REGULARS of the site will know how highly Johnb rates up-and-coming jockey Lulu Stanford.
At just 17 she is reckoned by our man to be the brightest talent he has seen for years
Lulu has been based at Newmaket all her life and says she was lucky growing up as both her parents are in racing.
In her early days she grafted with her mother with cheap racing ponies and loaned racing ponies for years which she says taught her so much.
She said: “It’s too easy to sit there and look pretty when you are on the best animal but it teaches you nothing.”
Lulu joined Michael Bell's yard at 13 while still at school. On only her second ride at Chelmsford she was unseated leaving the stalls on Jayeff Herring in what looked a nasty incident when she landed in front of the horse and he went over her.
She went on to join George Margarson in July 2015 as an apprentice jockey where her record of 3 wins and 5 places in 10 rides is outstanding.
Lulu says on a race day she will go into work ultra early to ensure all jobs are done before she rides out her first lot. Depending on what time she leaves for the course she will usually ride two lots out.
Her sponsors are RaceFit a gym in Newmarket which she attends every night as fitness is key. She says: “You can never work hard enough and there is always ways to improve! I just want to be able to say I gave it my best shot and don’t regret anything, take every opportunity and make sure I am always fit and ready for every new challenge!”
Lulu has also schooled over hurdles at the pony racing advanced jockey training when she was 15
Johnb mentioned to Lulu about his thoughts on Graham Gibbons and she replied: “Gibbo is an excellent horseman and a top jockey. Ted Durcan is another jockey I really admire.”
Here is Johnb's exclusive interview with Lulu which has been on the forum for couple of days and now on the site by popular demand.
Q: At what age did you start riding?
A: Been riding since day one, my mum still has our first pony that she broke in. He is 20 now!
Q: I noticed you have schooled over hurdles. Would you consider a jumps career or just the flat?
A: That was on the pony racing advanced jockey training when I was 15 aboard my racing pony Ruby’s Return. No, I love the speed too much to go over the jumps.
Q: Who are your role models?
A: My role models would of course be Hayley Turner and Cathy Gannon. When I was at Michael Bell's Hayley was still there and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to ride work with her and she could not have been any more helpful when we did, giving me great tips and advice.
As far as hard work goes, Cathy is definitely my role model. She never gives up, never lets anyone beat her down, but at the same time is so self-critical and always looks at what could have been done differently. This is so important. She is so humble, always such a nice, friendly person to speak to and always more than happy to help. All her experience and knowledge is priceless to young people like myself as it's such early days still.
Q: I saw your fall at Chelmsford and it says a lot about you to come back stronger when it happened so early in your career.
A: For some reason it always makes me laugh watching the replay of my fall at Chelmsford, the horse kicked himself in the back of the knee coming out of the stalls, meaning his front legs buckled. There’s nothing I could have done.
Q: The apprentice title must be something to aim for, maybe next season.
A: The apprentice title is always a dream but for now the aim is to just keep improving and be as fit and strong as I can be. Being fit is the most important thing.
Q: What’s the favourite horse you have ridden?
A: That’s a hard one! My first winner aboard Young Jackie, I am very fond of or Excellent Aim, he’s pretty cool.
Q: What horse would you like to ride if given the chance?
A: Jack Dexter, he looks like such a powerful horse.
Johnb says: “If anyone has a question for Lulu just post it here and I will pass it on. I would like to thank Lulu for taking the time to talk to me in what was my first interview. I will also be posting updates on her career, as she has a great future ahead.”