At just 18 years old, Fergus Gillard has been taking the racing world by storm recently. Fergus successfully completed his Haddon Training apprenticeship with us in June this year and has gone from strength to strength, completing 130 rides so far in his career, with 23 wins, including 5 in the last ten days!
We caught up with Fergus to congratulate him on his wins and find out more about his learning journey and career in racing.
Can you tell us about how you got into horseracing?
I work for David Pipe Racing as a conditional jockey. My family trains racehorses and so I’ve grown up into the sport, when I was young I just played around with ponies and did a bit of showjumping, but then at the age of nine, I got into pony racing because my older brother, Theo, had started it a few years before me. I decided to pursue my career in racing because of the love I have for horses; they’re amazingly athletic animals and obviously growing up with them influenced me a lot!
Why did you begin an apprenticeship?
I heard about Haddon Training through the racing industry. I didn’t want to stay in school until I was 18 because I knew what I wanted to do; people in the industry know that racing is time-consuming and school work would have meant a lot of additional time and energy would be taken away from my main focus, which is to develop my career in racing.
Haddon Training enabled me to get a qualification whilst working; they are good at understanding the requirements and demands of the industry and their apprenticeships are designed to work alongside a racing career.
How was your apprenticeship?
Looking back, completing my apprenticeship was such a great thing to do; I was always given enough time to complete the modules and it never became overwhelming. My Trainer-Coach kept in touch regularly and was really approachable. The team at Haddon Training understand that jockeys are busy during the year and really support that by working around the season. They also helped keep me focused and made sure everything was up to scratch with my knowledge and development. I learnt a lot about the welfare of horses and by learning such a varied equine curriculum, it also broadened my horizons beyond just being a jockey, in case I want to pursue a different career path later on in life. I got the results I hoped for, including distinctions in my practical observation and professional discussion.
What’s next for you?
Winning the Grade 3 Stayers Hurdle at Haydock on Betfair Chase day, on Main Fact was the greatest achievement of my career so far and I want to continue to push myself to compete at this level. My main focus is to ride out my 5lb claim and simply keep progressing in the sport I love.
If you would like to find out more about our racing traineeships or apprenticeships follow the links below or simply contact our friendly team to discuss.