Jockey Jan

Jan's Story

Young Forfar Jockey Who Lived The Dream
By Alan Ducat

A FORFAR farming couple have paid a moving tribute to their daughter who, for two years, ‘lived the dream’, rubbing shoulders with many of the top stars in the sport of kings.

Nineteen-year-old Jan Wilson was one of two apprentice jockeys who lost their lives in a fire at a block of flats in Norton, close to Malton in North Yorkshire, on 5th September 2009.

Re-running DVDs of her racing successes, glossing over countless photographs snapped at racecourses all over the country and browsing through a scrapbook of Jan’s racing highs and lows, parents Drew and Margaret Wilson, of Greenhead Farm, Rescobie, by Forfar, described how their daughter had set her heart on becoming a jockey from an early age, and how her determination to succeed drove her forward.

“She was a bubbly person and mixed with everybody,” explained Margaret. “She was also very determined and totally fearless in the saddle.

“Jan set her heart on becoming a jockey from an early age - and wouldn’t let anybody put her off that goal.

“We had suggested she got herself a proper job and that we would buy her a horse so that she could continue her show jumping, cross-country and other equestrian events.

“She made the best Yorkshire pudding I have ever seen - and we thought we could steer her into catering or something a little more secure in sport.

“But nothing could stop her from following her dream - and, although I was a little apprehensive at first, she went on to prove me wrong, and I loved every minute of it!”

Brought up on the family farm, Jan was educated at Chapelpark Primary School and Forfar Academy, playing a leading role in community life before moving south to pursue her dream career as a jockey.

At school, she was a real sporty person, taking a keen interest in athletics, particularly cross-country events.
Indeed, Margaret recalls the day, at an Angus primary schools’ cross-country event in Arbroath, when she finished second to Eilish McColgan, the daughter of former top athlete Liz McColgan.

“Jan enjoyed her athletics and was particularly keen on cross-country, so we got her to join Arbroath Athletics Club.”
But Jan’s real heart lay in the equine field, her interest spawned when, one Christmas, at the age of nine, she was given a gift of a Shetland pony.

“It was a big strong pony and a bit too strong for Jan, but then her grandfather, Angus, got her a Welshie, which she affectionately called Toffee.

“It was a ‘thrawn’ beast but Jan managed to break it in.
“She showed a knack for horsemanship from an early age, and soon grew in confidence, moving from jumping make-shift obstacles in a farm field to taking part in pony club events.”

Jan enjoyed a spell helping out at Brechin Equestrian Centre and received some lessons in return. She spent two weeks at Conchie’s Riding School at Barry for her school workers experience.

Prior to moving south to pursue her career as a jockey in the spring of 2007, she also enjoyed a number of other interests, including Highland dancing at Friockheim, membership of Forfar Young Farmers, golf and curling.

Indeed, while she spent a season as a member of Aberlemno Curling Club, there were three members of the Wilson family competing on the ice - Jan, father Drew and grandfather Angus.

Jan also found time to help out at Angus Riding for Disabled, while, also in 2007, she represented Scotland Young Farmers at the 4H-Camp in Finland.

Throughout her later secondary schooling, the focus remained on becoming a jo


ckey, so much so, that her parents managed to get her enrolled in the British Racing School, at Newmarket, on a course she passed with flying colours.

“At the end of the nine weeks that meant a guaranteed job in the industry,” added Mrs Wilson. “Jan expressed a wish to join the stables of Ferdy Murphy in Leyburn, and that’s where she went in October 2007, as a stable lass and involved in riding out work, which included schooling over hurdles and jumps.”
Drew went down to bring Jan home for Christmas and said it was a proud moment when he drove into the yard to find Jan aboard Kalahari King, one of the stable stars, and also in the company of a number of top jockeys, including Graham Lee.
In April of the next year, Jan joined the stable of Ferdy’s son, Paul, described as a good move by mother Margaret.

“Paul had a great influence on Jan’s career. He was like a brother to her and mentored her as she continued her progress.

“He explained that Jan had a great pair of hands and was able to settle horses quite easily.”
Jan’s career moved forward in the spring of 2008 when a trip to Doncaster sales saw Margaret become the owner of a horse called Bed Fellow.


“We wanted to help Jan on her way, so we went to the sales on April Fool’s Day and bought Bed Fellow.”
Her first race under rules was an eventful one, when she travelled all the way to Goodwood to partner Bed Fellow.
Jan had prepared the horse for the race that day - and it looked striking, being awarded the prize for the best turned out in the race.

Alas, the horse twice reared up in the stalls, and, as a result, Jan suffered a broken nose. But that didn’t put her off, for, although well down the field, she finished the race, flashing past the post despite struggling to see through her blood-splattered goggles.

The experience didn’t put her off, and she went on to twice finish fourth on Bed Fellow, also finishing runner-up in a charity race at Newcastle - on Goodnight Dick for Paul Murphy.


Late last year, Jan considered going to America to further her flat career, but Dean Heslop, a promising apprentice, managed to fix her up with an interview at David Barron’s Maunby stables near Thirsk.

It was in December last year that she settled into her new environment at Maunby, and, in the early part of the year she picked up two mounts for the stable in all-weather races at Southwell. She was very grateful to the owners of The Canny Dove for giving her the opportunity to ride.

But it was when Margaret decided to sell Bed Fellow to Ian Simpson, of Knowehead of Duntrune, by Dundee - a great supporter of Jan - and purchase a horse called Imperial Sword, that the young jockey’s career really took off.

Three times she rode ‘Swordie’ to victory - at Ripon, Haydock and Ayr.

Indeed, when she came from last to first and pulled clear of the field in the last 50 yards at Haydock, the commentator was heard to say “Jamie Spencer would have been proud of that finish! Spenceress.”

Her last win was at Ayr in August a very proud moment for both of us as she drove her Swordy past the finishing line
Jan was last in action at Newcastle on Monday prior to the blaze that was to claim her life, finishing down the field.

She was due to have ridden Imperial Sword again in the 5.45 pm race at Thirsk on the day she was killed - but the horse was withdrawn in the wake of the tragedy.

And, her untimely death probably robbed Jan of yet another high - for Imperial Sword’s possible future engagements included the Ayr Gold Cup, the top race at the premier flat


 racing meeting on the calendar at the west coast track.

Jan was last back home on the 17th July for the annual Kirre Show - where she was to stage an exhibition of her life as a jockey, until the weather resulted in the event’s cancellation.

In a poignant gesture, following the devastating loss of their 19-year-old daughter in such tragic circumstances, Imperial Sword, the horse on which Jan enjoyed a hat-trick of successes - at Ripon, Haydock and Ayr - has been gifted by parents Drew and Margaret to the British Racing School.

Jan’s outgoing personality, friendly manner, her ambition and competitive spirit will be missed by her family members and many friends.

She did indeed live the dream, if not for long.

“We were living her dream as well,” concluded Margaret. “And, her passing will leave a big hole in our lives. Our thoughts are also with the family of Jamie Kyne, the other young jockey who lost his life.”


Pickard chosen for first Kyne Wilson Scholarship
Sally and PaulPAUL PICKARD has been chosen as the first beneficiary of the new scholarship created by Beverley racecourse in memory of Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson, who died in the Malton fire in September. Paul Pickard: "it is a great honour" Pickard, 22, who is based with trainer Paul Midgeley, will receive a package in 2010 worth in the region of £4,000 aimed at assisting with fitness, improving confidence, raising his profile in the sport, and helping source on-going sponsorship.From January he will be sponsored by Beverley, and wear its branded logos on his riding gear, while the track is also organising a new website for him. Pickard, who finished fifth in this year's apprentice jockeys' championship with 30 winners, said: "It is a great honour to be the first recipient of the Kyne Wilson Scholarship. "Jamie was a great friend, and I rode against Jan several times, and both are sadly missed in the weighing room. I intend to do the pair of them proud and am looking forward to my association with Beverley racecourse."
Beverley Racecourse establishes Kyne Wilson Scholarship
Jamie and JanA YORKSHIRE-based apprentice rider will be the beneficiary of a new scholarship set up to remember the two jockeys who tragically died in the Malton flats fire.

Beverley Racecourse has established the Kyne Wilson Scholarship, which will give the chosen rider a £4,000 boost for the whole of the 2010 season.

The package will help the jockey with fitness, correct riding attire, raising their profile within the sport, improving confidence and helping to source on-course sponsorship.

Beverley launched the scheme as a memorial to talented apprentices Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson, who lost their lives in a Jamie and Janfire in Buckrose Court on September 5.

The scholarship has the blessing of both Jamie and Jan’s parents and the jockey who benefits will be helped in a number of ways.

Personal fitness trainer Sarah O’Meara, wife of former jump jockey David O’Meara, understands the lifestyle of a jockey and how to maximise fitness levels, Malton’s White Rose Saddlery will provide the equipment and Beverley Racecourse will sponsor each jockey for one year – with racecourse branding being displayed on riding and other equipment.

There will also be access to a sports psychologist, while the racecourse will use their expertise to enable the jockey to find on-going sponsorship once the period of the scholarship ceases.

Sally Iggulden, Beverley Racecourse manager, said: “Staff at the racecourse, and regular racegoers to Beverley, were shocked and saddened by the tragic events that took Jan and Jamie back in September.

“We wanted to do something to celebrate their lives and it was felt that a scholarship which provided support and guidance to young jockeys would be a fitting tribute to them both.

“We are delighted that both families thought this was a good idea, and the scholarship would be a wonderful way of remembering two young riders who many believe would have gone on to make their mark in the sport of racing.

“Jamie was a regular rider at Beverley, achieving his first double here and, indeed, his last winner on Duchess Dora. Jan rode her first placed horse here, when partnering Bed Fellow to fourth place as an amateur rider in September 2008.” [Sally and Paul]

Sally Iggulden continued: “The selection of an apprentice jockey is already underway and it is hoped that the first recipient of the Kyne Wilson Scholarship will be announced in early December.

“The selection process hopes to identify a keen apprentice, who has already shown a level of dedication to the sport, to whom the advantages of the scheme will be readily used to help progress their career.

“We here at Beverley are very excited about the scholarship and hope that the initial winner of this award will see a huge benefit from the extra resources that will be available to them.”
Bright Young Star trophy to be presented in memory of jockeys Jan Wilson and Jamie Kyne
JanTHE memory of Jan and Jamie will be kept alive in a new award.

The Bright Young Star trophy will be presented to young people in the town and neighbouringMalton who have “drive and passion and who have excelled in their chosen field beyond their years”.

The parents of Jamie Kyne, one of the two jockeys, described the award as a “lovely gesture” and said it helped to keep the memory of their son alive.

The award is one of six which will be handed out at the first Pride Of Malton & Norton Awards, to be held next month. The Bright Young Star award is backed by the Racing Welfare organisation.
Jamie’s father, Gerry, said: “We are overwhelmed by what Malton and Norton wanted to do here. The awards are an inspiration to all. I thank everyone for their support”.

Jan’s mother, Margaret, said of the award: “It’s a nice thing for Malton to do as it recognises people’s achievements, especially that of the young.

Paul Lodge, of Racing Welfare, said: “The parents of Jamie and Jan, together with Racing Welfare, recognise the support that the people of Malton, Norton and surrounding areas have given to those affected by the tragedy”.
Apprentice title renamed in memory of fire victims 2009

Jan and Imperial SwordThis year’s apprentice jockey’s championship has been renamed in memory of Jan Wilson and Jamie Kyne the two young riders who died in a flat in Malton this month.

The title race will now be known as The Jan Wilson and Jamie Kyne Apprentice Championship 2009 after families of both promising apprentices, tragically killed in a blaze in a block of flats on September 5th, gave their blessing to the tribute.
Jan and Imperial Sword

Kevin Darley, chief executive of the Professional Jockey’s Association, said; “This is an excellent gesture by the sponsor. It is most appropriate that this season’s apprentice championship is renamed in memory of Jan and Jamie.”

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