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Sean Levey - the first black jockey to win a British Classic
Image credit: Martin Beddall for The Telegraph
I just grew up on horses quicker. I was always going to go down that route.
Sean Levey (King Power) made history in 2018 by becoming the first black jockey to win a British classic (a prestigious race for three year old horses).
After this feat, Levey, who was born in Swaziland, spoke candidly about his beginnings with Oliver Brown (The Telegraph):
'Levey vividly recalls the day he acquired his equine passion, having jumped off the school bus in Swaziland a stop early to begin riding at a friend’s stables. “I wanted to see what it was all about,” he says.
“Fortunately, my dad then started taking me there on Sundays – he knew everyone. I used to ask him, ‘If you know so much about riding, how come you have never taught me?’ He replied, ‘If there’s one thing I’ll never do, it’s teaching my own family how to do something. It never works.’ So, I learned myself, but he was always there for advice, and he pushed me forward as soon as he realised my interest was so strong.”
Other sporting avenues were swiftly ruled out. The young Sean tried football on the scorched earth of Ezulwini but loathed it, cutting his knees on the debris strewn across dirt pitches. Cricket he also hated, having no wish to be struck by “such a hard ball”.
Fleetingly, athletics beckoned, until Levey realised it was not a realm in which he could thrive. “Those black lads can run, like,” he laughs. “And I ain’t one of them.”
Ideally, Levey Snr would have liked his son to have tried his hand at boxing, so wrapped up was he in the Swazi amateur scene.
“Dad wanted me to do it a lot,” Sean acknowledges. “But my mum didn’t – and my dad listens to my mum. I just grew up on horses quicker. I was always going to go down that route.”'