I get up 3:20am and drive to track work which I start at about 4am. I’ll ride anything from about six to eight horses then get home by 7:30am-8am and have an hour sleep. Then get up and have a sweat for one or two hours to lose between one and two kilos. Some jockeys will use a sauna to do this but I do mine in a hot bath with a heater and the door shut – it becomes like a bit of a steam room. Then I’ll go to the races, if I have races during the day, two or three days a week, then work out at the gym before coming back home to usually do a bit of form work – studying the form guide – before going to bed. I do track work every day and train in the gym two or three days a week. During the carnival I’ll do four days a week.
The most important muscle groups in a jockey’s body are the legs and arms. They definitely have to be strong but your abdomen and general stomach area and inner core muscle have to be the strongest parts of your body because you’re obviously getting down low on a horse and when horses pull, you tighten up those muscles. Again, swimming really helps with this, plus a lot of sit-ups.
In order to be at the top of your game you have to have the mental strength to be ready for hard work and know that every day is different. You have to be able to get through the ups and downs and it’s very important to have the right support around you because it can be a depressing game and it definitely has its highs and lows. The highs are great but the lows are very low. There’s a lot of jockeys over the years who have suffered from depression so it’s important to have good people around you. And it’s a very time consuming game. You work very hard and sometimes it can be for little gain, so it makes it hard with putting your body through what you’re putting it through.
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