An Interview with Flat Jockey, Nicola Currie.
Nicola Currie, 27, began show jumping but sought a different challenge, so found racing through a friend. The rest, as they say, is so far Nicola’s history. She grew up on the Isle of Arran, spending a quiet childhood on ponies that soon evolved into competing at Ayr and other various circuits.
Since working in racing, she has fallen in love with the industry. Last year, she won the Apprentice Jockey Championship on the All-weather with thirty wins. There is a robustness to Nicola, who strives to ride with longevity and has an admirable determination: “I want to have a long and successful career,” she says. “I don’t want to ride just to make a living, I want to achieve things as a female jockey that haven’t been done before. I want to get better and ride in better quality races and for better trainers.” Indeed, last October, Nicola was the first female to ride at Ascot in the Qipco Queen Elizabeth Stakes for her boss Jamie Osborne. The journey there has taken the Scotswoman who started off “not having a clue” through to her first ever winner and becoming only the third ever female jockey to ride over a hundred winners in a calendar year, as well as winning the Lady Jockey of the Year award at the Lesters in 2018.
Nicola currently lives in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and rides out most for Jamie Osborne but continues to go into Richard Hughes’ one day a week.
Photo Credit: Great British Racing
Did you have a “horsey childhood”?
My babysitter was a riding instructor so I was plonked on top of a horse before I could walk so she could keep an eye on me! I had my first pony Impie when I was five. I went onto horses and competed at local shows.
What other equestrian disciplines have you competed in?
I did Pony Club shows, hunting and show jumping.
How and why did you get into racing?
I wanted a change and had a friend, who was head girl at Lucinda Russell’s and she suggested I tried the racing industry. I started there at nineteen and haven’t left the industry since.
How have times changed for female jockeys since your predecessors?
We are treated more equally with male jockeys, there are more opportunities and doors are continually opening.
Who were the biggest influences on your career so far?
I have to mention Peter Scudamore who helped me a lot, Richard Hughes who I rode out my claim with and of course, jockey Cathy Cannon.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
Winning the Challenge Cup on Raising Sand at Ascot.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To have more higher profile rides and winners.
What was the best advice you received?
All the general race riding advice from Richard Hughes.
What is the best advice you can offer?
Just work hard and take any advice you can get.
If there’s a Flat horse you could have ridden, then which one?
What is your favourite big racecourse?
What is your favourite smaller racecourse?
Where have you ridden internationally and which of these did you enjoy riding at the most?
Saudi Arabia was my favourite, whilst competing in the International Jockeys Challenge. I’ve also ridden at Deauville, Hanover and in Belgium.
What is your favourite meal?
Medium to rare steak with peppercorn sauce and mayonnaise.
What is your favourite drink?
Irn-Bru or white wine.
Which is your favourite holiday destination?
Barbados for a hot country or France to go snowboarding.
What are your interests away from racing?
I go hunting on my horse Rita and I love walking my dog Millie.
Would you ever consider riding over jumps?!
I love schooling but I wouldn’t say I’m brave enough to ride over jumps.
*Thank you to The Scotsman for the quotes from 17th October 2019.