William Humphrey hoping for a bright future after recording his first victory
A jockey will never forget their first winner, but there are extra reasons as to why William Humphrey’s maiden victory under rules will live long in the memory.
Not only was his triumph at Wolverhampton in early December nominated for the Ride of the Month award by At The Races, it also came aboard Blue Whisper – one of just two Flat horses trained by Humphrey’s mother, Sarah, at her West Wratting base.
“It was made even more special by the fact my mum trains the horse,” said the 19-year-old.
“She only has two Flat horses and they only run once in a blue moon, so the chances of my first winner coming on one of my mum’s horses - on the Flat - were really small.
“He’d run a nice second to Regal Eagle (a week earlier) and had shown at home how much he’d improved for that. We knew he was ready to run a big race, although the draw was tricky.
“We were in (stall) 13 at Wolverhampton which is never easy, but he came through nicely.
“There was a massive sigh of relief because although I’d only had nine rides, you start to think is this ever going to happen
“Getting the win has allowed me to settle down a bit and now I can focus on getting win number two.”
While the winner of the monthly prize is yet to be announced, Humphrey was pleased to have simply featured alongside some of the sport’s biggest names – even if he did not initially believe it.
The former Linton Village College pupil said: “I didn’t realise I’d been nominated. I got a text from a friend saying congratulations and they’d voted me, but I had no idea what they were talking about.
“It’s one of those where you initially wonder if it’s a wind-up, but after seeing it was official it was a great feeling.
“When you look at some of the names among the nominations – Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle – it’s a real achievement.”
While his first victory may have been a family occasion, the teenager has spent the last few months at Gainsborough Stables on Hamilton Road, working for Simon and Ed Crisford. He could have gone down the National Hunt route, but for now at least, believes his future lies on the Flat.
“My mum mainly has jumpers and come the summer there was not much to ride out,” added Humphrey.
“I’m light enough to be a Flat jockey and I just felt that was the right way to go.
“Aidan Coleman (Grade 1-winning jockey) was riding for my mum one day and he encouraged me to go down that route – you’re always going to listen to someone like that.
“I started riding out for the Crisfords around June time and Mr Crisford offered me the chance to take out my apprentice licence with him.
“I could never turn an offer like that down and they’ve been extremely kind to me.
“They help me out an incredible amount, are always passing on advice and I’m very humbled by that.
“I just want to get as many rides as possible. That will help me to build up my strength and also my tactical experience.
“Hopefully there will be some good rides come along and when they do I’ll be ready to deliver and impress.”