‘It was a case of sit and suffer!’ Miracle recovery from jockey left hanging round horse’s neck

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  • Take a bow, Joe Anderson, whose biggest win of his racing career came after a remarkable recovery at Plumpton Racecourse riding the Neil Mulholland-trained maiden Transmission on Sunday, 7 January. The National Hunt jockey’s amazing antics in the saddle have since gone viral, much to the disbelief of this rising star of the weighing room.

    “My phone hasn’t stopped. It’s all a bit mad,” Joe told H&H. “Even having watched it back, I still think everyone’s making a mountain out of a molehill!”

    In the star-studded 3m1f BetGoodwin Sussex Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle on Sunday afternoon, the seven-year-old Transmission reached for the sixth hurdle and nose-dived on landing, pitching the 5lb claimer up his neck. Joe was left hanging sideways with both legs dangling on the horse’s nearside as the gelding cantered on happily.

    The quick-thinking jockey swiftly swung himself back into the saddle in a slick, mounted games-esque move, but his stirrups had flipped across the saddle and, try as he might, the young jockey had to continue without irons for another circuit, showing immense horsemanship to clear four hurdles at racing speed with incredible balance.

    “It happened so quickly, but in that first split second all I thought was that he was going down, so he’s done well to find a leg,” said Joe. “But he pitched me up from behind and that’s when I was hanging off his neck. Luckily I was in a nice enough position with him holding me up, so I could just swing a leg over – it was no different to vaulting on, really! If he’d lowered his head slightly it could have been a very different story.

    “But then my stirrups had crossed over the saddle, and every time I moved to try to get them back I was lighting him up a bit – every time I tried to have a fiddle he kept getting a charge on. So it was just a case of sit and suffer until I got the stirrups back underneath me; it was fairly straightforward after I’d unwrapped myself. But it’s a good job he’s very good at jumping! If he’d needed a helping hand, we’d have struggled.

    “Bryan Carver [second on Hititi] asked me if I was pulling up – I think he was more concerned that, if I was going to wheel out, I would take him with him, but I shouted back, ‘No, I’m staying here!’ I never really thought about pulling up – it actually wasn’t that uncomfortable. Then when I finally got my stirrups back, I could hear Ben Bromley [riding Call Me Lord] shouting ‘Go on!’ from behind me.“

    Joe Anderson and Transmission clear the last to win the BetGoodwin Sussex Stayers Handicap Hurdle at Plumpton Racecourse after their remarkable recovery at the sixth hurdle. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images).

    Joe Anderson’s recovery: ‘Thank God that’s over and done with!’

    Having made that remarkable recovery, and now back in his more natural riding position, Joe Anderson and Transmission then made eye-catching headway, going on to score in the most valuable race of the day by over two lengths. The pair received the loudest cheers of the afternoon as they returned to the East Sussex track’s winner’s enclosure.

    “Thank God that is over and done with!” he said on his return.

    “It was overwhelming coming in – I’ve never experienced anything like that before, usually it’s just a smattering of applause,” said Joe of the reception he received on Plumpton’s Premier Raceday. “I’ve never ridden a winner at Cheltenham, and I’ll be very lucky to, but I assume that must be as close a feeling as you can get without actually doing it.

    “We knew Transmission had a chance in the race – we knew he’d have to improve, but the step forward he took from Huntingdon to Ascot last time out was quite substantial and I thought if he improves again, there’s no reason why he can’t come close. [Trainer] Neil Mulholland was very happy with him beforehand and he duly obliged – he took another step forward and he’s doing everything right. He was none the worse for everything that was going on on his back anyway!”

    ‘You’ve just appeared on Sky Sports News!’

    Joe had barely finished the presentations and post-race interviews before his phone started firing notifications at him.

    “I had something ridiculous like 37 Twitter [now X] notifications already,” said Joe. “At one point my friend sent me a picture and my name was trending on Twitter , I thought wow, what is going on here? It was just a bit mad – I didn’t think that many people would really care! It was a bit of an eye-opener because I thought it was just the nerds like me watching it. My dad texted me and said you’ve just been on Sky Sports News!”

    Liverpudlian Joe Anderson has been based with Wiltshire trainer Emma Lavelle for the past two and a half years.

    “When I came here I’d only ridden three winners under Rules, and Transmission on Sunday was win number 32 – I’m getting plenty more opportunities now,” he told H&H. “I had a bit of a torrid time of it last season, I missed the whole of Christmas and the new year through injury and it just took me ages to get going. But then from the end of February onwards we flew and it hasn’t stopped, I’ve ridden 19 winners since.

    “With a bit of luck we can try and build on it.”

    You can read the full report from Plumpton and the rest of this week’s racing in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, in the shops Thursday 11 January.

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