One of Oliver’s hardest kept secrets was his invitation to ride round the Grand National course with AP McCoy before Christmas. Oliver got a phone call from Channel 4 Racing when on holiday, and not surprisingly he packed his bags and came home early (which apparently didn’t go down well with his holiday companion!)
He borrowed Crazy Diamond from friend Jessica McKie. “It was the first time I had ever sat on him but he is a very good horse and I knew he could jump — he’s won six times pointing but had never done anything like this before. I was probably more conscious that I was riding my friend’s pride and joy and I wanted to look after him. Afterwards I wished I had gone for it a bit more because he took to it so well,” Oliver told H&H.
“I loved every second and it was a surreal experience — I’m pleased I completed and got round in one piece. If the opportunity came to do it again, I would jump at the chance. It was my first experience riding on a racecourse and the adrenaline rush was incredible — there were a few times during the ride I thought ‘wow I am actually jumping over the Grand National fences!'”
Would he do it again – no prizes for guessing the answer to that one!
Photo © Nathan Horrocks