A ‘PLAYBOY’ jockey has given up his ‘party animal’ lifestyle – so he can ride winners on the track instead.
Tom Bellamy, now 27, looked destined for the top when he landed a Cheltenham winner on Splash of Ginge in November 2017.
The jockey gave up the ‘playboy’ lifestyle so he could ride winners insteadCredit: PA
Bellamy said he used to be a ‘party animal’ but has since matured into a fine young jockey chasing the biggest prizesCredit: PA:Press Association
But a few lean years followed as, by his own admission, he was still ‘young and immature’.
A low of 12 winners in the 2018-19 season showed him he needed to change – or give up the game for good.
Fortunately for Bellamy, top trainers Emma Lavelle and Alan King saw something in the jockey, who has found the love for racing again after ditching the George Best lifestyle.
Bellamy told Sky Sports Racing: “I’ll be honest, in my younger days I probably didn’t take it seriously enough.
“I rode a Cheltenham winner at the November meeting early on in my career and probably didn’t appreciate it enough, and didn’t use it as a springboard like I should have.
“I was a bit of a party animal, a bit of a playboy, just young and immature.
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“I thought it was just going to come easy.
“It probably all happened a bit quick and then I didn’t know why it had slowed down.
“I’ve grown up as time has gone on. I’ve always wanted it but I’ve realised, with time, that you have to go out there and work hard for it.”
Bellamy can reach new heights and land his first Grade 1 success on fan favourite Paisley Park at Ascot on Saturday.
He will jump into the saddle vacated temporarily by Aidan Coleman, who is suspended.
The Andrew Gemmell-owned horse, nine, has finished third, pulled up, third and third in his past four runs.
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And his last victory was in this very race – the Howden Long Walk Hurdle – last year.
Nicky Henderson’s Buzz is currently 7-4 favourite to scoop the £60,000 first-place prize.
But Bellamy is confident he can use his own resurgence to inspire Paisley Park.
He added: “I’m on cloud nine at the minute, it’s a massive opportunity to get.
“The headgear and riding him more forward last time didn’t really work.
“He hit his flat spot at a later stage and then didn’t have time to get going again.
“You’re never going to get rid of his flat spots, it just needs to happen at the right time.”
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