Jones boxes clever by rejoining former sparring partner Haggas
After donning boxing gloves to get fit, lightweight jockey Liam Jones is hoping a return to his old mentor William Haggas will relaunch his career on the first day of the Flat season at Doncaster on Saturday week.
Having finally shaken off the injury problems that plagued him last year, the 32-year-old says he his "fitter than ever" after being reunited with Haggas.
The trainer guided Jones through the early years off his apprenticeship and provided him with his biggest success to date on King's Apostle in the Group 2 Diadem Stakes at Ascot in 2008.
At that time, Jones regularly topped 60 winners a season but suffered a shortfall when he went freelance a couple of years ago, largely due to a broken collarbone he suffered at Leicester in October 2015.
Jones, who has ridden more than 550 winners to date, has been building up towards his comeback in the boxing ring, where he has managed to hone down to his lowest weight for many years.
He said: "I had to have much of the winter off as a plate I had fitted on my collarbone had moved and it was causing some pain when I was riding."
"I had it removed in an operation before Christmas and I'm down to 8st 3lb and fitter than I've ever been after attending Attleborough Boxing Gym where Jon Dennis and Rocky Dean have helped get me in shape."
As well as his boxing technique, Jones has been improving his riding skills since rejoining William Haggas who will have over 200 horses-in-training this year.
The jockey added: "I've taken it on the chin and gone back to my roots I suppose as it's hard freelancing and it's good to have a base like William's behind you. I had my collarbone sorted in December and I'm in there four days a week whilst I also spend a day each at Stan Moore's and Jamie Osborne. Hopefully the injuries are behind me now and I can get back to what I do best."
Haggas said: "When Liam left here a couple of years ago he'd been here a long time and wanted to try something different. It was a difficult time for him with injuries but he's always been a very hard worker and I'm pleased he's back. Hopefully, we'll be able to give him some opportunities."