Twitter casualty Gethings enjoying change in fortunes after Chepstow strike
He may have started the year making headlines for reasons he wouldn’t have wanted, but Ciaran Gethings is certainly ending 2017 on a high.
The young conditional, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Friday, has already equalled his best tally of 19 winners for a season, and rode a big-race winner last Saturday aboard Wild West Wind for his boss Tom George in the Welsh Grand National Trial at Chepstow.
Gethings' fortunes have certainly taken a significant turn for the better after he found himself subject to a torrent of abuse on Twitter and social media following his unseating from 25-1 shot Deckers Delight in a staying handicap hurdle at Hereford in January.
That abuse prompted his partner Kate Tracey to pen a Racing Post article explaining the mental pressures which jockeys are put under when their ability and integrity are challenged by online trolls in a sometimes offensive and libellous manner.
Gethings recalled: “The abuse was horrible at the time, but I’ve moved on from that and couldn’t be happier with how things are going now for me and my career.
“I left Philip Hobbs in the summer after six years there. I had a very good time. It was a great starting point and grounding.
“However, my claim was down to 3lb and I thought it best to spread my wings a bit. I rode a winner at Perth for Tom and things just went from there. He holds my licence and things are going great.”
Gethings has done so well that he is already on 19 winners for the season, and currently sits in third place in the Stobart conditional jockeys' championship behind James Bowen and Mitch Bastyan, who have partnered 24 and 23 winners respectively.
“It’s nice to be in that position,” admitted Gethings. “James and Mitch have got an advantage over me in terms of their claims, but it’s good to give the title a go.
“I’m riding a better calibre of horse now, and that gives you confidence. I was jocked up to ride Rocklander, who is a good horse, in a valuable novice chase at Kelso on Sunday before it was abandoned.
“I'm happy and enjoying it a lot more than I was at the start of the year.”
It’s not only George who has helped put Gethings in a position to challenge for the conditionals’ title.
Stuart Edmunds has also recognised the rider’s ability, and Gethings has built up a great rapport with the now 136-rated hurdler Maria’s Benefit, on whom he has won four races this year, including a Class 2 mares’ handicap at Ludlow last Wednesday, and the exciting 140-rated hurdler Theclockisticking, impressive winner of his last two starts at Huntingdon and Fakenham.
“Stuart has been great to me and Maria’s Benefit is an absolute star,” said Gethings.
“It was a great feeling to ride a big-race winner last Saturday at Chepstow for Tom, and the aim now is now ride my claim out by the end of the season. I’ve another nine left – to achieve that would be really nice.”
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