second career over the past year.
David won the Foxhunters at Aintree as an amateur and went on to ride as a professional jump jockey for 8 years, riding over 160 winners. He has been in his new career for just over two seasons and has already trained over 90 winners on the flat and over jumps.
“Because I knew what my dream job was, I realised quite early on that it made sense to undertake the courses I needed while I was still riding if at all possible. We now have more than 60 horses in the yard and our philosophy is very simple – based on teamwork and always putting the welfare of the horse first, winners will come,” said David.
Former flat jockey, Gihan Arnolda, won the Injured Jockeys Fund Progress Award – for making the most progress in career development – worth £2,000.
Gihan Arnolda, 30, rode both as an apprentice and Flat jockey. He had over 200 rides and rode six winners before breaking his pelvis and retiring from racing.
Gihan is now in his third year of a diploma in professional cookery at York College. Gihan is currently Chef de Partie at the four-star Royal York Hotel, in York.
“I had always been passionate about food and my goal is to become a head chef at either four or five-star hotels or in fine dining establishments,” said Gihan.
JETS’s Lisa Delany added: “David and Gihan represent opposite ends of the spectrum. While most jockeys, once they retire, would like to stay in racing if they could, they realise that the opportunities can be limited. Our shortlist for the awards this year included jockeys who have turned their hands to anything from gas engineering to race planning.”
For more information visit: www.jets-uk.org