James Corbett


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3 April 2016

My next ‘PIGEON RACING’ interview sees me chat with 22yo Northumberland Jumps jockey James Corbett, who rides predominantly for his mother Susan and has so far enjoyed five winners this season, including a recent success at Newcastle on grey gelding MISTER HENDRE. James has also won twice over fences at Musselburgh on HARLEYS MAX (pictured below). He is always very busy with his young family so i’m very grateful he found time to have a chat with me recently:

Date and Place of Birth

I was born on July 13th 1993 at Hexham

Who inspired you into racing and when did you first realise you wanted to be a jockey

Although i grew up on a stud farm that my parents ran, i never really had much interest in horses until i reached about 13. Before that, i just saw horses as something that got in the way whenever i wanted to go out somewhere or to a friends house. As i got older, my elder brother started to have riding lessons so as a typical younger brother i wanted to do the same. I started off just hacking around the land with my brother and my dad, who had always ridden but never in racing (bar 2 point to points he won’t want me to mention!). After that i moved on to show jumping and cross country’s at the age of 14/15. Despite doing fairly well at school i had no intentions of staying on for 6th form, so i was let off by mam if i went to the British Racing School instead, which i did just one week after i turned 16

Who are your jockey idols

I wouldn’t say i had a specific “idol” as such, more a case of which jockeys do certain things well and which ones you’d like to base the way you school, ride a finish or generally style yourself on but everyone has their own style and everyone does things differently in racing

Who gives you your best advice and what if any was the best advice given

I get a lot of advice from Brian Harding who is my jockey coach who i try and see as often as possible between work, racing and family life. One of the best bits of advice i was given when i started racing was from a man i worked with who said to always leave a horse alone at the first jump (especially if you had never ridden it beforehand) that way you can find out how the horse naturally likes to jump i.e. short or long

First ride & first winner

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My first ride was in a point to point when i was 16 but my first ride as a conditional was on 13 February 2013, when I was 19 at Musselburgh on a horse called DEFINITE APPEAL, who I’d previously won two points on the year before

My first winner under rules didn’t come until the 27th May 2014 at Hexham on DUN TO PERFECTION, a home bred horse of my parents

James at  with Robson Green during recent ITV documentary Further Tales from Northumberland. You can watch the feature here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnvcrByVG8Y

Biggest or most satisfying/memorable winner

My most memorable win was probably on a horse called VIRNON, he won first time out in a junior bumper at Carlisle. It was a great feeling because at home we had always thought a lot of the horse and we were sure he was going to be good so to win first time out was a great feeling for the whole yard. I also had the pleasure of riding him in a class 1 at Cheltenham on New Years Day where we finished 7th of 15 beaten only 7 1/2 lengths

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Favourite horse in training and one that you’ve ridden

My favourite horse currently in training would probably be SPRINTER SACRE especially after his recent win in the Champion Chase. When he’s at his best he’s just far better then anything else

Favourite horse i have ridden would be SUPER COLLIDER; he’s won over hurdles for me and gave me my first winner over fences as well. When he’s at his best he’s a pleasure to ride

Favourite racecourse

My favourite course would have to be Hexham for several reasons such as it my local course I’ve ridden winners over hurdles and fences there and also it gave me my first winner

What time do you get up in the morning

I get up any where between 5 and 7am on a normal day, although we don’t start work till 8 having a 4 year old, an 18 month old and a newborn in the house meaning there’s not much time for staying in bed in the mornings

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What’s worst part of the job

Worst part of the job for me is the disappointment of when things go wrong, you never know when things are going to go wrong in racing but you can guarantee they will at some point. This could be anything from a bad run to losing a horse!

What hobbies or sports do you like away from racing

I don’t have many hobbies outside of racing infact i don’t think i have any apart from watching the odd football match on the telly, any days off are usually spent with the family on a day out, which anyone in racing will tell you there’s not many days off

Which course would you like to ride a winner at this year

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I’d like to ride a winner at Kelso as its one of our closest tracks after Hexham and i’ve never had a winner there, failing that any of the big tracks like Cheltenham and Aintree would obviously be great

What are your ambitions for 2016

In 2016 it would be great to get another 10 winners and lose my 7lb claim as well as getting outside rides from other trainers

My thanks again go to James for his time and i hope you have enjoyed this latest PIGEON RACING interview !