Jockey Lilly Pinchin – who broke her back and is the daughter of a champion rally driver – is eyeing big-race glory | The Sun

THERE is one jockey all punters need to keep on side in a Pinch.

That’s the in-form Lilly Pinchin, who has been tearing it up this winter for her new boss Charlie Longsdon.

It helps that nice guy Longsdon is doing his best Midas impression at the moment – everything he touches turns to gold.

But you still have to get the job done in the saddle, and Pinchin, 23, is already enjoying her best ever campaign with four months of the season to go.

She was, quite literally, born to race, though her parents probably expected she’d do it on four wheels rather than four legs.

Her mum and dad are a pair of petrolheads who run their own Land Rover repair business and her old man, Darren, is a former champion rally driver.


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But they lived just up the road from Jonjo O’Neill’s Gloucestershire yard and it was the sight of racehorses, not cars, that got Pinchin’s heart pumping.

The adrenaline junkie gene clearly runs in the family and she had her first ride on a thoroughbred aged just 16 having cut her teeth on the pony racing circuit.

Her career had been one of gradual progress until a major back injury in 2021 slammed the brakes on.

And she has had to deal with vile abuse on social media in the past.

But she made a huge breakthrough this year with several winners on the biggest stage possible.

She could scarcely believe it when bagging a big-race double on back-to-back days live on ITV at Cheltenham at Newbury last weekend.

You could say she had to Pinch herself.

And now she is one of the most sought after 3lb claimers around.

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She said: “You couldn’t write how well things are going at the moment and last weekend was magic.

“Things were going well a couple of years ago when I had a nasty fall and broke my back in 2021 and couldn’t ride for six months.

“When I came back my old boss Graeme McPherson had teamed up with Fergal O’Brien and it just didn’t seem to work in my favour.

“I left and went to Richard Hobson’s who gave me some chances and some nice horses to ride.

“But at the start of this year Charlie offered me a job and I’ve gone from strength to strength.

“He has some amazing firepower and there are some lovely young horses in the yard like Rare Edition, Tea For Free and Hector Javilex.

“These horses are putting me on the big stage and getting me noticed. I’m very lucky.”


She is currently on 56 career winners, meaning she has 19 left until her claim is gone.

Her aim is to reach the magic number of 75 before the end of the season, while a crack at the big spring Festivals wouldn't go amiss.

But she is well aware that, in the cut-throat world of professional jockeys, things can get tough once your claim is gone.

Pinchin said: “I don’t really set myself too many goals, I like to take each day as it comes, but I would like to ride out my claim this year if I can.

“It’s important during this stage of my career to form as many good relationships with different yards as I can before my claim is gone.

“Charlie is a brilliant boss, he has let me spread my wings and I have ridden out for plenty of people this year.

“It would be great if I could get a few rides at the Festival, too, and we definitely have the quality of horse to take us there and on to big weekend success.”

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And she is hoping it will be another Super Saturday at Sandown Park.

She gets the leg up on the well-fancied Saint Xavier in the £100,000 Veteran’s Final for old ally Hobson.

Pinchin steered the 11-year-old to an easy win in the mud at Haydock in November – with the subsequent Welsh National hero The Two Amigos back in third.

She said:” I was riding out at Richard’s on Tuesday morning and Saint Xaiver is in great nick. 

“The form of his Haydock win is pretty sensational and he is very well in himself, he isn’t getting any younger but he doesn’t show it. 

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“He should love the conditions at Sandown and he looks to be going there with a massive chance.

“I hope I can keep the ITV Racing run going – it’s so important to have winners on these big days and it’s what you dream about when you’re starting out.”


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