Mick Fitzgerald enjoyed winners as a jockey and, last Saturday at Newbury, experienced what it’s like to own the winning horse in a race at a prestigious meeting. Just a couple of hours after we had sat down for an exclusive on camera interview, the Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club celebrated a victory by Onefitzall. The crowd at Newbury cheered as the gelding, racing in the bright colours of the ever popular Fitzgerald, romped home to win the Bet365 Handicap Hurdle.
The joy on Mick’s face was captured by his friends and colleagues at Channel 4 racing.
Earlier that day I asked Mick if Onefitzall might be good enough to beat the favourite, the Dan Skelton trained Born Survivor. He told me he was capable of doing so if in the right frame of mind. He said his horse could be lazy but, if up for the battle, had every chance. So I had a tenner on course at odds of 9/2. Onefitzall was well backed by punters in the minutes before the race began.
‘Fitz’ celebrated the victory with his pal, the jockey Richard Johnson who worked hard to drive Onefitzall to a one length victory. Later that day Johnson would emulate the achievement of Fitzgerald and go on to win the Hennessy Gold Cup aboard Native River (my ante-post 11/1 tip to members of VG Tips).
I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Mick Fitzgerald about his racing days, about the fall that almost paralysed him, about the work undertaken by the Injured Jockeys Fund and about his career in television. Having worked for the BBC and Channel 4, next year Mick will be part of the team that launches ITV Racing on January 1st 2017.