The Steve Jobar Raceday

Bronze Entitled Freedom Pb110821 0004 Copy (2)

21st March 2024

Tomorrow we are off to Newbury races to attend the Steve Jobar MND Raceday. MND stands for Motor Neurone Disease, from which Steve is sadly suffering. He is an old friend and ex fellow jockey. The MND day includes a fund raising lunch attended by 450 people, and the bronze sculpture pictured here is to be auctioned, along with other valuable items, during the lunch. The bronze is entitled ‘Freedom’ and is a reflection of how I felt at the end of lockdown, which is when it was created. All profits will go to the charity, so hopefully mine and the other auctioned items will make loads of money. The painter Peter Curling has donated a picture of Steve on the horse Heighlin, on which he won the Triumph hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.

Steve and I go back a long way. When I was riding as first jockey for Stan Mellor, he was second jockey and we had many good times together, especially as we shared a house for some years.  He is incredibly good with his hands and could make almost anything. In lieu of rent he virtually single handidly built my first ever studio in the garden. And it is still standing after all these years. After retirement from the saddle he became a master saddler and took up gliding which became a lifelong passion. Steve also made me a sauna bath which stood me in good stead for many years. As one of the heavier jockeys I used to spend hours in the sauna and it never let me down. He also came to the rescue on more than one occasion. I remember that after a busy day riding at Cheltenham I I was struck down by an agonising pain in my kidneys. I was due to ride at an impossibly low weight in Sweden the following Saturday and had been using the sauna and reducing my weight rather too strenuously. At around 2 AM I awoke in agony. I knew I could not possibly drive to hospital. Steve was in the next room, but was slightly the worse for wear after a night out on the tiles, and I found it a real problem waking him up.  He did not see the funny side of me dragging him out of bed by his heels in the middle of the night to demand he drive me to hospital. As his head hit the floor with a thump he just looked up and said ‘What’s up Phil?’ But drive me to hospital he did and I was very grateful for it. Having got there a stone in my kidney was diagnosed and consequently I never made it to Sweden.

Steve and I have many happy memories and very much hope that tomorrow’s charity day will be the huge success it deserves to be.