It's a shame that Andrew - or 'Knickers' as Jamie Trotter tends rather irreverently to address him - was Newmarket's only representative in the ensemble. We do, of course, have the multiple Champion Hurdle-winning jockeys Steve Smith-Eccles, Paddy Broderick and Jimmy Uttley living here, as well as the Grand National-winning rider Bob Champion, the Hennessy-winning hoop Ian Watkinson, plus various other notables. Hard though it is to believe, I think that both Lester Piggott and Bill O'Gorman have ridden into the (old) Cheltenham winner's enclosure, while Jamie Spencer of course has ridden into the new one, albeit after a race without jumps. And it would be wrong to forget the National Hunt riding careers of such as Declan Murphy, Jeff Pearce, Eric Campbell, Paul Holley, Andrew Stringer, John Ryan, Ray Cochrane, Peter Ryan, Terry Kent and Robert Stevens (former conditional jockey with Philip Hobbs and now one of William Haggas' assistants - so if I can't work a photograph of Robert's colleague Kevin Peckham into this chapter, the next best thing is to include a picture of Robert, riding on the Heath last summer on the stable's grey hack, the former Grand National contender Sailor Jim). And we should even mention former Jersey Champion Hurdle-winning rider Vince Smith, who was resident here until heading down to London a couple of weeks ago to take up the position of assistant trainer to Andrew Reid, and who will surely return at some point in the future. Vince, of course, is perhaps the most successful Maltese jockey of all time and will be forever remembered, by me at least, for being the first jockey to win a race in my colours, courtesy of his outriding his friend Richard Dunwoody in a selling hurdle at Fontwell, Vince riding my 50/1 shot and Richard riding a hot favourite for Martin Pipe. Vince hasn't forgotten that tremendous day either - and I'm sure that Richard won't be allowed to forget it while his acquaintanceship with Vince survives!
On the subject of Newmarket-based riders, I was sorry to discover recently that our fellow Exeter Road resident Eoin "Sully" Sullivan (pictured last month eating the standard jockey's diet of a bag of crisps) is out of action because of a broken bone in his leg. Sully had been absent from Des Donovan's string for a couple of weeks before I found out about his injury, but I hope that it won't be too long now before he's back in harness and ready, I hope, to make an impression in amateur races during the forthcoming season. He's a very good rider who I would say would present himself on the racecourse fit to do himself and his mounts justice, and he's certainly the right size and shape to race-ride, so I hope that he can enjoy some success during the next few months. He deserves to do so. Another local rider whom I'd like to see do well is Ashley Hamblett, a decent apprentice who seemed to have given the game away but who, I have been pleased to notice, appears to have regained his appetite for the job and who rode a winner last week. This must have been his first for quite some time because I don't know if he even race-rode at all last year. So that's good to see Ashley (son of the former jockey Paul and elder brother of the apprentice Jamie) back because it would have been a shame had he let his talent go to waste. He's pictured here last month in Ed Dunlop's string, riding behind another good but sometimes under-achieving jockey, Adrian McCarthy. Adrian has joined Ed's stable this winter after a few years working mainly for Peter Chapple-Hyam. I'm pleased to note that he's had a couple of winners on the all-weather already this year, so let us hope that 2010 is a good year for him too. If it isn't, it certainly won't be for lack of talent on his part - but then, as we know, it's a very competitive sport, and there's a lot more to being successful, as either jockey or trainer, than merely being able to do the job well.