The Jockey's Journal: 'The past week has brought us all back down to earth'

The Jockey's Journal: 'The past week has brought us all back down to earth'

THE sad passing of JT McNamara brought a few things into perspective in the racing world during the week.

When news broke of his death at 41 last Tuesday, it was a very sad day for everyone in racing, heads were bowed all over Britain and Ireland.

It was a reminder of how cruel the sport can be, and on the same day I was given a rude awakening with a bad fall at Yarmouth.

It was one of them stupid falls, but very painful.

I was on board Ed Walker’s Captain Colby and the young lad on my left broke out of the gates slowly, compared to me.

He then rushed out and came across in front of me and caught the heels of my horse’s front legs, which made my horse stumble and left me unseated.

On the way down, my horse’s back legs caught me, giving me a good kick. I’m still sore on the back and the ribs, all over really.

It’s just one of them things and all comes down to experience. The young lad just didn’t read it well.

It could be compared to driving down the road on a motorway, and the car on your inside lane pulls out without looking over their shoulder. It’s literally the same thing, and you can imagine how dangerous that is.

I don’t want to go blaming the young lad, but at the same time, a lot of accidents on the flats down the years have been caused that way. I just hope he learns from the mistake.

I was ok to ride the next day, but then if I don’t ride I don’t get paid, so I kind of had to just work through the pain barrier. I got through it ok, but I can tell this pain will take around six weeks to subside.

I suppose, in time, I may come to realise that I was lucky, unlike JT McNamara.

We jockeys get a lot of abuse on Twitter about this and that, usually just ignorance when people have lost money, but days like last Tuesday put things into perspective – it’s such a dangerous sport.

You don’t like to think about it too much when you’re in the game, because if you do, you may decide you don’t want to get into the car and go to work.

But when you’re working with livestock, you have to understand that someday you might just get caught the wrong side of it, the same as if you’re working with powerful machinery.

I remember watching JT at a point-to-point in Galway when I was a kid, and I followed him all the way through after that.

He was a very nice man when you had to ask him for his opinion about a horse; he’d tell you everything he knew to a tee.

Above all, he was a very good family man and because of that I think it’s so sad that he didn’t get to see his kids grow up, but I’m sure he will be watching over them.

The Galway Races have been on this week and I’ve no doubt everyone there had him in their thoughts.

I missed most of the Galway Races because I’d been coming home from work and going straight to bed after a load of painkillers, but I’ve caught up with the results.

I noticed Tony Martin had a good week. Tony is a very shrewd man and sent his legal team to the High Court in Dublin to get a 42-day ban on his horse Pyromaniac lifted, thereby permitting the six-year-old to run in the Galway Hurdle last Thursday.

It only came seventh in the end but, as I said, he's a very shrewd man, and the bookies are always wary of him.

As for me, after nailing a 50/1 winner recently, I had a frustrating run at the beginning of last week, coming second in three races in a row for three different trainers.

My each-way backers may have been happy enough, but as a rider it’s always a gut-wrenching feeling, knowing that you had a potential winner.

So it wasn’t what I’d hoped for after the feeling that 50/1 shot gave me, but I’m sure things will turn around for me again soon.