Darryll Holland set to continue globetrotting ways with Canadian move imminent
Globetrotting rider Darryll Holland is set to write the next chapter of his truly international career when travelling to Canada in the coming weeks to begin a season-long stint at Woodbine.
The versatile rider was among Britain's top jockeys for over a decade, riding more than a century of winners in six out of eight seasons around the turn of the century.
Having plied his trade most recently in South Korea, Mauritius, Japan and Gulfstream Park, the rider whose top subject in school was geography is now planning to add Canada to the list of countries in which he has visited the winner's enclosure.
The first European jockey to ride in Korea boasts an impressive CV, which includes around 30 Group 1 winners and has seen him enjoy significant successes aboard the likes of Falbrav, Double Trigger, Warrsan, The Tatling and Continent.
Holland, who turns 48 next month, had initially been set to make the move to Canada earlier this year but the impact of Covid-19 has seen the Woodbine season delayed.
On Wednesday, Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson said officials are optimistic for the resumption of live racing in June.
"I've got a work permit so I can fly out there but there's obviously been a delay to the start of the season, which was due to begin on April 18," said Holland.
"The announcements had said breezing could begin from May 1, then jockeys can do breezing on the track a few weeks later and hopefully open for racing in mid-June."
He added: "When I fly over I've got to self isolate in quarantine for 14 days and then I'll be allowed to be on the track."
The situation has yielded a positive outcome for Holland, though, with the opportunity afforded to spend more time with his newborn son.
"I've been keeping very fit and the newborn baby has kept me busy going for walks," he said. "I've been riding out every day and am as fit as I can be at this stage as any other jockey, albeit probably a bit sleep deprived."
The rider, who in 2008 bought Hugh Collingridge's historic Harraton Court yard in Exning, added: "I'm riding out at my own place at home as well as helping out my friend [and trainer] Shaun Keightley, I rode out there this morning.
"It's nice to be able to do it when the weather is nice – I hate the cold and rain! I haven't had to set the alarm to get up anyway, baby Rocco has been looking after that.
"The family will eventually come with me to Canada. They're not opening the borders to tourists yet so I can't give my partner a date when they can come out until the next six weeks or so.
"The world is much better connected now than when I first started – I sound old now, don't I? We didn't even have mobile phones when I first started this."
Holland, who set a post-war record when riding 85 winners as champion apprentice in 1991, remains hungry as he embarks on his travels again, believing the multi-cultural scenario has extended his career.
"The international element has given me greater longevity," he explained. "It's less wear and tear on your body."
He added: "For me, riding in America and Canada is straightforward. You get ponied to the start, somebody holding your horse in the gate and then they normally go flat out. It's very different and all you have to do is adapt."
Holland is hopeful there will be sufficient opportunities for him to break his Canadian duck this summer, with long-standing leading Woodbine rider Eurico Da Silva no longer in the weighing room, having retired last year to pursue a career as a life coach.
The Manchester native said: "I've got the same agent as Eurico had, Mike Luider. He is also responsible for Emma Jayne-Wilson too, who people in the UK will be familiar with from the Shergar Cup.
"There were 131 meetings scheduled from April 18 to December 14 and they're still promising to have 100. They can't go on any later in the year because after December 14 it's bound to be pretty cold out there, so they would stop."
He added: "They're going to congest the season a bit more and that suits me fine. I'm still going to have a good six months to ride out there. Bring it on."
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