Weight issues force Featherstone to end riding career
Conditional jockey Will Featherstone, who has not ridden since November 8, is set to quit riding following an uphill battle with the scales.
The broad-shouldered Featherstone, whose mother Lucinda used to train under rules, rode his first winner on the Flat at Wolverhampton when El Bravo struck in May 2013 and a further 26 have followed over jumps following spells with Warren Greatrex, Alan King and Jamie Snowden, whom the 23-year-old is still riding out for.
Successful on The Game Is A Foot on his penultimate ride at Plumpton last month, Featherstone reflected on his decision on Monday, saying: "It's a lack of rides because of weight and you're always struggling a bit.
"Because you can't take the lighter rides the quantity isn't there and it's riding fees and winners that provide your living. If you haven't got them you can't get by.
"If you look at someone like Noel Fehily, he doesn't really do lighter than 10st 7lb very often, and because he's not struggling he can say 'that's me'. But if you're struggling you have to take every ride you can get and if someone wants you to do 10st 4lb you're going to go and do it. Then because you've done that bit lighter, next time you're struggling to do it again because you've punished yourself.
"I could turn back amateur but I'd have the same problem again. You're not really going to make any money riding, so there doesn't seem much point."
Featherstone's highlights include winning in the famous green, yellow and white silks of leading owner Trevor Hemmings on Kerrow in a handicap hurdle at Aintree last year, when he also rode a memorable double at Fakenham.
"Kerrow was significant, but so is riding a double as a 7lb claimer," he added. "Neither of them were easy rides and I did 9st 13lb on Vent Nivernais. That was quite a struggle and shows what you put yourself through; after a while it's not really sustainable."
Featherstone is due to seek the advice of Lisa Delany, general manager of Jockeys Education & Training Scheme (Jets), for help with his post-racing career, although that is something he hopes to combine with riding out.
"We're looking at doing an electrician or plumbing course, something along those lines to get a good trade behind you.
"I'm at Jamie Snowden's in the morning and then with Colin Tinkler, who has a few to break in, in the afternoon. With Lisa we'll look to do a fast-track course I can hopefully do in the evenings or at weekends.
"Mum's quite small and Dad's quite a big bloke and I've always taken after him, so we always knew it was going to happen at some stage and it was a case of getting as much out of racing while I could. It's happened now and I haven't done too badly – I don't regret anything."
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