FeaturePostcard from Newmarket

Sticking to the turf: how many retrained jockeys are branching out into the gardening and landscaping business

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David MilnesNewmarket correspondent

If you want your garden landscaped or cleared around Newmarket, it's probably now a shade of odds-on that you’d get in someone with racing connections to do the job.

Many current and former stable staff have branched out in recent years to set up their own businesses outside the sport. Many of those green-fingered horsemen have Sir Michael Stoute connections such as former jockeys JD Smith, who still rides out at Freemason Lodge in the mornings – usually aboard recent Chester winner Passenger –and Mark Baird, who used to ride out for Stoute before quitting around 15 years ago.

Now operating under the banner of M Baird Digger Hire and Landscaping, Baird rode 57 winners as an apprentice between 1992 and 2001 but has not looked back since contacting Jets (Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme) to retrain and now runs a thriving business near Bury St Edmunds.

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