Equine flu: From skiing to golf – jockeys make alternative plans

Fri 8 Feb 2019

With racing on a temporary shutdown until at least Wednesday following an outbreak of equine flu, many British-based jump jockeys are making the most of a rare mid-season break.

Three-times champion jockey Richard Johnson will be on fatherly duties over the course of the weekend, with his three children both at home as he plays taxi driver taking them to various sporting events.

Johnson said: “Our first idea was to go skiing, but with three young children it is not quite so easy.

“That is something on the back-burner and we will see where we are on Monday, if it is going to be a longer time off than what is planned for at the moment.

Richard Johnson was due to ride Gold Cup winner Native River at Newbury on Saturday
Richard Johnson was due to ride Gold Cup winner Native River at Newbury on Saturday

“I’ll have the weekend at home with the family and children, as there are still plenty of things to do with the horses at home.

“The children have something on with the Pony Club on Sunday and my daughter has a netball match on Saturday, so it will make a nice change getting the chance to support her.

“I’d much rather be riding Native River at Newbury, but we are not short of things to do.

“Hopefully by Monday they will have a fair idea at how long this will last and when it is safe for the horses to start racing again.”

Al Dancer would have been a big ride for Sam Twiston-Davies at Newbury
Al Dancer would have been a big ride for Sam Twiston-Davies at Newbury

Sam Twiston-Davies will be part of group of jockeys that will be swapping their saddles for skis when taking to the mountains in France.

Twiston-Davies said: “I rode out the horses at dad’s this morning (Nigel Twiston-Davies) and they all seemed in really good nick.

“It is a bit hard to swallow when you see them flying up the gallops and you can’t ride them on track.

“There is a group of us including Kielan Woods, Jamie Bargary, Aidan Coleman, Ryan Hatch, Max Kendrick and Tom Cannon going out to Chamonix in France.

“At the end of the day it is not very often we get the chance to do something like this, so we are taking the opportunity when it arises.

“It is frustrating missing all the rides as I would much rather be riding Al Dancer at Newbury.”

Daryl Jacob will spend the weekend playing golf in Portugal
Daryl Jacob will spend the weekend playing golf in Portugal

A venture out to warmer climes is on the agenda for Daryl Jacob, Gavin Sheehan and David Crosse, with the trio set for a few days golfing in Vilamoura in Portugal.

Jacob said: “I enjoying playing golf so I’m going away golfing for a few days with Crosse and Gav Sheehan.

“The kids are still at school at the moment which makes it difficult to really do something together with them and the wife.

“I’m hoping it will be me who wins at golf, but I’m so badly handicapped I probably won’t win. These boys are not very nice with the handicap!”

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