Aston Rowant teenager Joe Hill was thrilled after his battle with the scales was rewarded with a winner on his first ride under National Hunt Rules aboard Ravethebrave at Fakenham.
The 17-year-old amateur jockey, who is 6ft 1in tall, sweated off the pounds and went on a diet of soup, toast, chicken, scrambled eggs and vegetables to weigh out at 11st 7lb for the ride on the gelding in the CGA Foxhunter Trial Hunters’ Chase.
And, having taken up the running on the nine-year-old, owned and trained by his father, Alan, from Flaming Gorge in between the last two fences, he was three lengths clear when that rival took a crashing fall at the last fence.
It left Hill’s mount, the 9-4 favourite, to coast home 32 lengths ahead of Or Bleu.
“I was so happy – that was the only real emotion,” said Hill. “I had done a lot of hard work to get down to do the weight .
“My mum (Lawney) and dad have been very good to me and never put any pressure on me to do the weight or to win.
“I probably put more pressure on myself because I wanted to do the best I could.
“I have been riding out in nine layers just to try and make myself have a good weight.”
Hill, who is on a business studies course at Henley College, was particularly grateful for the advice from one veteran jockey.
“A big thank-you to Andrew Thornton, who gave me a big help on the day in regards to telling me to go wide because the ground was tacky on the inside,” he added.
“I got lots of tweets. I was amazed because I had only won an average hunter chase round Fakenham, but a lot of people came up to me and congratulated me.”
Ravethebrave also gave Hill a winner on his first point-to-point ride at Black Forest Lodge, near Exeter, in Nov-ember 2011.
And he’s looking forward to renewing the partnership in the next few weeks, with the main aim this season a crack at Cheltenham’s hunter chase evening on May 1.