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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Racheal Kneller

Racheal Kneller

One of the sports best known jockeys and has been kind enough to answer some questions that we thought you’d be interested in.

Who in the industry inspires you most?

Silvestre DeSousa

If there was one thing you could change in racing, what would it be?

That when you reach 26 years of age you can no longer ride in apprentice races. It's daft because even though I still claim I am not allowed to ride in them and it's a rule that stops me from getting more opportunities.

You're a keen equestrian rider. What has been your highlight in that sphere?

I'v had some pretty amazing days on horses but the main highlights have been in racing and my first Ascot winner was pretty special. That was a dream that I have now ticked off my bucket list.

We've all seen your posts about training in the gym. What's your least favourite exercise? And your favourite?

My least favourite is probably some of the core exercises I have to do. Pull ups, sit ups holding weights above my head etc. I enjoy core work but I had a shoulder injury a few years ago and those exercises are quite uncomfortable to do. My favourite is cardio as I love doing short sharp bursts like circuits. My friend Ellie and I do a boxercise class every week and I also do circuit training once a week. I like the variety as the gym can be quite boring sometimes and cardio is a great fat burning type of training so it helps with my weight control.

Tell us about your first ever race and how you felt.

It was an amateur race at Wolverhampton on a 66-1 shot called Super Dominion for my then boss Reg Hollinshead. My whole family went and Luke Harvey & Jason Weaver were trackside, so I was lucky enough to get a pre race interview and some advice. It was over so fast but I remember giving it my all and finishing 5th. Watching the replay back in the boys room after and thinking that I looked as though I wasn't even pushing! I now know you have to literally throw the kitchen sink at horses to make yourself look strong on tv, but I loved every minute of the day and I went out celebrating with my family after for dinner.

You've recently left Mark Ushers yard. That must've been a hard decision. What will you miss the most?

I will miss everything. The staff were all lovely and we all got on so well, the horses were well behaved, the owners were more like friends than owners and the job itself was so enjoyable. Mr Usher used all different gallops so there was variety and never got bored. And we kicked on so we were finished relatively early in the mornings so I could help my boyfriend with his horses also. I loved it there and had it not been for the lack of racing opportunity, I'd probably still be there when I was 50!

Is Jodie Lee Hayward as mad as you say she is?

Jodie is totally crackers and so much fun to be around. I miss working with her a lot but we still see each other loads.

Have you ever feel prejudice or discrimination at any time in your career?


We mainly see you racing on the AW. Is this a conscious decision or just the way things have panned out?

Well it's not a decision to be a 'part time jockey' as such, but I only currently have support from James Bennett and he only has three horses in training. Two of those three run better on the aw so that limits one horse to ride on the grass. I hope this will change and my contacts will grow as I do love the late night summer racing.

How has women's racing, if at all, changed since you started out?

Well there are far more lady jockeys now. When I started there was only really five or six of us in total and now there would be triple that in apprentices alone. The girls are working harder to compete with the boys for rides so the standard is getting better. It's great to see so many of them doing so well.

Favourite racecourse, in your opinion, for riding? And watching?

I love riding at Ascot...who doesn't! The jockey facilities and atmosphere is electric but if I picked another track I'd have to say bath. It's a quirky track which I find is a patience track. I've ridden many a winner there where I have dropped out and waited and then come with a late run at tiring horses who have kicked too soon. It's a long way home off that bend! I love watching at Newbury but the staff can be a little off sometimes! Sorry!

If you had the chance to ride one horse in one race, which would it be?

I loved Sole Power. He was my kind of ride...a sit and wait horse. I think I would have won loads on him because I have a lot of patience in a race and he was all about challenging as late as possible.

Favourite sport outside of racing/showjumping?

NFL, although my team the LA Chargers are doing pretty terrible this season! I also play a bit of golf with my dad which I hope to do more of next summer.

We've seen some outstanding upcoming female riders making some inroads into racing recently. If there was one piece of advice you could give to an aspiring female jockey, what would it be?

Keep your head down and your mouth shut. And go to the gym! Sometimes girls stand out because they aren't fit or strong enough in a finish. Race riding and exercise riding isn't enough for your fitness, you have to put the hours in at the gym as well.

Finally Racheal, we have an imaginary champagne reception, we have only 4 tickets. Who from racing do we invite and why?

Well Jason Weaver definitely. I have spoken to him before and he talks so much racing sense and I just find his opinions on racing and horses fascinating. I would think he has a lot of cool stories too. I would also have Frankie for the entertainment and Aiden O'Brien so that I could ask him for a job!

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Racheal, some interesting answers there. Would be some Champagne reception!