James Reveley planning to stay at the top of the charts

Fri 13 Jan 2017

James Reveley is hoping he is anything but a one-hit wonder after welcoming in the new year by being crowned champion jump jockey in France.

When the time comes to reflect on his career, plenty of both good and bad decisions will have been made by the 27-year-old, although none will be as significant as the one which saw him relocate to France, leading him to become the first British rider in the modern era to take the title.

With season statistics of 84 winners and a prize-money total in excess of three million euros, those impressive figures are made even more remarkable given the Saltburn rider has been on the sidelines since breaking multiple bones in his left foot in a fall in November.

Reveley said: "I am very proud of my achievement. It's been my target since the end of 2015, to have a real go for it in 2016.

"I didn't really expect to get it straight away. I'd been going over to France for a while and the year before I spent half the year there and racked up quite a good tally.

"A few people said that if I spend the best part of a full year in France that I could challenge for the title.

"I've had a lot of luck along the way and help from Guillaume Macaire, and David Cottin getting injured took a lot of the pressure off as it was working it's way up to be quite a good battle.

"I was a little bit worried at the time of the injury if I had enough winners, but it turned out I had more than enough. It is more of a relief that it is in the bag, but it's a great feeling."

In any title victory come vital turning points and while the mid-season injury sustained to his chief rival Cottin played a part in helping him achieve his goal, Reveley points to the victory of So French in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (French Gold Cup) as one of those defining moments.

He said: "The definite turning point for me was when I won the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris on So French in May.

"It was good to win the biggest race as I think people took more notice of me as winning the big race they wanted me on their side - success breeds success.

"In June and July when Guillaume Macaire saw I was in with a shout of winning it he said he would do his best to help me out and put me on few more, which was good as he can get them to win the top races and ones in the provinces."

While receiving plenty of messages of congratulations from his weighing-room colleagues back in England, there is no one more proud of his achievements than his father, the soon-to-retire trainer Keith Reveley.

"This time last year he told me he wanted to be French champion jockey and I told him he had no chance," said Reveley senior.

"I told him he was too heavy and I thought it would be impossible, but he's gone and proved me wrong again.

"It's an unbelievable achievement, really. He and David Cottin were having a ding-dong battle during the summer and then unfortunately David had a bad injury and broke some vertebrae in his back.

"I thought he had a good thing going riding for six months over here and felt it was a big risk for him to go and ride in France full-time, but it's worked out great and I'm delighted for him."

Although still out of action following a fall from Device, a horse he steered to five Graded-race victories last term, Reveley has made plenty of progress as he steps up his efforts to return to the saddle next month in time for the first meeting back at Auteuil.

He said: "I had two pins in the middle of my foot as it got caught by the horse and broke lots of bones in the middle of the foot.

"Everything went well in the operation earlier this week and the pins are out and the cast is off. It felt fine in the cast, it is now whether everything has gone according to plan.

"I leave for England this weekend and start my rehabilitation in Jack Berry House on Monday.Hopefully I will be back in time for the first meeting at Auteuil on February 28. That is the plan."

Reveley intends spending time back in his native north-east for the short term, but his primary focus is firmly on defending the title he grafted hard for in 2016.

He said: "I would just like to try and retain the title now so that people don't call me a one-hit wonder.

"David Cottin will be the man to beat again but hopefully Guillaume Macaire can push me on again.

"I am not ruling anything out as in the racing game things go one way or the other. I am happy here at the moment, but I may go back if I got a good opportunity."

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