Monday 23 September 2019

A Roaring Lion: Former Jockey Alan Rutter Talks Racing & Riding Out for John Gosden

A big thank you to former flat jockey Alan Rutter who has kindly agreed to answer some questions about his life in horse racing and riding out for the brilliant John Gosden. 

Alan, have you always been involved with horse racing? 

I have always been involved in horse racing, being born and bred in Newmarket you are never too far away from a horse, and most of the people who live here, know or have somebody connected to the industry. 

At What age did you decide to become a jockey and why? 

I probably decided to be a jockey aged about 15, I played football to a reasonable standard, but played and was turned down by the county, because they said I was too small, so I thought what do small people do...ride horses!!!! Unfortunately, I grew. So basically I was too small for 1 and too big for the other. 

As an apprentice you had a nice few winners, did you have a favourite? 

I was lucky enough to win on the horse called Street Life who was a particular favourite of mine, and a real yard pet. Took great pleasure from winning on a useful horse called High Treason twice, a big galloping type who really enjoyed Newbury. 

What was it like riding for legendary trainer Willie Musson? 

Riding for Willie Musson, was fun, and he was a very fair trainer, he had quite a few apprentices at the time, so we all knew that if we worked hard and listened we would get rides. I was under no illusion that even though I may have ridden a horse a few times if Pat Eddery or Kieren Fallon wanted to ride they would take over. 

Did you find it tough being a jockey or were you living the dream? 

Of course, being a jockey is tough, if you are not a natural lightweight, or you cannot pick up rides, you can easily get disheartened, It’s a game that will either make you or break you. I loved every minute of it while I was riding and I looked at it, that I was living out my dream and working with my idols. 

I noticed that you do a bit of work riding out for another legendary trainer John Gosden, how did that come about? 

I have always had a connection with the stable, as I’m the 3rd generation of my family to work for John Gosden, I basically wanted to get well-paid, ride good horses!!!! And that’s exactly what you get at Clarehaven, we are lucky to have such nice horses and are always competitive on race days. 

I know this is a difficult question but which horse is the best you have ridden? 

The best horse I have ridden would be Enable, but I couldn’t have told you that from the handful of times I sat on her. The horse I spent the most time riding was Roaring Lion. I  rode him through his 2yo career. A fantastic horse, smooth traveller, gutsy, classy had a swagger. For me, he had it all.  It’s a pity that he is no longer with us and just hope the mares he covered to produce a horse like him. 

If you could name a John Gosden dark horse for the future who would it be? 

As for picking a dark horse, this isn’t that easy as we have so many unraced maidens and normally a good one hides away. A horse that I’m quite fond of is a Kingman colt called King Leonidas probably one for 1-mile maidens, but he is likeable and more than capable of winning a maiden. 

The final question is what advice would you give to my readers who would like to get into the racing game? 

I would say to anybody wanting to get in to racing, that it is a fantastic industry, not always easy at times, the weather, the pay and other things can make you sometimes question why do you do it, but you can travel the world, be around nice horses, experience what it’s like to win, or just like looking after your horses, it’s certainly an industry that has a little bit of everything. 

Thank you for your time, Alan, it's been a pleasure hearing about your great memories.

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