Battle to stay at right weight
A WORKING CHRISTMAS II: Self-denial and even a portion of hard work are the watchwords for the professional
Saturday 24 December 1994
Mick Fitzgerald, one of the best young National Hunt jockeys, is typical. "We all look forward to the break we get at Christmas," he says. "Wednesday is the last day's racing before Boxing Day, so we get four days off to relax and get in the festive spirit. It's the first real break since the start of the season in July, and we can have our annual Christmas bash and let our hair down without having to worry about racing the next day."
Fitzgerald will also take a couple of days off from his work-riding duties, but this is not a luxury which is open to most of the staff. The horses must still be fed and exercised, so trainers and stable lads and lasses will have much to do throughout the Christmas period.
The main problem for jockeys is counting the calories on Christmas day, particularly if they have been booked for a "light" ride the following afternoon. The lowest weight at which a senior jockey will be expected to ride is 10 stone, and plenty of riders who endure a constant battle against the scales have not tucked into a plate of turkey for years. Fitzgerald is a little more fortunate. "I'm lucky in that I restrict myself to one meal a day anyway, so Christmas dinner will seem like a normal meal, just a little bit better."
Boxing Day is one of season's busiest, but Fitzgerald, like many riders, is still unsure where his services will be required. A booking at Kempton, a relatively short drive from his base in the Lambourn area, would be a welcome relief from the exhaustingmileage which is another accepted part of a jockey's life.
The routine will swiftly return, and with the imminent introduction of Sunday racing and a 12-month jumps season, the jockey's workload can only increase. For some, the pre-Christmas blank days could be their last worthwhile break until Christmas 1995.
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie: Manchester United may have more joy if striker is dropped by David Moyes
England 29 Wales 18 match report: Stuart Lancaster's men enjoy their day in the sun at expense of weary Wales
Carl Froch v George Groves tickets for Wembley Stadium rematch reportedly sell-out within an hour of going on sale
England 29 Wales 18 player ratings: Who was the star man at Twickenham?
Bayern Munich v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pleads for 'fair chance' from referee in Champions League clash
- 1 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 2 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 3 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
- 5 Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a leading digital agency bu...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Global leader in its respective ...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...