Who is the odd one out from Martin Lane, John Fahy and Adam Beschizza? All three jockeys are currently in a nail-biting battle to win this seasonâ€™s apprentice championship, yet one of them can boast of a remarkable achievement.
The last-named rider has become a puntersâ€™ favourite this year with his reliability when on board favourites and his strength against more experienced jockeys yet, remarkably, unlike the rest of his championship rivals, he is only in his first full season with a licence.
Born and bred in Newmarket, 18-year old Beschizza (pronounced â€˜biscuit-sirâ€™) has long been touted by those closest to him as a future star. After learning to ride on ponies, he graduated to bigger and faster animals when he was 13 years old and is now based with his aunt, Julia Feilden.
Ross Birkett managed to have a chat with him during a busy dayâ€™s racing at Lingfield Park:
RB: You have ridden 35 winners in your first season riding, could you ever have imagined things to go so well?
AB: Obviously, Iâ€™d hoped to get a few winners and start picking up rides from outside trainers but itâ€™s amazed me how far Iâ€™ve come in my first season. You know, I had my first winner in March and if youâ€™d said then that by the end of the year Iâ€™d have ridden nearly 40 winners and for people like the Queen, Iâ€™d have been shocked.
RB: What are your plans to take this progress further?
AB: Well, you know, the main target at the minute is to win the apprentice championship. Martin [Lane] will be hard to catch as heâ€™s five ahead of me [on 38 wins] and he rides for a big yard like David Simcock but he picked up a four day ban today [Tuesday], so I could catch him up if Iâ€™m lucky.
After this season, Iâ€™m hoping to go to Florida for a couple of months to ride track work. It will be good to get away from the all-weather racing for a bit and I will improve my riding a hell of a lot out there and come back fresh and ready for the new year.
RB: Who has been the biggest help to you this year?
AB: Obviously, Julia [Feilden] has got me started and been great in letting me ride for other people but all the trainers have played a part in getting me this far. My agent, Paul Clarke, has got me some good rides for big trainers like Michael Bell and Roger Charlton.
Some of the jockeys keep themselves to themselves but William Buick has always been there to give me advice. I respect him because he had success quite early in his career and now has a good job with John Gosden.
RB: You have already ridden at 28 different racecourses this year, do you have a favourite?
AB: I seem to ride a lot of winners at Bath [seven, with a 30% strike-rate] and I do like riding the track but you can have a good day there, get in the car to go home and realise you have three hours to go, which is a bit depressing. Obviously, Newmarket is nice to ride at because itâ€™s local and thereâ€™s top racing there.
I hate Southwell because the kick-back is so bad if youâ€™re in behind and the course at Epsom is a bit of a gaff-track. [Though Adam still managed to win the Apprentice Derby there].
RB: And any favourite horses?
AB: Obviously, I rode my first winner on Bavarica so she is a favourite of mine but I have also won lots on Poppanan [trained by Simon Dow and owned by Joe Cole] and Rough Rock [trained by Chris Dwyer].
RB: You have also ridden the geegeez.co.uk syndicate horse Khajaaly twice, what is your opinion of him?
AB: I used to ride him at Ed Dunlopâ€™s before I got a licence and, you know, Iâ€™ve always liked him. When Julia bought him, he had had a long season with Ed and since his break, he has been going a lot better. Actually, I galloped him this morning and he felt like a different horse. There was a lot more life in him than before.
RB: You have risen through the ranks very quickly but what has been the biggest challenge?
AB: Well, at first I was doing very light weights like 7st 13lbs and I found it hard but I was doing it because I needed to ride as much as possible and get my name in the paper. But, you know, as things picked up, I am now able to not take rides below 8st 2lbs which is a weight I can comfortably manage and be my strongest at.
RB: So what can we expect Adam Beschizza to be doing in years to come?
AB: Obviously, we will take each day as it comes but I think that when I get down to my 3lb claim [after 50 career wins], I will have to move to a bigger yard where Iâ€™ll get rides when I do lose my claim. Julia understands this and it is all part of the plan.
I would love to win a Classic like all jockeys and just to be riding winners regularly and making a living out of being a jockey is my dream.
[My thanks to Ross Birkett for conducting this interview and providing the report]