Rising star Sam Clipperton says he is prepared to do “whatever it takes” to maintain the momentum gained in a stand-out rookie campaign as he readies himself for less support from high-profile trainer John Moore.
Clipperton’s first year return of 40 wins was an impressive tally, but 40 per cent of those wins came from Moore, a number likely to decrease after the arrival of Tommy Berry as retained rider for the big-money stable.
“Tommy’s arrival will affect me at first, for sure, and I might be quiet for the first two or three months of the season,” Clipperton said, anticipating that after the period of adjustment at the start of his sophomore season, things should pick up as the new year rolls around.
“I might start slow but from December onwards I can see things picking up. I’ve been working very hard at spreading myself around different trainers and I had already been getting results for different trainers at the end of last season.
“Sure, there were 16 winners for John but the rest were for different trainers and I rode for even more trainers as the season went on. David Hall, David Ferraris, Chris So (Wai-yin) and John Size all gave me good rides, and my last winner of the season was for Francis Lui (Kin-wai). Even though John was my dominant supporter last season, I was really focused on spreading myself around and since I have been back I’ve been hard at work.”
Not that Clipperton has turned his back on the Moore yard, the young gun knowing that being in the rotation of jockeys can still be a fruitful position when the trainer has multiple runners in the big races.
“And that’s why I haven’t stopped riding work for John, I will still ride two or three for him per morning, which might mean getting up an hour earlier but if that’s what it takes, that’s what I’ll do – I’m willing to do whatever it takes,” Clipperton said.
“John has been a great supporter of mine, I believe that will continue when he gets some more horses in work, but for the time being I am just trying to spread out among more trainers.”
Clipperton seems to be also steeling himself to avoid a second season syndrome of sorts, fearing he won’t be afforded some of the opportunities often given to fresh faces.
“I guess I had bit of freshman-year hype, but this season might be a bit different. This year I have settled in, and people might see me as just another one of the jockeys now so I am going to have to work harder to try to make myself stand out and make sure I am appealing to owners and trainers.”
Something that won’t take Clipperton by surprise this time around are the weight struggles that often hit jockeys when the temperature drops during winter.
“It got tough through the winter and I think I will be more prepared for that, in terms of not trying to ride so light during the colder months. In summer I can get down to 117 pounds, but in winter, rather than busting myself on race morning to get to 117, I will set myself 119 or 120 pounds, when it gets warmer I can come back down.”