Friday, February 23, 2024

Meet the world’s tallest jockey! Jack Andrews is 6ft 4in and is riding at Cheltenham

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Jack Andrews, a 6ft 4in jockey, made his Cheltenham Festival debut today but even though he towered over his much-shorter rivals, a win proved to be a long shot.

The 24-year-old stood a foot taller than most of his competitors as they emerged to meet their rides ahead of the final race of the day, although he still needed a leg up to climb aboard 66/1 shot Anightinlambourn.

It ended up proving an evening to forget for Andrews, unofficially crowned ‘tallest jockey in the world’, as the pair came up short in final race of the day.

Anightinlambourn pulled up mid-way through the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.

Jack Andrews, a 6ft 4in jockey, made his Cheltenham Festival debut today but even though he towered over his much-shorter rivals, a win proved to be a long shot. He is pictured during today’s race

The 24-year-old stood a foot taller than most of his competitors as they emerged to meet their rides ahead of the final race of the day

The 24-year-old stood a foot taller than most of his competitors as they emerged to meet their rides ahead of the final race of the day

Jack Andrews is seen dismounting Anightinlambourn after the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup today

Jack Andrews is seen dismounting Anightinlambourn after the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup today

A disappointed Andrews said: ‘We gave it a good shot but the ground was too soft so we had our doubts going into the race.’

Andrews, from Dunchurch, Warwickshire, was in good company though – sister Gina, 31, also had a ride in the race but her mount Slipway was the first to drop out.

Although turning professional might be a tall order for the giant jockey, Andrews is a regular on the amateur circuit.

Jack and Gina, 31, have a third sibling, 29-year-old Bridget, who is also a jockey. And Jack credits his sisters with fostering his love of riding.

Speaking ahead of the race he said: ‘We still joke now that they used to drag me out kicking and screaming to ride my pony.’

‘When I first started riding around the age of 15 or 16 I was tall but not as tall as I am now. I was probably 5ft 10ins when I had my first ride so I was okay and then when I got to about 17 I really shot up again and that is when I got quite tall.

‘There was a fear I might not be able to make it as I grew up thinking I would be a professional rider when I was older. When I had that growth spurt it was a bit of a kick in the teeth, but I always felt I could still ride as an amateur and in point-to-points – which I’ve managed to do.’

A disappointed Andrews said: 'We gave it a good shot but the ground was too soft so we had our doubts going into the race'

A disappointed Andrews said: ‘We gave it a good shot but the ground was too soft so we had our doubts going into the race’

The jockey is more than a foot taller than the average height of his fellow jockeying fraternity

The jockey is more than a foot taller than the average height of his fellow jockeying fraternity

Jack Andrews - who stands at 6ft 4in - rode Anightinlambourn on Thursday at Cheltenham

Jack Andrews – who stands at 6ft 4in – rode Anightinlambourn on Thursday at Cheltenham 

Last year, Andrews outlined the difficulties he has faced in achieving his dream of becoming a professional jockey

Last year, Andrews outlined the difficulties he has faced in achieving his dream of becoming a professional jockey

Jockeys tend to stand between 4ft 10in and 5ft 6in tall, with flat race jockeys usually at the smaller end of the spectrum. The average height of a jockey is 5ft 2in.

Thoroughbred racehorses average 16 hands (5ft 4in) at maturity.

Andrews will have fancied his chances on nine-year-old Anightinlambourn, after winning at Cheltenham on the horse back in November.

Sister Gina won the Kim Muir Chase six years ago on 40-1 shot Domesday Book.

The following year, sister Bridget scored her first Cheltenham Festival win aboard the 33-1 outsider Mohaayed in the County Hurdle.

‘The big one I want to tick off the bucket list is to ride a festival winner’, her little brother added ahead of today’s race.

‘It would be a brilliant achievement if all three of us (siblings) could say we have ridden a winner at Cheltenham on festival week.’

Andrews (pictured today) is from a 'big racing family' and described riding as one of those where 'I didn't really have an option'

Andrews (pictured today) is from a ‘big racing family’ and described riding as one of those where ‘I didn’t really have an option’

Jack Andrews is pictured after the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase on day three of the Cheltenham Festival

Jack Andrews is pictured after the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase on day three of the Cheltenham Festival

Speaking to the Jockey Club’s social media channels last year, Andrews outlined the difficulties he has faced in achieving his dream of becoming a professional jockey.

‘I grew up in a big racing family, point-to-point background, both my sisters ride, Gina’s a champion jockey in point-to-pointing and Bridget’s obviously a very successful professional,’ he last year.

‘It was one of those I didn’t really have an option.’

He also shared how in his late teens, around age 18 and 19, he got ‘very heavy’ and did not think riding professionally could be his reality. 

‘When my weight became good over the last few years, I thought why not,’ he told the Jockey Club. ‘And I enjoy every minute of it, getting paid to do something I love.’ 

A key part of a jockey’s day-to-day life is ensuring they don’t allow their weight to go over a certain limit. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) last year increased the jumps’ jockey weight allow from 11st 12lb to 12st.

Asked if he had difficulties in keeping below that threshold, Andrews said that he had a naturally light frame, despite his height.

‘It is a daily thing that I have to constantly keep an eye on, I try to eat the right things; I try to eat regularly but eat the right things,’ he explained. 

‘Obviously there’s a few cheat days every now and then like anyone. I must be quite light naturally anyway, quite a light frame.’

Andrews is much taller than the average British jockey's height - which is 5ft 2in

Andrews is much taller than the average British jockey’s height – which is 5ft 2in

Gina Andrews - one of Jack's sisters - is a champion jockey in point-to-pointing and raced against him on Thursday

Gina Andrews – one of Jack’s sisters – is a champion jockey in point-to-pointing and raced against him on Thursday

Last year, he partnered 140 mounts, winning 16 races at a strike rate of 11 per cent. He raked in just shy of £250,000 in prize money as a result. The season before, he had ridden 11, with two wins at a strike rate of 18 per cent.

Racing against Gina, his sister, he will be aiming to achieve something that she, and their other sibling, Bridget, herself a very accomplished jockey, has already done: ride a Festival winner.

‘Gina and Bridget have both ridden a Festival winner, so I’d love to ride a winner at the Festival. That’s the aim,’ he said.

‘The big one I want to tick off the bucket list is to ride a Festival winner. It would be a brilliant achievement.’

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