Which horse was Sam Twiston-Davies’ 1000th winner?

Born in Naunton, Gloucestershire on October 15, 1992, Sam Twiston-Davies is, of course, the elder son of two-time Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. He began his riding career in 2008/09, but came to the attention of the wider racing public when, on March 19, 2010 – as a 17-year-old amateur – he rode Baby Run, trained by his father, to victory in the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

The following season, 2010/11, Twiston-Davies set his sights on winning the conditional jockeys’ championship and achieved his ambition, riding 59 winners and, thereby, losing his claim during the campaign. Further success followed, with 81 winners in 2011/12, 87 in 2012/13 – including his first Grade 1 winner, The New One, in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival – and 145 in 2013/14. At the start of 2014/15 season, Twiston-Davies landed the job of stable jockey to multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls, replacing Daryl Jacob, and would remain in that position until 2018, when he left go freelance.

Twiston-Davies brought up 1,000 winners on British soil when winning a novices’ handicap hurdle at Southwell on Chef De Troupe, trained by Dr. Richard Newland, on June 23, 2019. Reflecting on his achievement, at the age of 26, he said, ‘Obviously, it’s great. I’ve been very lucky, supported by a lot of really good people over the years, especially my dad, and Dr Newland has been fantastic; then obviously, the years with Paul [Nicholls] were amazing.’

Did Andrew Turnell once have a runner in the Derby?

The short answer is yes, he did. Formerly a successful National Hunt jockey with 482 winners to his name, Andrew ‘Andy’ Turnell turned to training following the death of his father, Bob, in 1982. In 2013, he suffered a stroke, which curtailed his training career and, two years later, he handed the training licence at his yard in Broad Hinton, Wiltshire to his assistant, Sally Randell.

However, in his heyday, during the Eighties and Nineties, Turnell was best known as a National Hunt trainer. Indeed, from his original base in East Hendred, Oxfordshire he famously sent out the 1987 Grand National winner, Maori Venturi, in the colours of 92-year-old Jim Joel. Turnell also tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival, saddling Katabatic to victory in the Grand Annual Chase in 1990 and, more importantly, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1991.

As far as the Derby was concerned, Turnell saddled his one and only runner in the Epsom Classic in 2002, by which time he had moved to the historic Highfield Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire. The colt in question was Jelani, a son of French Derby winner Darshaan, who had won once from three starts as a juvenile, but finished only fifth of nine, beaten 4¾ lengths, behind Moon Ballad in the Dante Stakes at York on his first start as a three-year-old.

At Epsom, Jelani was sent off joint rank outsider of the twelve runners at 100/1, but belied those odds by finishing fourth. Jelani lost his place at halfway and was soon pushed along by jockey Fergal Lynch but, although struggling in eighth place on the home turn, ran on again in the final quarter of mile. He proved no match for the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair High Chaparral and Hawk Wing, who pulled 12 lengths clear of the third horse, Moon Ballad, but was beaten just a length by his old rival.

How do I become a jockey?

How do I become a jockey?  Of course, there are two types of jockey: professional jockeys, who ride for a living, and amateur jockeys, who ride for nothing more than fun. Becoming an amateur jockey may sound like the easier option, and it is, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a cakewalk.

Before any application for a Category A Amateur Riders Permit – which allows an individual to ride against other amateurs, but not professionals – can even be considered, applicants must attend a two-day training and assessment course at the British Racing School in Newmarket or the National Horseracing College in Doncaster. Applicants are assessed for fitness, strength and technique, including the principles of good race riding and/or schooling and jumping, depending on the type of permit for which they have applied.

Several highly successful professional jockeys – Ruby Walsh, Richard Johnson and Bryony Frost, to name but three – began their careers as amateurs. However, the good news is that no formal qualifications are required to become a professional jockey and anyone aged 16 or over, who works at least 16 hours a week in a licensed racing stable can apply to do so. The first step is typically a residential foundation course at one of the aforementioned institutions followed, at a later date, subject to competency, by a jockey licence course.

It probably goes without saying that to become a successful professional jockey you need to be young, lightweight, fit and healthy. Of course there are exceptions, but most professional jockeys begin their careers no later than their earlier twenties and weigh between eight and ten stone, depending on whether they ride on the Flat or over Jumps. Controlling a half-tonne racehorse, at speed, requires no little strength and athleticism, so seven stome weaklings need not apply. Excellent horsemanship skills are obviously a pre-requisite, but other desirable characteristics include dedication, self-discipline and a will to win, although not necessarily at all costs.

Which jockey rode Black Caviar at Royal Ascot?

For the uninitiated, Black Caviar was an undefeated racehorse trained by Peter Moody in Melbourne, Australia. The daughter of champion Australian sire Bel Esprit was retired, as a six-year-old, on April 17, 2013, immediately after winning the fifteenth Group 1 race of her career, the TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney. In so doing, she set a new Australian record for Group 1 wins and brought to a close a perfect 25-25 career, stretching back four years to April 18, 2009 at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne.

In June, 2012, raced for the one and only time outside Australia, in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Defending a 21-21 record, she faced 13 rivals in the 6-furlong contest, but was nonetheless sent off at prohibitive odds of 1/6 to maintain her 100% record. She was ridden, as she had been for all but three of her previous starts, by experienced Australian jockey Luke Nolen.

Having taken the lead inside the final quarter of a mile, Black Caviar only had to be pushed along with hands and heels to take command inside the final furlong but, inexplicably, in the shadow of the winning post, Nolen stopped riding altogether. His over-confidence allowed the hard-driven Moonlight Cloud, ridden by Thierry Jarnet, to press Black Caviar, before he realised his error and started pushing along again close home.

Thankfully, for Nolen and anyone who laid the odds, Black Caviar just held on to beat Moonlight Cloud by a head with another French-trained runner, Restiadargent, just a neck further back in third place. Nolen accepted the blame for his narrow escape, saying, ‘I probably just underestimated the testing track at Ascot’, but adding that he had ‘got away it’. Moody echoed the latter sentiment, but defended Black Caviar, saying, ‘You only have to win by a quarter of an inch. She got the job done.’

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