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Luke pushes me in a ditch - he really can't take his drink; My Week: As one of Britain's leading lady riders, Emily Jones describes the build-up to the race every female rider wants to win.

Byline: Emily Jones

Sunday, July 19 It's the first Sunday in months that I haven't been taking horses racing, so I watch the Emmerdale omnibus in bed and go to church. I then drive an hour and a half to Wales, where I meet my brother and my mum for a late lunch at the Maenllwyd Inn, just outside Caerphilly. Although it's been almost five years since I left the valleys, driving over the Severn Bridge seems like coming home to me and I get nostalgic. On my return to Kingston Lisle, Luke [Harvey, her partner] and I go out on the bikes, but stop off at several pubs. Luke pushes me in a ditch on the way home - he really can't take his drink!

Monday, July 20 I ride out for Henry Candy first thing - his gallops are some of the best in the country, set in breathtakingly beautiful countryside. I've been in the game long enough to know that no good comes of getting attached to horses, but I'm particularly fond of a gelding called Aye Aye Digby and I ride him first lot. His joviality is infectious and he always puts me in a good mood. He has stacks of ability but, as Mr Candy puts it, "he doesn't always take his racing very seriously ".

I'm disappointed not to be doing any racing transport today, but do pick up a horse from Jo Winter, who has a pre-training yard outside Lambourn, and take it over to Alan King's at Barbury Castle.

Entries are out for Saturday's Ascot card today, and although the opening race is no longer the richest ladies' race, it's the one we all want to win. I managed it in 2000, but had to sell the diamond necklace I won to help with an escalating overdraft.

Clive Cox has a mare entered called Secret Night. I should have won on her at Doncaster earlier this season, but I hit the front too soon and finished third. I leave Clive a hopeful message before Luke and I go to see Bruno. We have different tastes in films as a rule, but both of us are in stitches throughout.

Tuesday, July 21 Ride out and then go on Amy Scott's Equicizer; she keeps it in a garage at the yard. I drive the ears off him, winning several diamonds.

When I was in my prime and riding against AP McCoy and Richard Johnson, I was obsessed with my fitness, but box-driving and working for At The Races doesn't leave much time for the gym, so I have to improvise. I stop on the Ridgeway and run to the famous white horse, on the hill overlooking Woolstone. My ageing Jack Russell, Pie, joins me and, despite having only three good legs, worryingly beats me back to the car.

Clive Cox hasn't got back to me, so the legend that is Tim Dreaper, who helps me sort out my rides free of charge, gets on the case. Tim was Luke's agent for a while, so I figure if he could sell him, he should get me a ride or two. True to form, I'm jocked up on two by the end of the day.

Luke is at Ffos Las today with Bob Cooper. Today is their first Flat meeting, and although on-course work is my favourite pastime, I have been very lucky to pick up a regular slot doing voiceovers for At The Races Extra, behind the red button.

Today, Yarmouth is being exported to Australia, South Africa and Turkey. The international market is growing fast - Singapore is added next week - and I'm proud that I have contributed to that success.

Wednesday, July 22 I'm booked to take Best In Class to Lingfield for Tom Dascombe today. Tom has been giving me plenty of work recently, which is exciting, as he's the most upwardly mobile trainer in Lambourn and I have a great deal of respect for him.

I disinfect the box and fill up with diesel, but on arriving at the yard, Tom gives me the bad news that he has withdrawn his Leicester runner, so will use his own transport for Lingfield. As luck would have it, Wayne Clifford of Bathwick Tyres phones and asks me to pick up two horses from him, and take one to Dave Pipe's and one to Brendan Powell's, so off I head. Wayne and Sarah are great supporters of racing - Bathwick Tyres sponsor David Pipe's yard, not to mention countless races at Newbury, Bath and Salisbury.

My 'agent' Tim phones me on the way home to say Clive Cox is 90 per cent sure he wants to run Secret Night at Ascot on Saturday and the ride is mine, so it's only fair to inform the trainers who had provisionally booked me. Bridges burned, I am left to sweat it out until declaration time tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23 Secret Night? Sleepless Night more like! I'd be gutted to be without a ride at Ascot for the first time in 15 years.

I try not to think about the worstcase scenario and ride out as normal, before repeating the Equicizer/run routine. However, by 10am the strain is starting to show and I jump a mile when my phone starts ringing. It's Lorraine Ellison, who is on the verge of tears. Her intended ride in our big race on Saturday is a non-runner - Ed Dunlop had just broken the news.

After a brief attempt to console her, I hang up, only for my phone to ring again. It's Clive Cox's secretary, and it's good news. Secret Night runs at Ascot. Relief.

I phone Tim to tell him and he has booked me two more rides - Libre for Frank Jordan at Yarmouth on Monday and General Tufto, a horse I won on earlier this season, for Charles Smith on Tuesday.

I jump on the train at Didcot to go to London to voiceover Bath. Luke goes to Bath, the lucky git! I get the tube to Old Street, near Corsham Street, where the At The Races studios are, and on my way home in the rush hour almost have a panic attack with so many commuters packed into the sweaty carriages.

Many passengers are wearing masks because of the swine flu, and as I forgot to take my hay-fever pill last night, I can't stifle a sneezing fit, which results in mass hysteria and people disembarking prematurely!

I finally make it home around 9pm, and although I'm trying to limit my alcohol consumption to weekends, I join Luke at our local, The Blowing Stone, for a glass of wine.

Friday, July 24 Ride out one lot at Mr Candy's before getting an early train to Paddington, as I'm meeting my friend Ceri for a sushi lunch in Soho. Afterwards, I head to Corsham Street via Oxford Street, and on passing Selfridges I start hanging badly and duck inside. Shopping has always been my biggest weakness and I emerge carrier bag in hand. I cut the labels off and tell Luke I've had it for years!

I voiceover Ascot, paying particular attention to the seven-furlong race in which they come up the middle, so I'm happy with my draw in stall 4 tomorrow.

There are delays on the Circle line, so I miss the 18.18 from Paddington, but I'm not too bothered as Aye Aye Digby is running at Newmarket. I grab a skinny caramel macchiato from Starbucks - my usual tipple - and sit in the bookies for an hour. He bolts up at a short price, and the guy behind the counter can't believe how excited I am to win pounds 20! Two of my friends also have winners - Faye Bramley at Chepstow and Amy Scott at York. Happy days!

Saturday, July 25 Luke leaves for Ascot at 5am. He's working for Radio Five and his first slot is before 7am. Unfortunately, he has yet to master the art of getting up quietly and, after much crashing about in the shower, he finally says: "If you're awake Ox, can you iron me a shirt?" Consequently, I'm at the paper shop before 6am.

The Racing Post gives me a chance - I'm 15-2 joint-third favourite. I'm delighted to see that Lorraine got a ride on Bomber Command, a horse I finished second and third on in the last two runnings of the race.

I ride out as usual and go to congratulate Digby, who is in fine fettle. At 10am, Pie and I jump in the car and head off to Ascot. The car-park attendant wishes me luck before letting me bag my favourite spot. Bob Cooper tells me he has me in his Placepot and the nerves begin.

It's great to see all the girls in the changing room. All my old mates are there - Carol Bartley, Aly Deniel, Emma Folkes and Serena Brotherton. Some of the new faces look incredibly young, and the Irish girls, Nina and Katie, are great fun. Do interviews with Zoey Bird and Cornelius Lysaght before walking the course.

I weigh out and I'm chuffed to do 10st 3lb on my biggest saddle. Clive Cox gives me my riding orders. He wants me to get cover, ride with confidence and get a lead for as long as possible.

The race goes to plan most of the way. I travel well in midfield and make ground two out, but after getting within striking distance of the leaders, she flattens out in the closing stages and I can't quite get there. Clive and the owners are lovely after the race, but can't help feeling disappointed, and I'm deflated, too.

I congratulate Vicki Fahey, the winning rider, and she shows me her Longines diamond-studded watch, which is gorgeous. Quick shower and I head off to drown my sorrows with Sara Moore.

Luke and I meet in the Pheasant on the way home and Ryan Moore's sister Hayley is in there. She rode South Cape for her dad, but had no luck. We drink to next year.

I sensibly leave my car at the Pheasant - it's no stranger to the car park - and we call at The Queens for one with Peter and Karen Hobbs, before ending the night in the Blowing Stone (nearer to base).

Luke and I are presenting Peter Bowen's open day tomorrow, then it's off riding at Yarmouth on Monday and Beverley on Tuesday. Busy is best!


Emily Jones combines riding with broadcasting and horse transport
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 27, 2009
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