Apprentice jockey Olivia Haines wins race despite saddle coming off

Olivia Haines hangs on to the saddle to take the win at Chelmsford on horse Dalby Forest

Young British apprentice jockey, Olivia Haines, scored her second career win this week, in the most dramatic of fashions. The 21-year-old held on at Chelmsford city as the victory appeared to literally be slipping away from her. With the saddle coming loose from her horse, Dalby Forest, she managed to just cross the line in front before losing her grip, taking an impressive victory for trainer, David Simcock. As she was helped to her feet after the fall, her first question was about the result, showing just how determined she was.

In scenes reminiscent of the film National Velvet, Olivia showed incredible balance and strength as her saddle started to loosen during the five-furlong handicap. Making only her tenth race start, she showed experience beyond her years as the field turned for home.

Coming down the home strip, the saddle continued to slip with her feet still in the stirrups, meaning her left leg was eventually on the horse’s back, while her right was dangling down to one side. However, spotting a gap ahead, Olivia tightened her grip and urged on the four-year-old gelding, with one clear focus. Getting herself to the finish line.

Olivia, second from left (yellow and blue) had problems with the saddle slipping coming in from the last bend, yet managed to pass the finish line not only still on board, but to win the race.

As she crossed the line in spectacular style, Olivia had done enough to secure Dalby Forest’s debut win but was unable to hold on any longer, falling to the ground. Helped to her feet, her focus was still very much on the race, immediately asking her aides “did I win?”.


I knew when the saddle started to slip that it was inevitable that I was going to come off, but I was determined to make it to the line,” explained Olivia the next day. “I am lucky that Dalby was so genuine and that he managed to stay straight, he could easily have dropped a shoulder or ducked out. I half-bailed at the end once I knew we were over the line. When they took me to the medical centre, all I wanted to do was to watch the replay!”

commented Olivia.

Olivia Haines walking from the track following her fall after the finish line.
After winning the race, Olivia fell from the saddle and although she hit her head, she did not sustain injury.

Trainer David Simcock added: 

I’m very happy with Olivia and she did really well. She showed good balance, horsemanship and had a very willing partner.”

Olivia was unharmed from the fall, being discharged from the medical centre after routine checks and eager to return to the saddle as soon as possible.

Read more horse racing news here.

Related posts