Friday 24th February 2012



James Seivwright talks to Andrew Norman at Pointing South Midlands about his life, how he enjoys being at Tom Lacey's Cottagefield Stables, and his future ambitions.


The seventeen-year-old was mad on motocross when growing up in Beverley, North Yorkshire but since riding a horse for the first time four years ago, has been involved with racing yards: “I got into racing and realised how much I loved it and I could make a living from working with horses.”

“My Dad got a job as a stud manager in Ireland so we moved over there. A girl down the road had a few show ponies and I sat on them and picked it up straight away. I went hunting two weeks after I started riding.”

Like many young Point-to-Point riders these days, Seivwright learned his trade in Pony Racing.

“I had between 15-20 rides pony racing in Ireland – including at the Dingle Festival and was only out of the places four times.”

“That’s when I first realised I really wanted to be a jockey – It was the adrenaline rush.”

Seivwright’s involvement grew as, together with his sister, he bought and sold horses. He gained experience at breaking in ponies and selling them on.

“My sister and her husband owned a racehorse in Ireland and it won so we went out for a meal – the trainer Andrew McNamara was there and he said I should go and ride out for him because I was small enough to be a jockey. He thought I was 16 not 14!”

This led to Seivwright working for McNamara every weekend, progressing to Racing School in England and on to Nicky Henderson’s and then Sir Mark Prescott’s yards. He moved from Newmarket to Chipping Norton on taking his current employment with Tom Lacey.

Seivwright relates how Lacey encourages his racing ambitions and fitness: “Some days I run to work and he makes me cycle home for lunch and back every day”.

He says he would love to be a professional jockey and comments, ”I want to ride at least one winner this season – hopefully I do well for Tom then other people can give me rides as well. I school minimum three times a week. Tom’s given me a book called ‘How to race ride’. Hopefully he won’t be buying me another one in a year’s time!”

Jockey and colleague, Sam Drinkwater, has contributed greatly to Seivwright’s introduction to pointing. He accompanies him on ‘walking the courses’ on what is totally unfamiliar territory as Seivwright had never previously been to a Point-to-Point in Britain before his first ride at Barbury in December. He remarks: “Custer’s Last Stand jumps like a stag so he’s perfect to learn on.”

He pulled up after two miles at Barbury but got further on Custer’s next outing at Dunthrop being in contention for a long way until eventually pulling up two from home.

“You get a great buzz from it. I was nervous coming into the open ditch the first time but once I jumped that I was really confident for the remainder.”

Seivwright’s second ride, and first on Silver Breese, was at Larkhill. “He’s easier than riding a maiden. That’s given me much more confidence.”

Riding him again last Sunday, bringing his season tally to four was not so much fun. Unfortunately Seivwright was, literally, brought down to earth when Silver Breese saw the first fence at Chaddesley Corbett as if going round Aintree.

As Lacey comments: “Silver flew the fence and jumped James out of the saddle at the 1st fence. Sadly for James the results will read UR 1st - not something for the scrap book! It's character building for James and nothing but his pride is hurt, he's there for another day and James is getting invaluable experience.”

I watch Seivwright’s budding racing career with interest and wish him future success as his racing skills develop. He certainly deserves to be rewarded for his enthusiasm and the commitment he is clearly willing to give to the sport.