Did Seb Sanders once ride in his stockinged feet?
In 2007, jockey Seb Sanders rode 213 winners from 1,242 rides and eventually shared the jockeys’ title with Jamie Spencer. However, by the second half of 2015, at the age of 43, he was coming to the end of his career and had been struggling to keep his weight down for some time. The latter was the deciding factor in his controversial decision to become the first jockey in modern British racing to ride a race without wearing boots.
Late in the afternoon of Tuesday, September 1, 2015, Sanders was booked to ride Langley Vale, trained by Roger Teal, in an otherwise unremarkable six-furlong handicap at Goodwood. However, having arrived at the racecourse too late to have a sauna beforehand, he found himself unable to make the weight of 9st 5lb allotted to his intended mount. To the surprise of the Clerk of the Scales, and Teal, Sanders weighed out and rode in the race in his stockinged feet, with his lower legs protected only by his riding breeches, thereby saving half a pound or so.
In any event, Sanders attempted to make all the running but, having been headed with a furlong or so to run, Langley Vale faded in the closing stages to finish fourth, beaten 4¾ lengths, behind favourite Pettochside. Despite breaching no regulations, the following day Sanders attracted criticism from all and sundry, although he was quick to defend his actions, saying that ‘a mountain’s been made out of a molehill’.