Mitchell de­serves rich pickings as the rides come thick and fast

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Racing - Mar­cus Army­tage Racing Cor­re­spon­dent

There is something quite sat­is­fy­ing when some­one who has slogged away for years sud­denly starts re­ceiv­ing well-de­served suc­cess, and Jack Mitchell, it seems, has be­come something of an overnight sen­sa­tion and is now ev­ery­one’s favourite sec­ond jockey.

At Sal­is­bury, where he rode a four-timer re­cently, it was es­sen­tially the Jack Mitchell show. Last month was his busiest yet for rides, his 27 win­ners this sea­son put him in the top 10 and have come at a better strike rate even than Oisin Mur­phy, while the pro­gramme book, in its cur­rent Covid-19 edi­tion, means he gets to see much more of his wife and chil­dren.

Dur­ing Royal As­cot, Mitchell was cited (not by him­self, I might add) as an ex­am­ple of a jockey who was not go­ing to be done many favours by the re­stric­tion on jock­eys rid­ing at only one meeting a day. He could have had his one ride at As­cot and then gone for five at Wind­sor.

But the sys­tem, whereby the sta­ble No 1 jockey can­not do two meet­ings, is clearly play­ing in his favour and get­ting him on some better horses. At Sal­is­bury, he went to ride one in his role as sec­ond jockey for Roger Var­ian but also picked up win­ners for Tom Clover, Char­lie Hills and Richard Han­non.

On Satur­day, he had his first ride and win­ner for David O’Meara at York and, as long as the sys­tem re­mains, the days of rid­ing work, go­ing off to ride at two meet­ings and not see­ing the chil­dren for three days on the trot are over, to the ben­e­fit of ev­ery­one.

Mitchell is cer­tainly bred for the job. His fa­ther, Philip, was ama­teur cham­pion on the Flat five times and, I dare say, for any­one who ever had more than 100 rides, the best strike rate there has ever been (137 rides, 65 win­ners).

Jack was rid­ing the horses back from the gal­lops in Ep­som aged 10 and rid­ing work by the age of 12. His first big win­ner was in the Shet­land Pony Grand Na­tional at Olympia.

At school and then at club level he was a tal­ented and “gobby” scrum-half, which went well un­til the men he was play­ing against de­vel­oped beards and grew to the size of mid-range trucks while he weighed in at a boy­ish 7st 10lb wet through.

Af­ter following his fa­ther into the ama­teur jockey ranks, he served his ap­pren­tice­ship with Chris Wall.

He then went to the late Michael Jarvis, where Var­ian was as­sis­tant, and has been there pretty much ever since, ex­cept for seven months “fresh­en­ing up” in Lam­bourn af­ter a quiet spell and a run of in­juries in 2013.

Busier but less busy; it is work­ing for Mitchell.

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