William Buick was one of the stars of this year’s Dubai Future Champions Festival, riding four winners across the two days. He tells Danielle Green about making it to the top, and his experience within Team Godolphin
Spectators who came to Newmarket for the second day of Dubai Future Champions Festival witnessed a masterclass in race-riding when they saw William Buick romp to victory in three events, including the Vision-sponsored Autumn Stakes and EBF Stallions Boadicea Fillies’ Stakes.
But while the Norwegian-born jockey, whose most notable achievements include winning the prestigious Dubai World Cup and the Dubai Sheema Classic, makes it look easy, focus, dedication and a gruelling training regime mean it is anything but.
He spoke to Vision directly after his third win at the Dubai Future Champions Festival about his life in racing.
Vision: Three wins in one day. You must be delighted?
William Buick: On a normal day it’s very good but on Dubai Future Champions Day it’s great. To have a winner in the Godolphin blue [Mistrusting, in the Vision EBF Stallions Boadicea Fillies’ Stakes] was also really important. Obviously Emotionless [which Buick rode in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes] lost, which was disappointing, but he’s still a very nice horse and he’ll be back next year when he’s fitter and stronger.
V: You are a role model for younger jockeys. What originally fired your passion for the sport?
WB: My father was a very successful jockey in Scandinavia. He’s from Scotland originally and served his apprenticeship here in Newmarket. My mother was also a show jumper. I was born into it. I always wanted to be a jockey. As a child I did show jumping and pony racing and when I left school I came to England to start my apprenticeship. From then on it’s been an upward curve. I’m fortunate that I have a lot of good people around me giving good advice – my family first and foremost, and obviously my trainers.
V: What advice would you give to budding young jockeys?
WB: It’s that age-old cliché of you’ve got to work hard. People are sometimes under the misconception that jockeys, for example me, just landed the dream Godolphin job. But there’s a lot more that goes into it. You have to work hard. You have to be very fit, very focused, know your job, know your horses, and know your people.
V: People don’t necessarily realise how tremendously fit jockeys need to be. Describe your training regime away from the racecourse
WB: I work out in the gym with a trainer four days a week before racing in the mornings – for example, high-intensity cardio exercises and stability work. Fitness is vitally important for a jockey. You can’t just get out of bed, get on the horse and expect to be fit. And at any level of the game it’s hard work.
V: What has been your career highlight so far?
WB: Winning the Dubai Sheema Classic for [trainer] John Gosden in 2010 because I had just started my association with him, and to get off to a flyer like that was huge. Then obviously joining Godolphin was amazing. Meeting His Highness Sheikh Mohammed in Dubai, shaking his hand, and him saying to me, “Welcome to the team and welcome to the family,” was a proud moment. And then, of course, going on to win the Dubai World Cup this March.