Former jockeys rewarded for successful career changes

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  • Three former jockeys received awards last weekend for successfully pursuing a new career after retiring from the saddle.

    The 2008 Griffins Richard Davis Awards — for jockeys who have started a new career away from raceriding — were presented at Cheltenham racecourse on Sunday 16 November.

    The awards were established 12 years ago by the Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme (JETS) in memory of the late jockey Richard Davis, who had started planning for his future before his fatal fall in 1996.

    The 2008 Griffins achievement award went to jockey-turned-tree surgeon Steven Harrison.

    28-year-old Steven retired from racing in 2006 having ridden as an apprentice for trainers Mick Channon, Roger Charlton and Nick Littmoden among others.

    Steven said: “I was speechless to find I’d won. I know there are so many jockeys out there doing different things, I didn’t think I stood a chance.

    “The prize [£2,500] is going to be a huge help and will enable me to purchase some much needed new equipment including a set of climbing spikes.”

    This year’s progress award was jointly awarded to Paul Liddicoat and Rory Moore.

    Social worker Paul who was a conditional jockey in the early 80s was helped to rebuild his life by the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) following his wife’s death from cancer. And it was through caring for her that he found his subsequent career.

    Rory was an apprentice jockey from 2003-2007 but now drives an oil tanker — which required extensive retraining.

    The progress award is supported by the IJF and Simon Tindall and the winner received £1,500 each.

    JETS manager Lisa Delany said: “Some of our past winners have tended to choose the more traditional options like equine dentistry, farriery and jockeys agencies. But now — armed with the training in new skills — I am delighted to report that jockeys are able to be much broader in their career choices.

    “Racing and equestrian positions are generally a win/win situation for employers and our candidates alike, however these vacancies will always be limited. So this culture change in the weighing room opens up a whole new set of opportunities for jockeys to build a secure future for themselves once their race riding days are over. This is particularly important now that jockeys are tending to retire much younger.”

    The judging panel was made up of Terry Boothby from Griffins Accountants, IJF trustee Ian Balding, IJF director of care Alice Murphy, Howard Wright from the Racing Post, JETS director Andrew Chalk, Josh Apiafi and Clare Hazell from the Professional Jockeys Association and the IJF almoners.

    JETS is jointly funded from jockey’s own prize money contributions and the IJF. The IJF have invested more than £1m in the scheme in the last 12 years — which has helped over 700 jockeys forge a new career.

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