TEENAGER Sam Cottrill is pursuing the career he has always dreamed of and now he is on the cusp of taking his first steps to becoming a licensed jockey.
Sam, 16, who lives with his mum and step-dad, Carol and Darren Irving in Langholm, is currently working for James Ewart Racing.
He first started going to the racing yard at weekends and during the holidays when he was 12.
After he left school last year, he started working for Ewart full time in November and he has just completed a month’s training course at the British Racing School in Newmarket.
Sam said: “The course I did was a Level 2 diploma in horse care. You can go for either nine weeks or 14 weeks or, if you have enough experience, you go for a month.
“I had to muck out the horses, look after them and ride out. There were five people on my course.
“We had one main instructor and also Richard Perham for a couple of days. He used to be a jockey and he is now the senior jockey coach there.
“I was assessed during the course. They took videos of me mucking out and grooming the horses and I had to put things in my workbook about feeding and checking their legs.
“The horses I looked after changed every weekend but I had the same two horses to look after for the final two weeks and was given a third.”
When he got back to Langholm, James Ewart said he would put Sam forward for his conditional licence.
This means he will have to return to Newmarket or go to Doncaster for a fitness test. If he passes, he will go on a two-week course which he will spend in the classroom and riding out. He will also have a medical and a concussion test.
At the yard he looks after three horses, Ca Le Ferra, Foxey and Ground Control who is ridden in point-to-points by amateur jockey Tom Forsyth.
Sam says he now needs to get fitter and he is going to the gym. He is six feet tall and knows he will have to work hard to keep his weight down.
Sam is a keen supporter of Langholm Common Riding and has ridden about six times. He also does the ride-outs.
His hero? A P McCoy, of course.