CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Jockey Felix de Giles

PUBLISHED: 13:54 31 January 2010 | UPDATED: 08:57 21 February 2013

Promising conditional jockey Felix de Giles in action on 'Poppy Maroon'

Promising conditional jockey Felix de Giles in action on 'Poppy Maroon'

young jockey climbs ladder...and already has a Cheltenham winner under his belt

Felix de Giles is a very fortunate young man who has made the most of the opportunity afforded him. He has been given a great start to his career, being employed as conditional jockey at Nicky Henderson's powerful Seven Barrows stable in Lambourn. Henderson's team hit a purple patch at the end of 2008, with Felix, who celebrated his 20th birthday in February, playing his part in the success story.

At the time of writing Felix had ridden 23 winners this season, the majority of them for his boss, who will give him all the guidance he needs. He can also call upon the advice of the Henderson stable jockey Barry Geraghty, together with Marcus Foley and Andrew Tinkler, who also form an important part of the Seven Barrows team, and the now retired Mick Fitzgerald is still very involved with the yard.

His seasonal tally gives Felix a fighting chance of being in contention for the 2008-09 conditional jockeys' title, although he faces stiff competition from the likes of the holder, Brian Hughes, together with Aidan Coleman, Donal Fahy and David England.

Felix got 2009 off to a flying start by riding The Queen's home-bred Midsummer Magic to win a maiden hurdle at Fakenham on New Year's Day. After the race Felix explained, "She's a tough little horse and seems to be going the right way. She jumped nicely and has the right attitude for the job and will hopefully improve for the run." One newspaper pundit remarked that, "The horse was given a peach of a ride."

He was also successful aboard the Neil Mulholland-trained Maori Legend in a competitive handicap chase at Folkestone in mid-January.

Mr & Mrs Richard Kelvin Hughes's useful mare Hora provided him with three wins during 2008, including victories at Aintree and Ascot, and he was also successful three times with Henry Ponsonby's Scots Dragoon, who was bred by former top flat jockey Willie Carson. Dual winners include First Point, Mucho Loco and Colonial Jim.

He has a Cheltenham winner to his credit, scoring on Andytown in the Conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle at the high-profile Open meeting in November 2008.

Felix is a very neat and stylish rider and other trainers to have snapped up his services include Peter Haslem, Alison Thorpe, Johnny Manners and Don Cantillon.

He had a through grounding in the Pony Club, where he represented his branch on various horse trials and show jumping teams, and in the hunting field. He also honed his skills in pony racing, winning the inaugural final at Wincanton. In addition, like so many of the current crop of highly promising young jockeys, Felix is a product of the point-to-point field, riding 11 winners between the flags over three seasons. His first winner came at Lockinge in 2005 aboard Johnny Manners's Hi Rudolf, but he was sidelined for six weeks in 2006 after breaking his leg.

His first ride under National Hunt rules came as a 16-year-old at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening in May 2005, when he finished fourth on the family's Father Jim. It was the colourful Wiltshire trainer Johnny Manners who also provided him with his first winner under Rules, namely Hunting Lodge in a maiden hurdle at Huntingdon in June 2006. He partnered several more winners under National Hunt Rules before taking out his conditional licence on October 3, 2007.

His father, Jonathan, who trains a few horses at Stanton Fitzwarren, near Swindon, is full of praise for the part pony racing played in his progression. "Riding in pony races was a great help to Felix and enabled him to get his eye in," explains Jonathan. "Pony racing took the pressure off him when he had his first ride in a point-to-point. They gave him a great opportunity to put into practice what he had already been learning about race riding."

Horses have always been in his blood with Felix admitting, "I've been riding since I can remember, racing is what I've always wanted to do." His most admired jockey is multi-champion AP McCoy, who he declares is "Just the best!"

Many people have noticed the latent talent of Felix, and nothing would give him more pleasure than to really hit the headlines by riding a winner at this month's great Cheltenham National Hunt Festival.

* * * *

Diary Dates for this month

2, 9, 21: Stratford-on-Avon National Hunt Races. Tel: 01789 267949;

7: Duke of Beaufort's Hunt point-to-point (Didmarton). Tel: 07974 396766

8, 18: Warwick National Hunt Races. Tel: 01926 491553;

10-13: Cheltenham National Hunt Festival. Tel: 01242 513014;

21: VWH point-to-point (Siddington, near Cirencester). Tel: 01285 770167

28-29: Gatcombe one day event (near Minchinhampton). Tel: 01453 887730;

29: Ledbury point-to-point (Maisemore Park, near Gloucester). Tel: 07761 461611


More from People

Fri, 11:53

Helping clients through divorce, separation and disputes over children, we talk to 8 divorce lawyers in the Cotswolds

Read more
Fri, 11:52

We’ve some extraordinary, and inspiring, women in business in the Cotswolds. We talk to 7 female trailblazers in local industry who offer the business advice they’ve lived by

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

25 years in business is no mean feat – and the owner of Lauren’s Catering has lost none of his ambition

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Julian Dunkerton has moved his family’s cider-making business from Herefordshire to the outskirts of Cheltenham, where it boasts a state-of-the-art production unit and a stylish new shop. But don’t think the heart of the business has changed one whit: it still honours the core values Ivor and Susie Dunkerton held dear when they planted their first apple tree, nearly 40 years ago

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

If you want to spread some Christmas cheer to those in need, here are some fantastic charities in the Cotswolds to donate to

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Cotswolds’ very own Prince of Wales turns 70 this month, so we looked back on some of the highlights of his life and career, and wondered what birthday pressies we would buy for the man who has the world at his feet

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

When landowners are looking to sell their land, and want a transparent journey that delivers them best value, Rosconn Strategic Land is here to take them through the process.

Read more

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini has secured a payout from prosecutors over unfounded allegations of historical sex offences. The presenter, 69, was arrested in 2013 over a claim he sexually assaulted two teenage boys in the early 1980s. Mr Gambaccini always denied the claims, calling the case “completely fictitious”. He spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. Two years later he gave this interview to Katie Jarvis

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Barn Theatre’s artistic director, Iwan Lewis, talks to Candia McKormack about a rather special project aimed at bringing the Cotswold community together in commemoration of the Great War’s fallen

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The environmental charity set up to protect Stroud’s industrial heritage now enhances the lives of its own volunteers. Katie Jarvis meets chief executive Clare Mahdiyone to hear about her Cotswold Life

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Alex Caccia was in two minds about setting up Animal Dynamics as a limited company, but a shark attack warning changed all of that. Tanya Gledhill meets a man on a mission to change propulsion, one animal at a time

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

He quit his job with a few thousand pounds in savings and an empty garage. In less than a year, Nick Grey’s technology company Gtech was flying. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search