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A young Arran jockey is making a name for herself in the tough world of horse racing.
Nicola Currie may be just 24, but she been on the horse racing circuit for more than four years and has racked up more than 250 races in that time, including a string of wins. Add being nominated for female jockey of the year and representing Team GB in the European Apprentice Series and it is clear to see Nicola is going places in 2018.
Nicola was born and brought up on Arran and attended Shiskine Primary and Arran High School and always had a love of horses. When at 16, she followed her dream by going to Outridge College in Edinburgh to study horse management.
Her first job in racing was with Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore, trainers for One for Arthur who won the Grand National last year. Initially wanting to be a jump jockey, it was Peter who convinced her to get a flat licence, as she was too light for jumping, and her first competitive race was for them at Hamilton Racecourse.
While visiting Lambourn, Berkshire where, next to Newmarket, is the hub of racing, Nicola realised that she needed to be based there if she was going to forge a successful career. Now in her third year at Lambourn, having worked for numerous trainers and including a short stint back home where she was contemplating her future in the industry – having taken part in only the bare minimum of races – Nicola returned to horse racing with a vengeance.
Now an apprentice jockey in former jump jockey champion Richard Hughes yard, her career has taken off. To date, she has had 263 races with 57 placed and 21 winners. An apprentice gets a 7lb claim which is gradually reduced as the number of winners increase, to lose the claim and become professional 100 winners must be achieved. Nicola recently rode her 20th winner and so reduced her claim to 5lb.
The journey to success has not been an easy one though. A typical day starts at 5.30am riding for her boss or one of a few trainers that she rides for, including Henry Candy, Mark Usher, John Berry and Phil MacEntee, before heading to the race course. It could be Lingfield, Kempton to Wolverhampton and Newcastle, sometimes riding at two courses in one day and three or four races a day. There are also frequent evening meetings so Nicola’s day often ends up not getting home until 11pm or later. Her agent Phil Shea books her rides and decides which horse she will ride if there is more than one option in the same race.
However, the Arran connection is never far away and Nicola has met a great deal of people who know the island, one in particular being Lady Jean’s god-daughter.
Her career highlights to date include a group two winner with Krytos, trained by John Berry at Doncaster on St Leger Day, a trip to Belgium representing team GB in the European Apprentice Jockey Series and being nominated for female jockey of the year which was won by Josie Gordon whom Nicola aspires to. She finished runner up in The Silk Series for female jockeys last year and is also leading the apprentice all weather championship which concludes in April.
Her goals this year include becoming apprentice champion and riding out her claim. Mum Susie Murchie and stepdad James keep up the date with her career at home in Shiskine and enjoy watching her on Sky’s At the races and other racing programmes.
She had a brief flying visit home at Christmas. Mum Susie said: ‘She is always on the go. She only managed home for two days and that was the first time she had been back since last Christmas, but we are very proud of her.’
Nicola Currie on Krytos which gave her a group two win. No_B02jockey01
In full flow, Nicola in action on Pearl Spector. No_B02jockey02
Nicola rides Killim at Brighton. No_B02jockey03
Nicola rides Krytos into the winners enclosure at Doncaster on St Leger Day. No_B02jockey04
A poster featuring Nicola for The Silk Series for female jockeys in which she finished runner-up. No_B02jockey05