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Angry Ant Gary back in the saddle in Newmarket after heart scare





Newmarket-based former champion apprentice jockey Gary Bardwell has recently returned to the saddle in a new role after recovering from a heart scare in March that saw him rushed to Cambridge’s world-leading Royal Papworth Hospital.

Bardwell who lifted the apprentice title twice, first in 1987 and again the following year, and was recently made redundant by Godolphin after 20 years, briefly blacked out while riding out on Newmarket heath which led to him having a stent fitted in his heart.

“I was riding out for my friend Conrad Allen the weekend after I left Godolphin and had a heart scare when I came over all dizzy,” he said.

Gary Bardwell celebrates after landing the Leger Legends race in 2021. Picture: Edward Whitaker
Gary Bardwell celebrates after landing the Leger Legends race in 2021. Picture: Edward Whitaker

“Thankfully, the ambulance came and paramedics found I had a small blockage and they took me to hospital where I had a stent put in. I was quite lucky that the Jockey Club Estates Heath Medics were on the scene quickly and I would like to thank them for all that they did for me.”

He added: “I felt like a new man after I had the stent in, following which they said rest up for four to six weeks and take it from there. “

Known as the Angry Ant due to his style in the saddle, Bardwell retired from race riding back in 2003 but did win the Leger Legends’ race for Saaed bin Suroor at Doncaster on Natural Colour in 2021 after 10 years of trying.

Gary Bardwell, left, winning the Leger Legends race at Doncaster. Picture: Edward Whitaker
Gary Bardwell, left, winning the Leger Legends race at Doncaster. Picture: Edward Whitaker

And after being given the all clear, he has recently taken a new job with champion trainers John and Thady Gosden at Clarehaven stables in Bury Road.

“I was with Godolphin for 20 years, 15 at pre-training and the last five at Saeed bin Suroor’s but they were making a few cutbacks so a few of us got made redundant during Cheltenham week,” he said.

“I was looking for a good job to begin riding out again as I hadn’t ridden out for a few years as I was working on the hydrotherapy pool at Saeed’s.”

He added: “I fancied giving it another go riding out and I’d always wanted to work for the Gosdens so that’s where I am now and it’s a good job.

“I started full time last Monday and I’ve already sat on some nice horses and I rode work at the weekend.

“Hopefully one day I would consider riding in the Legends race again but I can’t this year as my wife has booked a holiday in Dubai that week.”