We are delighted to bring you an interview with Charlie Poste- Jockey, breaker and 5 Live racing contributor…..
How did you become interested in racing and did you always want to be a jockey?
Always loved all sport from a young age. Went for riding lessons with a mate when I was 10 as I’d ridden already so thought I’d show my mate how it was done! From that moment I was hooked on it and race riding became all I wanted to do. Followed racing obsessively from that time and wanted to know everything about it.
Can you tell us about your journey from the decision to become a jockey to becoming a professional?
As a teenager I had my own horse and through our farrier I started riding out for Geraldine Rees in school holidays. When I left school I worked for her full time and just after my 17th birthday I had my first ride on the flat at Doncaster. Geraldine was a fantastic person for teaching you to do the job correctly and spent so much time teaching you to ride properly, she ensured whatever task you were doing there were no short cuts.
Can you remember your first win?
Pups Pride at Southwell for Richard Fahey. After doing 2 seasons at Geraldine’s she got me a job as Richards apprentice and I hadn’t been there long when I won on this lad, it was a great day and I think that feeling after riding your first winner never leaves you. Pups pride was a lovely older horse and a real school master for learning the ropes on.
How do you think the life of a jumps jockey has changed since you started your career?
Essentially I think most things are still the same. I think the standard of riding is very high; the professional era we are in now and the way everyone approaches the job means it’s highly competitive and there a lot of very capable riders who given better opportunities would ride plenty of winners but are in fact struggling. I think the biggest change though is owner input gets even greater; trainers are under immense pressure to deliver immediate results and owners are quick to move if things aren’t working out therefore owners often want a big say in who rides the horses and naturally want to go for more fashionable names so I think it becomes tougher for loyalty between trainer and jockey especially below the top level.
It’s easier to offer the owner a choice of riders and let them select rather than trying to insist on a certain rider connected to the yard as if it goes wrong the trainer isn’t responsible. Many bigger owners have their own retained rider and probably the era of a completely exclusive stable jockey is coming to an end in plenty of cases and yards merely have a team of riders to ride the horses for the owners who don’t have retained riders or a strong preference.
How would you describe your career as a jockey?
Ok! It’s been great fun alongside the hard work. You come into the job wanting to be champion and a top level performer consistently. Much as that hasn’t happened for me I’ve been lucky to ride a good few winners and win some big races along the way. I’ve made some great friends and built up lots of contacts and skills that will help me once my career as a jockey ends.
What has been your favourite moment as a jockey to date?
I’d name 2 moments riding a winner for my dad at Newbury on a horse called Magic sky who he owned at the time with a few friends. My girlfriend Francesca now has him and rode him to win 4 point to points, he’s been a special horse.
The other would be winning the welsh national on Le Beau Bai. I’d been riding for a long time and was desperate to ride a really big winner and this lad was the first one. He was a tiny horse with a huge heart and it really felt like a huge moment to get one in the bag.
With injuries sustained as a jumps jockey, how important are the IJF to the sport?
There importance is monumental and can’t really be emphasised enough. We are so lucky within the sport to have a huge support network and the role the IJF play supporting injured riders past and present is amazing. The people within the organisation are incredible and tireless in the work they do for us. We as jockeys would be so much worse off without them and it actually doesn’t bear thinking about.
You have also started breaking and producing young horses, can you tell us a little about how this came about and what you look at when breaking horses?
Alongside my girlfriend Francesca Nimmo we have a yard that breaks in horses, pre trains and has point to pointers. We produce a lot of young horses to sell along the lines of the Irish model buying as unbroken 3yr olds and preparing them to hopefully win a point to point on debut before selling. At the sales we are looking for an athletic, physically correct model by a stallion who is commercially viable and has a decent enough pedigree.
You are always having to compromise a little as we are working on a margin and therefore have to be buying at the right price to allow for hopefully making profit. Therefore we can’t buy the best pedigrees or sometimes the most fashionable sires but the bottom line is we want a horse that looks like a real athlete and has confirmation that is very correct, Francesca is a very good judge of this and we work well together.
With the breakers and pre trainers we are very lucky to be supported by a lot of trainers and owners, in fact we broke in our first Cheltenham winner this week, Thomas Darby trained by my close friend Olly Murphy who we broke in 2 yrs ago after Aiden Murphy bought him on Graham Whateley’s behalf at the 2016 Derby Sale.
You were part of BBC 5 Lives coverage of the Cheltenham Festival, how did this come about and is it something that you would like to continue?
It came about through colleague Andrew ‘ Lenzio ‘ Thornton kindly suggested me to the team 2 yrs ago when they were looking for someone. Working with John Hunt in the commentary box is a real thrill and It’s something I would love to do more of. I’ve been lucky to do quite a lot of work for ATR as well and I’m hoping once I retire there will be even more opportunity to do media work, I’m open to offers!!
And finally, can you give our readers a horse or two to follow for the coming national hunt season….
Anytime Will Do is a horse Francesca and I bought and produced, annoyingly he fell on debut 2 out for us when he would of won. Dan Skelton bought him privately and he has won both his starts for him in a bumper and novice hurdle, he might run again on Monday and I know they think a lot of him. – Anytime Will duly won at Bangor.
One Touch is another we bought and produced. He won first time out at Badbury Rings and Micheal Scudamore bought him for owner Martin Jones. He ran a lovely race first time at Chepstow a fortnight ago finishing a staying on 4th in what is often a warm bumper. They rate him highly and plan to give him a couple more bumper runs this season before putting him away as he’s still very much a shell. I already can’t wait to see how he progresses.
We would like to thank Charlie for his time and wish him all the best for the future
Interview by Rich Williams
Pictures – Search engine & Charlie Poste(One Touch)