Apprentice Of The Week: Xola Jacobs

Apprentice Of The Week: Xola Jacobs

Do you have any family connections to racing? If yes please elaborate.
Yes, my father works for the Gavin Smith yard in Port Elizabeth and it has been more than 20 years now.

How did you get involved in becoming an apprentice?
I used to go with my father to work on the weekends and I met Jockey Charles Ndlovu he helped me with everything to join the Academy.

How long have you had aspirations to become a jockey?
I was very interested in racing since I was 13 years old.

Is there any special traits especially or requirements one needs for the profession?
Basically you need to be an animal lover and be very fit. You also need the will to keep going as it is an on and off sport.

How do you keep fit physically and mentally?
By going to the gym every chance I get and just always telling myself I can do this.

Who, if anyone, has inspired you in racing?
Charles Ndlovu because he is the one who helped me get in at the academy and I also like his riding style.

What are the qualities or attributes that an apprentice needs to have in order to be successful in this game?
Like I said in question 4, you just need to be an animal lover and your fitness level have to be high. You also need the will to keep going well.

What race do you aspire to win, both locally and nationally?
The Durban July riding. Riding in that race would be a dream.

Where is your favourite racetrack?
Turffontein Racecourse. That's where I got most of my winners.

What would you like to see changed in racing?
More owners. The amount of owners from when I joined have decreased a lot.

Give us an example of what you have learnt about racing riding (or work riding) specific to your technique or weakness that you have worked on successfully?
In race riding it's where you are on your own and you have to prove to your trainer that you are brave and willing to keep your rides.

Where do you see yourself in the future in this racing industry?
Now that racing is getting harder it's very hard to say, but I believe that I will be competing with the top jockeys.

What are you most proud of outside your riding career?
My soccer team is still checking up on on me and that's where I started as sports man.

What do you think of the SAJA and the work they do for you?
We have all the facilities that are needed to keep the apprentices fit for racing.

What advice would give a someone keen in getting involved in becoming an apprentice?
Hard working is very important and maintain your weight.

Give your top memory of being an apprentice thus far.
Riding my first winner on an apprentice day before Christmas.

What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?
No matter what ups and downs I come across I will face the reality.

What is your favourite meal?
Pork and mash potatoes.

If you didn't become a jockey what do you think you would have become?
Soccer player.  

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