Coronavirus: Sussex jockey lifts lid on major effect on horse racing

Sussex jockey Jamie Moore has told how coronavirus is having a major effect on horse racing, admitting: Everyone is worried.

Jamie Moore and connections with One Of Us after their win in the Southern National at Fontwell last November / Picture: Clive Bennett
Jamie Moore and connections with One Of Us after their win in the Southern National at Fontwell last November / Picture: Clive Bennett

Coronavirus is affecting everyone in different ways but horse racing stands alone in terms of welfare – as the animals, whom without there would be no industry, take priority. Yet the challenges facing racing are not dissimilar to those of any business and its employees.

At the Moores’ Cisswood Stables in Lower Beeding near Horsham, work continues with the hope horses can return to racing soon.

Jamie Moore said: “We’ve still got to get the horses out and muck out, we’re keeping busy – but obviously everything is just easier, steadier work.

“I think the whole country is just struggling to work out what’s going to happen. We were hoping we could get back in May – whether that’ll be, I don’t know.

“I feel sorry for so many people – little local businesses are going to struggle, smaller trainers will struggle, and a lot of the jockeys. Everybody’s going to find it tough.

“Everybody’s got to pull together and help each other out, you can’t be selfish thinking it’s just you.

My Cheltenham Festival fall will haunt me for a long, long time“We’ve got to keep the yard going. We have staff who have families, which dad (trainer Gary) will look after.

“As jockeys, you’ve just got yourself and all your immediate family to look after – but dad’s got a workforce of probably about 35 people that need looking after, so we need to keep everything ticking over. Hopefully nobody will get the illness and we can get back to work.

“It’s worrying for owners though, it’s a vicious circle. If owners lose money, the first thing to go is the horse – it’s a luxury. Whereas some people think ‘we can’t go on holiday this year’, some people think ‘I can’t have my horse any more’.

“Then if you start losing horse after horse, you’ve got staff to think about. But we’ll keep the staff, that’s the main thing – we’ll keep everything going as normal as possible hopefully.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of the boys (jockeys), Tom Scudamore, Nick Scholfield, Tom O’Brien, Paddy Brennan. They’re all a little bit worried about what’s going to happen when we get back. Everybody’s thinking the same thing – there are worse-off people.”

In his exclusive interview with us, we also asked Moore about Fontwell Park, a track his family have a special relationship with.

The Moores’ yard is 25 miles from Fontwell Park and the family name is synonymous with the racecourse, with Gary the track’s leading trainer, Jamie and brother Josh regular winners there and sister Hayley broadcasting at fixtures for Sky Sports Racing.

The track is one Jamie is very fond of. He said: “I remember from being a kid running across to the middle of the track through to riding about 140 winners there.

“It’s the local track, with a nice crowd, but it’s a track I’ve been going to since I was a kid and I take my kids there now.

“It’ll be one of those places that when I retire, I’ll always go back and watch racing.

“It’s lovely how you can stand in the middle with people and run from fence to fence, it’s very unique, like a little hidden gem, which people don’t realise.

“People go in the stands but they should really go into the middle and get really up close to the action.

“You see children in the middle and they stand at the last fence and they try to beat the horses to the other side.

“I see my kids doing it when I’ve been injured and I’ve gone racing at Fontwell.

“It’s something that unless you go there and do it, you don’t appreciate how good it really is. It’s a great little track.”

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