You want to know something about me that the average bloke won’t know? How about this.
I regularly stopped in at McDonald’s on the way home from the races and had a large Big Mac meal, a McChicken sandwich, nine chicken nuggets and a Diet Coke.
McDonald’s is my guilty pleasure. I love it. In the summer in my racing days I went once or twice a week, but in the winter not that often. My wife Gillian most definitely does not share my love of McDonald’s.
If there’s one thing would surprise the man in the street about my life as a jockey, it’s the amount of fast food I ended up having to eat.
I never ate before I rode so I was always starving when I finished.
There’s an image of jockeys out there that has us down as a gang of pale stick-figures who can barely stand up with the hunger half the time. If we eat at all, it’s celery sticks and steamed chicken all the way. But it’s not true.
Absolutely, there were plenty of times when you have to ‘do light’ and those times aren’t easy.
Sometimes, If I was trying to do a really light weight, you’d see me buy a sandwich in an airport, eat the filling and throw the bread away. Not fun.
And yeah, there are jockeys who have to do it more often than others, just as there are lads who have bigger frames thanks to Mother Nature and who have to suffer more to get rid of the last horrible pounds to make the weight.
But as a group of sports persons on the road, junk food is often all there is.
Especially in the summer months when race meetings aren’t finished until eight or nine o’clock at night.
Ask most Irish jockeys and they’ll be able to tell you that a McDonald’s burger takes less time to work off than a Burger King.
They’ll tell you which garages do the best rolls, which ones do the cheapest coffee, and where to go for something quick and tasty and bad for you.