Jockey Alfie Warwick gets his first win just three years after discovering horse racing at a careers fair

Alfie Warwich with Orange Grove at Toby Coles' stables in Newmarket. Picture: Helen Drake.

Alfie Warwich with Orange Grove at Toby Coles' stables in Newmarket. Picture: Helen Drake. - Credit: Archant

Alfie Warwick won his first race as an apprentice jockey at Wolverhampton on Friday on a horse he will now accompany to America.

Alfie Warwick and Orange Grove, the horse he rode for his first win. Picture: Helen Drake

Alfie Warwick and Orange Grove, the horse he rode for his first win. Picture: Helen Drake - Credit: Archant

Warwick came home first on Orange Grove in his fourth outing for Toby Coles and the former Huntingdonshire Regional College student hopes to be back on the classy two-year-old on Saturday before they both jet off to the States and the horse’s new home.

Overjoyed with his first win, the 19-year-old said: “It was brilliant – I gave the fist pump and all that as I went across the line.”

It was while he was a student at HRC that Warwick first had his head turned by racing. He was 16 and at a careers’ fair when he saw an advert for the British Racing School in Newmarket. He attended a taster day and enrolled on a nine-week course.

“After that they placed me in a job and I went down to Stan Moore’s in Lambourn for a year and a bit. I then moved up to Julia Fielden’s in Newmarket and was there for two years. I got my apprentice licence but there wasn’t much opportunity to ride so I found the job here at Toby’s.”

Warwick’s first race for the Newmarket-based trainer was on Dear Maurice at Wolverhampton on November 4. Then came three rides in three days, culminating in his first win on the impressive Orange Grove. Together they beat Fergus Sweeney and Capers Royal Star into second place.

“I raced on Wednesday on Dear Maurice at Lingfield, Thursday on Wulfthryth at Kempton and on Friday on Orange Grove.”

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Warwick’s family live in Wyboston and his brother Jack plays football for Huntingdon Town. His proud father, Paul, has been involved with many of the region’s football clubs.

Warwick’s progression within the sport has been quick. At 16 he was a late starter but he loves his job and has made huge strides. At 5ft 8in and 8st 3lb, he is even a little bigger than the average flat jockey. Last week The Hunts Post featured the 21-year-old swimmer Andy Weatheritt, who has to take on up to 5,000 calories a day – Warwick’s limit is 1,200. He eats little but healthily and there is no leeway for alcohol

It’s a dangerous life, too. “I’m lucky enough to still be bouncing off the ground rather than getting hurt,” said Warwick, adding: “It’s all part of the game.”

As is travelling. In January, Warwick will leave the UK for the US. Orange Grove has been sold to an owner in the States and the young jockey will accompany the horse to his new home to help bed him in.

And all because of a leaflet at a careers’ fair.