Female jump jockey Isobel Tompsett talks to weighedin.tv about her hair-raising career and successes to date:
Q: Hi Isabel, thanks for joining us today, now I have to ask…do you have to be slightly slightly crazy to be a jump jockey?
Yes, I think you have to be slightly crazy, as it’s quite a dangerous sport.
You have to be dedicated to it. You can’t be too phased when falling and taking a few bumps… so yes you have to be slightly crazy.
Q: You took a tumble in a race on New Year’s Eve. What goes through your mind, do you have time to think or panic?
Nothing really…. you sometimes get to a point in a race when you have to go for broke. Whatever stride you’re on, you just have to try and win the race. With three fences out, I had a great chance, but he’s just gone too long and low and and we’ve fallen. You can’t dwell on the setback, merely carry on and remain determined.
Q: You won the Amateur Ladies’ Championship last year, how much have of a confidence-booster was that win?
It was great, I was thrilled to bits to win the title. It’s hard to win the point-to-point title when you’re not 100% dedicated, especially when you’ve another full-time job. With my job as a vet, you have to spend a lot of time schooling horses. So, when I have to work outside of racing it’s impossible so… The Amateur Ladies’ NH title was something I’ve always thought.. yes I’d love to win that title but never ever thought I would. Then two years ago I started riding a few more winners under Rules…I had a few good opportunities in ladies’ races and amateur races. Plus, John Llewellyn, my partner, assistant trainer to Bernard, has obviously given me more chances against professionals. So, it just came along without me really expecting it.
Q: Was the victory on Salontyre in the Exeter hurdle, (on 5th December Salontyre won at 22/1) up there with one of your proudest achievements to date?
Yes, definitely, the biggest race I’ve ever won or even hoped to win. It was a good victory for the yard as well. It was as good a race as we’ve won recently. It was brilliant, I went there thinking we might make fourth prize.. at best third… He just came back onto the bridle three out and just battled on gamely and won nicely in the end. So it was a brilliant day for us all.
Q: The victory all the sweeter, as you beat Paul Nicholls’ trained, Sanctuaire in the process??
Yeah.. he was turned over, odds-on…and he just pulled too hard but.. He was a Cheltenham Festival winner and it’s nice to have a little horse to have some fun with. He may not beat him ever again..but he beat him that day and it was brilliant.
To view the full interview go to weighedin.tv: there, Isabel also speaks about the inherent chauvinism in racing plus, the chances of females competing successfully in the NH game. She also speaks about her other passion, painting, which she hopes to resume in the not too distant future.