US jockeys are well used to being off for a few days here and there over the winter.
The snow shut us down for a bit a couple of weeks ago and that’s no problem.
However, when that becomes two weeks the worry is if you’re not racing you’re not earning.
All professional jockeys are self-employed. I’m one of the lucky ones. I do get to ride in good races and I’m financially secure.
But there are plenty of lads who do need to be getting rides through the week to be able to make ends meet.
You’ve just got to be proactive. You need go and find trainers prepared to pay jockeys to ride out and things like that.
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A lot of the older jockeys have got sidelines like buying and selling horses.
We’ve all got an eye on the future in that way, which helps at times like this. We’ll just be keeping everything crossed this is quickly under control.
I’ve got plenty to occupy me in the afternoons. I’ve been schooling a few of my wife’s horses and there’s always paperwork to catch up on. I’m being put to good use.
The mornings are business as usual. It hasn’t disrupted the training of the horses at all.
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We schooled 30 on Thursday morning so we’re aiming towards it all being back on next week.
That was close to normal but it was ultra-intensive — not because of the flu outbreak but the weather. It’s been pretty dry so we haven’t been able to school on grass for God knows how long.
Now all the snow has melted it meant we could get them out on the grass and back into that routine.
One of the symptoms of equine flu is a high rise in a horse’s temperature and I was told none of ours have had a high temperature so I’m hopeful we’ve avoided it.
We’re a couple of miles outside Lambourn on a private training facility and we rarely bump into anyone else’s horses.
We don’t have to share our gallops or schooling ground so that helps.
You just don’t know when the call is going to come through so you’ve just got to keep going on as normal.
We’ve been very lucky with some of our big names. We got all the runs into Altior we needed to, we were never going to run in the Game Spirit, which would have been at Newbury today.
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If he hadn’t run in the Clarence House Chase and was going straight to Cheltenham from the Desert Orchid over Christmas it would not have been ideal.
With others it hasn’t panned out as well. Angel’s Breath was all set to run in the Sidney Banks Hurdle at Huntingdon last Thursday and now we’re stuck with nowhere to go.
He has only had one hurdles run so ideally we’d want to get another into him before the Supreme at Cheltenham.
We know he’s got all the ability in the world from his home work as much as anything but realistically we would love to get another run into him.
If it’s just off for a week we’re fine. You get into two weeks and you’re very close to Cheltenham.
Otherwise we just all need to be as vigilant as possible to make sure the flu doesn’t spread.
Everyone working in racing yards should be dipping the bridles in disinfectant just to make sure there’s no contamination.
Jockeys have to be extra careful as we’re the ones going from yard to yard.
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We have to have separate clothing for each one we visit and then make sure we wash our breeches and jackets separately.
My boss Nicky Henderson tried to jump out the gates nice and early – the vets were in the yard at about 5.30am yesterday taking swabs from the horses.
I think the BHA have done a great job to try to nip it in the bud.
They’ve been keeping everyone informed and it’s all down to the vets now. They’re the ones earning the money at the moment.