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Colliver tells others to seek help with the stresses of the job

Joe Colliver: jockey who spent time in prison urges under-pressure young riders to seek help
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Joe Colliver has warned of the pressures racing can put on young riders as he spoke for the first time since his release from prison.

He urged others to learn from the error of his ways and to seek help before their problems become serious.

Colliver expressed his remorse about the 2015 incident in which he crashed his car, lied about it to police and then paid a friend to pretend he had been driving at the time.

Colliver, 25, admits he had turned to alcohol to cope with the pressures of the job.

“It could happen to anyone,” he says. “There’s a lot of pressure in racing. Even if you ride a winner, there’s the worry you might get taken off the horse the next time.

“You are always questioning yourself and the pressure gets to people in different ways. For some reason I turned to drink, I was drinking a lot, most nights. It got more and more.

“Being realistic I probably drove over the limit quite a few times, it was an accident waiting to happen and it’s lucky that when it did nobody else was hurt otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself.”

In a daze

Colliver, who has been with Micky Hammond in Middleham since he was 17 and is still with him as he bids to rebuild his career, urges jockeys to be aware of the support network that is in place.

“I didn’t realise how supportive people can be,” he adds. “Now I know family, friends, Racing Welfare and people in work are always there for you. I should probably have gone and spoken to someone and to wake me up because I was in a daze.

“That’s why I’m speaking out now, because anyone who gets into the same position I was should know there is someone out there who can help, even at the end of the phone.

“If someone feels they are going through the same sort of problems – pressure, anxiety, depression – there is someone there. Call Racing Welfare or even me. It’s better to do that than by learning the hard way, like me.”

Racing Welfare operate a 24-hour helpline on 0800 6300 443 to provide advice and support for those working in British racing


Read the full story of how Joe Colliver ended up in prison, plus how trainer Micky Hammond is sticking by him.

You are always questioning yourself and the pressure gets to people in different ways. For some reason I turned to drink, I was drinking a lot, most nights. It got more and more

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