Former leading National Hunt jockey to judge the Retrained Racehorses classes at Royal Bath and West Show

By Anita Jaynes on 19 April, 2014

A jockey who retired from racing in March to follow a new career will be handing out the awards at the Royal Bath and West Show for racehorses who have done the same thing.

Former leading National Hunt jockey Joe Tizzard quit the sport just weeks ago to focus on the family business tending the 300-strong dairy herd at their Dorset farm, as well as training their 60 racehorses.

This May he will be judging the Retrained Racehorses classes at the show, which demonstrates the animals’ potential for a career after racing, whether it’s in dressage, hunting or a variety of different roles.

Joe said the rehoming and retraining of the horses was something the whole racing industry supported. He said: “We obviously get pleasure and enjoyment out of racing the horses but there is often no time for the businesses to do anything with them after retirement so we want to see them rehomed. “Nowadays many horses are only 12 when they retire, which is reasonably young. They are ready for another chance, they’ve got plenty of years left in them to do something else.”

Joe, 34, began riding competitively as a teenager with the Paul Nicholls stable. More recently, riding for his family’s stable, Venn Farm Racing, he enjoyed great success with Cue Card, winning the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last year.

Describing the win as his career highlight, he said: “Cue Card is the best horse I’ve ridden and he’s taken the stable to places we never thought we’d reach competitively. He injured himself just before the Gold Cup but he’ll be back next season with a new jockey, which will be the hardest thing for me. I’m the only jockey to ride him on the racecourse, I’ve trained him myself and know him inside out – now I’ll be stood there watching him at the races.

“It’s the right time to retire and I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into the next couple of chapters of my life – I don’t miss falling off and being kicked at 30mph!”

Now, he says, the goal is to push both aspects of the business – dairy farming and training – to the next level. And judging at the Bath and West Show will be another new experience for Joe, who said: “I’ve been to the show plenty of times but I’ve never judged a class. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll be looking at the horses’ wellbeing, manner and how well they ride among other things.”

The Royal Bath and West Show takes place from May 28 to May 31, 2014, at the Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet.