Fiona Fox is an amateur jockey and an assistant trainer for Michael Dickinson that I recently met when she came into Parx Racing to ride in an amateur race not too long ago and here is her story so far:
FOTH: So where were you born and how long have you been riding in races?
FF: So I am Irish ☘️ I’ve only been riding racehorses really for 3 years and riding races since May 2019, I mostly did showjumping before then! I upped and left Ireland all by myself and moved to England.
FOTH: So what did you do in England?
FF: I worked in Herefordshire for a year as assistant head girl in a flat barn. I was racing at Newcastle one day where the Tapeta all weather surface is and that is where I met Mr. Michael Dickinson, he was there checking on his track. We hit it off and he offered me the opportunity to come to ride for him in America.
FOTH: Wow that is very cool I know who Michael Dickinson is.
FF: Yes, he is a hall of fame trainer so I feel lucky to be able to work with him and learn from him. After a year he gave me the position of assistant trainer after gradually taking on more and more responsibility in the year I was there.
FOTH: So how many races have you rode in so far?
FF: Altogether I have had 6 rides. 2 were NSA training races and 4 were Fegentri amateur races at Laurel and Parx.
FOTH: Do you hope to be a regular jockey one day and ride in non-amateur races?
FF: The only way I could turn professional is to go jumping because I wouldn’t make the weights 🤦🏻♀️😂 but I definitely would like to ride some jump races at some point. My long term goal is to train so riding races will only help with that.
FOTH: So doing something like, which is dangerous, doesn't scare you?
FF: It doesn’t. I know there are serious risks involved in horse racing but I’d rather put myself in that position than to miss out on something that I am so passionate about and makes me so happy.
FOTH: So what was your impression the first time you saw a live horse race?
FF: How fast they actually go; they look much slower on TV!
FOTH: So I met you when you were here at Parx Racing not too long ago. How was that experience?
FF: I met a lot of cool people that day, including you. It was fun meeting everybody there and every race is more experience under my belt.
FOTH: So when you were here in the US, how many races did you ride?
FF: I rode 6 races in total, two were NSA training flat races and 4 were Fegentri amateur races at Laurel and Parx.
FOTH: Were you nervous at all while you were here?
FF: I was nervous for my very first race and then again for my first race at a racetrack but as soon as I get in the saddle it all goes away! It’s easy to be nervous of something that it new to you and you feel like you need to do a good job to get more rides in the future.
FOTH: So do you feel you are a fast learner?
FF: I guess so, I get a lot of help from my trainer at home and get to do a lot of breezes so that helps me when it comes to racing.
FOTH: What is a typical day like for you?
FF: As I am both assistant trainer and exercise rider, I go to the office first thing in the morning to take care of any important office work that can’t wait. Then I would begin riding all of my sets. After riding, I am back in the office for however many hours needs be where I would do entries, nominations, publishing works, organizing vet work and communicating with owners and jockey’s agents etc etc. Some days this can change if we have got a runner. Then I would get to the office earlier so that I can leave for the races straight after riding to walk the turf track and saddle the runner.
FOTH: So what do you do with your little or free time you have?
FF: I really enjoy going to the gym/exercising so I will always be at the gym or out cycling/running with my friends! I get every Sunday off so I use that time to relax and reset for the week ahead, that’s if we aren’t racing on Sundays of course! 😂
FOTH: What do you enjoy more England, Ireland or the US?
FF: I can’t pick so I’ll say one good thing about each: obviously Ireland is my home so it’s great to be close to family and there are many great horsemen in Ireland.
I enjoyed working in racing in England as I got to get around the country to many different tracks and there is great passion for the game there.
I like the lifestyle in racing in America the most and the weather! It is a little more easy going that Ireland and England and the racing community is very friendly!
FOTH: Fiona it was nice meeting you a few weeks back and thumbs up for this interview any last words the floor is yours.
FF: It was a pleasure to meet you footboy and I hope you will see me in the winner’s enclosure in the near future! If I meet you again, I’ll let you kiss my feet! Stay safe and god bless 🙏