Johnson and Coleman get behind mental health campaign In Your Corner
Brightening your day with turf tales from beyond the tracks
Champion jump jockey Richard Johnson and fellow leading rider Aidan Coleman are the latest sporting faces to join a major mental health campaign.
In Your Corner, launched by Time to Change at a time when one in four people are fighting a mental health problem, is calling on men to step in if they see a friend acting differently – to "be in their mate's corner". The campaign, which has also received backing from Clarke Carlisle, Frank Bruno, Justin Rose and Ricky Hatton, highlights that you don't need to be an expert to be there to support a friend with a mental health problem.
"I'm supporting In Your Corner because I know how important it is to be there for each other when things get tough," says Johnson.
"We're not a team sport but in some ways we are – in the weighing room we have other jockeys, and even the valets, who are there to notice if someone’s having a hard time. We might have a quiet word and say, 'I was feeling like that last week, I know how you’re feeling' and that can really help. Ups and downs are part of our job and everyone knows that."
Studies into elite athletes and mental health has shown depression can be connected to sport-related factors such as injuries, overtraining, stress and performance failure. Other research found that athletes competing in individual sports were more prone to depressive symptoms than those competing in team sports.
Coleman adds: "I'm backing the campaign because we all need to do our bit to change how people think about mental health. It's not about grand gestures, it's just about being there.
"In times gone by, men were always seen as having to be strong and macho and we didn't talk about feelings – as time goes on we're shaking off that persona and are being much more open, but we're not there yet and I hope that sportsmen supporting this campaign will help.
"As sportspeople we have to be mentally tough but we're all human and everyone is vulnerable to mental health problems."
Beverley promotes scorching action, not scorching skin
Beverley racecourse has joined forces with Yorkshire Cancer Research to raise awareness of the dangers of sun damage. The campaign, which will launch on Friday and run all season, will be targeted at both racegoers and staff.
Adrienne Hodgson, relationship officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, says: "Staying safe in the sun is incredibly important. One blistering sunburn can double the risk of getting skin cancer later in life, and UV rays can damage your skin even on cloudy days."
To protect racegoers, the course has installed suncream dispensers around the track, and will also be handing out free tubes of suncream to stable staff as part of its contribution to Racing Welfare's Racing Staff Week.
Also on offer will be charity wristbands, avail.able for £1, that change colour to indicate sun protection is required. These will also be given free to stable staff.
Beverley chief executive Sally Iggulden says: "We take our duty of care to stable staff and other employees very seriously, so it's important to us that this campaign applies equally to people working at the racecourse."
Omens are promising for young Price
Ryan Moore, Oisin Murphy, Adam Kirby, Kevin Manning . . . and Tristan Price. You may not have heard of him, but Tristan is the latest jockey to be sponsored by Al Basti Equiworld, whose portfolio is comprised of 12 leading British, Irish and French jockeys.
With two wins from 13 rides Tristan is certainly off to a promising start, and he says: "I'm thrilled to be sponsored by Al Basti Equiworld, who sponsor a lot of high-profile jockeys who I aspire to be like.
"To get support like this so early in my career is a huge boost and I hope I can ride as many winners as possible sporting the Al Basti Equiworld logo."
Al Basti Equiworld’s founder and chief executive Malih Al Basti says: "Although we usually sponsor well established jockeys, it is important to support emerging talent too as we did with Cam Hardie a few years ago. We are delighted to sponsor Tristan at the start of what should hopefully be a long and successful career."
Jack stepping out again for charity
There is no stopping the racing charity work of Jack Lander, the 11-year-old schoolboy who dreams of becoming a jump jockey.
Lander, with his pony currently on summer holiday, is preparing to walk the 161 miles from Newmarket to Jack Berry House in Malton this summer. After bucket collections at Bath, Windsor and finally Newmarket last Saturday, he already has nearly £1,500 raised for the Injured Jockeys Fund and Racing Welfare.
Lander is aiming much higher for the final total, as he revealed at Newmarket.
"I raised £13,700 two years ago," he said of his 52-mile walk from Stratford racecourse to the IJF’s other rehab centre, Oaksey House in Lambourn
"Jamie Osborne said I should aim to double that so I'm aiming to raise £25,000," added Lander, who tweeted he had raised £1,443 from his bucket collection.
His efforts after racing at Bath raised £380 and Windsor the previous Monday totalled another £460.
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