Derby winning jockey Richard Kingscote talks about his interests outside of racing
It’s not what you’d expect to say when you visit a sportsman’s home following the greatest moment of his career, but Derby-winning jockey Richard Kingscote is one hell of a plumber.
Of course, there’s talk of the 35-year-old’s Epsom victory over Desert Crown in just his second Derby run – more of that later.
But Kingscote is equally proud as he gives me a guided tour of the two bathrooms he personally transformed earlier this year – plumbing the toilets, bath and showers, tiling and grouting and adding heating on the ground for good measure.
Richard Kingscote drove Desert Crown to Epsom Derby success last Saturday
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen devours you. The elegant en-suite shower room and bathroom would do justice to any episode of Changing Rooms and Kingscote has completed them alongside his day job at a fraction of the price it would have cost him and his wife Ashleigh, if they had called in the professionals.
Kingscote’s interests out of the saddle are not limited to how to handle a pipe bender and a tile cutter. He is equally at home flying around a motor racing track like Oulton, Snetterton and Andalucia in southern Spain at 150mph on the Yamaha 600cc track bike in his garage.
It’s different from the standard blueprint you tend to get about obsessing over tunnel vision with a sport, but Kingscote thinks his broader interests are diversions that make him a better jockey.
He also has a young Rottweiler called Pepper whom he trains, but acknowledging that he will not yet enter Crufts’ obedience class.
The jockey has interests outside of racing, including high-speed motorcycles like his Yamaha
“Top athletes are very focused. It’s not that I’m not. I like other things too,” says the jockey who also scored a hat-trick in Chester on Saturday.
“That’s why I like track days. When you ride a bike, you have to be focused. If you run or sit in the car to go to races, you always think about horse racing – where am I going next, who am I riding for.
“There’s no real quitting even if you have the day off. I like to ride a bike because you have to concentrate. It turns me off.
“I’ve always wanted a bike – all my siblings had one and my dad had one when we were very young. It wasn’t until I was 19 or 20 that I took my exam and got my license because at 16 I was really trying to be a jockey.
‘It’s not just the speed that’s the attraction of the bike. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t give a damn if I go a little too fast in a turn!
Desert Crown won the Epsom Derby after being the favorite
“You can always do better and I improved my riding. I can still improve and I want to race one day.
In the aftermath of Desert Crown’s win at Epsom Kingscote felt he could spend some of his winnings on a new bike and last week on his way to Nottingham he stopped and rode sits on a Ducati Panigale.
The irony is that his best day in the saddle means taking risks – Kingscote admits he was grateful for his Air-Bag motor racing leathers when he ‘lost the rear wheel and flipped it’ during of a bombing around the Snetterton race track – might need to be put on the back burner for a bit longer.
He has spent too long climbing the racing ladder to take risks with his partnership with Desert Crown, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who was named favorite for the most important flat race of the season after blowing away the peloton in York’s Dante Stakes.
Kingscote said: “I didn’t ride on Friday and was worried about what I was riding before the Derby just to stay safe. The 10 days leading up to the race, my agent and I were reasonably expected to ride horses I knew.
Owner Saeed Suhail (right) with the Princess Royal (left) and trainer Sir Michael Stoute (second left) after jockey Richard Kingscote (third left) guided Desert Crown to victory
“I had a track day with my bike booked for the week before the Derby. As it happened, I had the day off, but once Desert Crown won in York, I thought, ‘I can’t do it. So I didn’t.
“I believed in the horse – I was just worried and thought, ‘Don’t waste it yourself’. I didn’t think about it because I had to win. Anyway, I always put a little pressure on myself, so it’s nothing new.
And with the eyes of the sporting world on the Platinum Jubilee Derby, Kingscote, which has mounted more than 1,300 winners, delivered without nerves.
There is now talk of challenges for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Arc with a colt who has only raced three times and is set to race again next season before a stud career looms.
It was a first British Classic, a first Group 1 victory in this country and away from the beach near Weston-super-Mare where Kingscote gained some of his early driving experience giving young holidaymakers pony rides .
The winning colt Desert Crown took victory under Richard Kingscote at Epsom
He was also in stark contrast to being replaced by Kieren Fallon on St Leger runner-up Brown Panther in 2011, the colt trained by Tom Dascombe and owned by former England footballer Michael Owen.
“It was a kick in the teeth at the time, but I didn’t seem to take it as badly as people thought I should have,” Kingscote recalled.
“Tom was really upset when he told me so I knew it wasn’t his decision. It probably did me good in the long run because my agent and I bumped into each other. I rolled a lot of winners and I showed that I was capable.
Kingscote speaks fondly of Dascombe, who trained at the stables at Owen’s Cheshire until the end of last year.
He was retained by Dascombe until early 2021. Kingscote only gave up the role because with a young family – Ashleigh and her children William and Sebastian – based near Newbury, traveling and staying three nights away from home them most weeks had become untenable.
Richard Kingscote celebrated his Derby win with his family after a stunning win at Epsom
The offer to forge a stronger bond with Stoute’s Newmarket stable was perfectly timed and even though Kingscote is Ryan Moore’s understudy, the three-time champion’s commitments to Aidan O’Brien mean some pretty tasty crumbs like Desert Crown fall on the Kingscote table.
Another will be Lights On, the winner of Stoute’s bet365 Mile as Kingscote takes part in the Queen Anne Stakes, the first race at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
“I didn’t expect to ride a horse like Desert Crown,” he admits. “It’s good that my name is on this list of Derby winners. It’s not something I expected.
“No one is forced to use me and that’s Ryan’s job, so I have no expectations, but I imagine I’ll still ride Desert Crown.” I can’t wait to see what this horse can do. It’s exciting and I have a big old mortgage. Hope he can help with that!
The undefeated colt might have put off Kingscote’s ambition to race his bike by a few years.
Richard Kingscote is an ambassador for SBK