We’re all familiar with the expression, “moving the goal posts”, however when we’re referring to Northern Racing College student, Jay Tabb, the goal posts have quite literally moved.
London born Jay, 35, is no stranger to goal posts. As a Premiership footballer, a career which started with Crystal Palace in 1999 and finished with Ipswich Town in 2016, he scored countless goals. However the goal posts this time have been moved by Jay himself who has set his sights on working in the horseracing industry.
At 5 ft 5 in Jay was considered too small for the “beautiful game” and was released by Crystal Palace however he still went on to make 450 appearances across four clubs and made it to the top-flight with Reading.
Upon retiring from football in 2016 Jay set his sights on rugby and in his spare time he played golf and the piano both to an impossibly high standard.
Jay has had an interest in horseracing for as long as he can remember, an interest which has seen him purchase a racehorse, Mister Miyagi, which he owns in partnership with former Coventry City team mate Ben Turner.
Our first encounter with Jay was in January 2019 when he attended an Open Morning. He arrived from London bursting with enthusiasm and it’s that enthusiasm which has seen him excel during his time as a Foundation Course student.
The first hurdle he had to overcome was his weight. Enrolling on the residential course as a rider meant Jay needed to weigh in, complete with his riding attire, under 11 stone. Not one to be defeated he shed a whopping 28lbs in 63 days.
Jay has followed exactly the same learning programme as the other students on his course, many of whom are 17 years his junior. He has learnt how to muck out, to groom, to tack up, to take a bridle apart and to clean it and how to ride. He has become a jockey and a horseman.
As with all students riding on the gallops for the first time a patient, forgiving partner was chosen and Jay cantered in the racing style over seven furlongs or if you’re counting in football pitches approximately 15 lengths of a football pitch. He smiled after this experience. The following day he did the same and this has continued every day since except Sundays when the horses have the day off. On the horses day off Jay has diligently mucked out their stables and seen to their every need.
Jay graduated on Friday (21 June 2019) and has been secured a work placement in Minehead, Somerset at the all conquering stables of National Hunt trainer, Philip Hobbs. Jay will become part of the racing staff team and will be allocated his horses which he will look after on a daily basis.
Foundation Course Manager, Liz Clifton, has had the pleasure of working closely with Jay and recalls his time at the College fondly, “Jay has been a pleasure to work with and coach. He is highly motivated and came to NRC with a clear mission – to learn as much as he could about caring for and riding racehorses. He has achieved this and more and has become an accomplished rider; his motivation and determination have also inspired other learners and he has helped them to stay focused.
“We wish Jay every success in his new career and feel sure that he will continue to develop his skills as a horseman and achieve his ambition, which is to race ride”.
Reflecting on his 12-weeks at the College Jay takes up the story, “I’ve had an amazing time at the Northern Racing College. I’ve learnt to ride and to look after horses which is something I’ll never forget and will be forever grateful for. All thanks to the College I’m now in a position where I can be employed by a racehorse trainer. I’ve learnt so much and I’m sure it will all stand me in good stead when I start at Mr Hobbs on 07 July 2019. I’ve had a great time and would encourage anyone who has a passion for horseracing or even just an interest in horses to go for it”.
For more information on the 12-week, residential Foundation Course which is open to complete beginners and as a rider and a non-rider please visit: www.northernracingcollege.co.uk or contact Sarah Beattie on 01302 861000 email@example.com
A list of our monthly Open Mornings can also be viewed on our website.