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24th April 2020
David Bass has kindly taken up the mantle of Kim Bailey Racing Community spirit....
+21.7 Dry walking down the stairs.
The grass growth in my back garden is very healthy. No need for fertiliser.
It was a strange feeling driving home from Wetherby on the 17th of March. I was supposed to be going to Ludlow the following day for 5 rides, but I was now in a situation where I didn’t have a clue when I would go back to work.
Life for a self employed jockey changed very quickly. We went from being flat out in a very busy period to unemployed.
Quite a few of my colleagues quickly organised to ride out in a flat yard. Handy for a regular income and staying fit. My girlfriend works for Charlie Hills , she told me the horses were mad fresh, so I gave it a miss!
When I heard Jump racing wasn’t starting again until July, I thought it was a good time to have a short break from horses.
I’ve been riding as a professional for about 10 years and the longest break I’ve had (apart from being injured), is 10 days. I’m always banging on about the old days ( the ones Kim definitely remembers) and the 6 week summer break. I can’t see that happening again anytime soon but it’s crazy, I can’t think of many sports that don’t have a proper off season.
So 5 weeks into the lockdown and a very different lifestyle and routine.
I think I had the virus in the first 2 weeks. I wasn’t as bad as poor Peter or Maddie but I felt rough on and off for quite a while. The main symptom I had was losing my sense of smell. Very annoying, but not all bad, Vegan flatulence can be rotten.
I have a beard. Mixed reviews on how it looks.
I think it makes me look younger. Matt has one too, it’s very grey. Nico de Boinville had to shave his off. He was starting to look like Hitler as well as sounding like him. The only downside of my beard, is getting food stuck in it!
Talking of food, I’m learning to cook properly. Let’s just say I’m not a natural.
Last weekend I had a bad experience with a tube of tomato paste. It went everywhere. Turns out you pierce the foil with the top of the cap, and not squeeze it so hard that it bursts out the other end. Anyway I kept my composure and managed to prepare a half decent curry.
I’ve also signed up for the NHS volunteering. I haven’t been called up for duty yet but it’s great to have an opportunity to help out our brilliant health service.
I’ve been trying to stay fit. I’m doing a lot of walking and a bit of running. In the afternoons we turn the living room into a gym to do core workouts. Hard to stay motivated. There’s only so many squats and burpees you can do before wanting to go back to the sofa and watch The Chase!
I’ve enjoyed walking, the environment seems so different. Much less noise pollution and very clear skies.
I’ve become obsessed with an app called Flightradar24. Every time a plane goes over I have to see what it is and where it’s come from.
A phone call with my dad made me realise this obsession is maybe getting a bit sad. He loves birdwatching, he said he saw a Cettis Warbler for the first time. I said I saw a McDonnell-Douglas MD-11F cargo plane flying from Toronto to Frankfurt and it was flying at 33,050 ft.... and it was doing 550kts and it left 6.18hours ago .... and it’s reg was D-ALCK. I don’t even like aeroplanes. Is there an app for trains?
Anyway, back to unemployment.
It’s obviously a very worrying time for the self employed in any industry. We lack any real financial security. It was good to hear about the help from the government, but it wasn’t very clear on who was eligible.
Speaking to my accountant recently he still wasn’t sure if I could benefit. This is why we are lucky to have the PJA. They have said there will be financial help for anyone who isn’t eligible for the government scheme. Along with the IJF and Racing Welfare the PJA have worked hard to make sure no jockey struggles in the short term. Their help is much appreciated.
I think this whole period has made me realise that I appreciate my job more than ever. I know in a crisis like this there’s a lot more important things than sport, but racing is a great industry to work in.
I’m really starting to miss race riding, I love being competitive. I’m also missing going to the yard and having a good laugh with everyone( I’m sure the staff miss my sense of humour and singing) maybe not . I hope to start riding out again in May.
I’m really looking forward to next season. I feel very lucky. I have a lot of nice horses to ride for a lot of nice people . Stay safe. See you soon..
David as you know lost his driving license for a while last year..
Not sure if this excuse would have worked for him...