BHA Starter wins Top Award at Richard Davis Awards
The winners of the JETS Richard Davis Awards were announced at Cheltenham Racecourse today with former Jump jockey Sophia Upton picking up £3000 for The Jockey Club Achievement Award. Jockey Coach Rodi Greene and local business owner John Pritchard, both former Jump jockeys each received £500 as runners-up.
Sophia rode as a Jump jockey for 9 years and had 59 winners before retiring in 2004 to start a family. When she decided she wanted to return to work and apply for the job as a Starter three years ago, she approached JETS to help her with interview technique and prepare her CV. She has since gone on to thrive in the role, qualifying under both codes and receiving a promotion so she has more than doubled her number of days.
On winning her Award, Sophia Upton said: “It is a huge privilege to win this Award in Richard’s name as I knew him as a jockey. After taking time out with family, convincing myself that I was of use and employable again was a huge step and going for first ever interview was a daunting prospect. I feel very proud to have come so far in my second career already.”
Former Flat jockey George Chaloner, Management Assistant/Trainee Clerk of the Course at Pontefract Racecourse, won the IJF Progress Award along with £2000. George rode 137 winners including at Royal Ascot and the Northumberland Plate. Having only ever wanted to be a jockey, his riding career ended after serious injuries left George in need of extensive physical and mental rehab. With the help of the IJF and JETS, and showing great determination, George was able to get his life back on track and pursue a career in racecourse management, joining the team at Pontefract last year.
This Award is judged by a panel of IJF Almoners and Helen Wilson, George’s Almoner said: “The judges all agreed that George has shown huge resilience in finding success in another career in racing, especially when you consider what a traumatic time he’s had in the sport through his injuries. He has worked so hard on his rehab and his retraining and we are delighted that he has become such an important part of the team at Pontefract Racecourse. He thoroughly deserves this Award for all he’s achieved in a relatively short period of time since retiring as a jockey.”
Apprentice jockey, Faye McManoman won the BHA Current Jockey CPD Award. Introduced last year, this Award recognises the work current jockeys are doing to develop a range of skills alongside their riding which not only helps them in their racing career but prepares them for the future too. Based in Yorkshire, Faye has had 13 winners this year and is well on her way to achieving her next goal of becoming a 5lb claimer whilst working towards additional qualifications at the same time.
The annual Awards highlight the career development of both former jockeys and current jockeys and showcase the services provided by JETS to help jockeys prepare for their futures in order to secure a successful transition from riding.
JETS Manager, Lisa Delany, said: “This year’s winners have showed great determination in making a success of their second careers. Former jockeys are often praised for their work ethic and dedication by employers and all the Achievement finalists along with George Chaloner have faced unique challenges in their second careers which they have dealt with brilliantly. I can only congratulate them on their motivation and focus and I am glad JETS has helped all of them to make such a success of their new roles.”