I grew up around horses and I’ve been riding them all my life.

I started riding at the track when I was 13, shortly before applying to become an apprentice jockey.

Once you get approved then, you go and you do an interview and then the next year on, you get put into an intake. And then it goes from there.

You learn all the basic skills of how to ride a race and what is required if you’re to realise your dream of becoming a jockey in Australia.

When they think you’re ready you’re able to go and have your first race ride.

But I’ve been in love with racing ever since that first race of mine. Nowadays, I ride most of my track-work for my Dad.

The main trainer I ride for is Darren Weir.

I ride a lot of track-work round Victoria or wherever they end up taking the horses.

Darren is really the main trainer I ride for. Another trainer I ride for, too, is Envar Jusufovic.

He is a trainer down at Cranbourne; he’s only a small team, but he trains a lot of winners, so I feel as though we are two people who can really bounce off each other.

Unfortunately, the past two months have been rough since I was admitted into hospital with a mystery illness.

I thought I was just working too much. I remember it all came down on me during a race at Moonee Valley, when I remember vaguely injuring my back during a race.

I ended up giving up the rest of my rides for the rest of the day, went to hospital and it was probably a good thing.

Hurting my back had nothing to do with the illness, but it was probably a way of getting me to the hospital and getting blood tests done.

They worked out that I had Glandular Fever and another symptom that came along with it.

I was riding with glandular fever for about four-six weeks and towards the end of it, it was getting worse and worse.

I ended up having about three weeks off and two weeks where I stayed in bed and was resting up so I could be back for the early Spring.

It’s was a real momentum breaker, because as a jockey you need to maintain a certain weight and diet during competition season, and all of that pretty much went out the door for me.

Dieting is already hard enough as it is – when you’re riding every day and traveling a lot, it’s kind of hard to stick to a certain diet.

You can’t pig out too much on the bad food.

When you’re doing a lot of traveling, you find stuff and just snack on it in the car.

I try and keep my weight around 54 kilos. The minimum riding weight in Victoria is 54 up until Spring.

If you can keep riding around 54 kilos, for the Wednesday meets, Saturday meets in town, you tend to be able to keep getting a few more rides, and they give you a few more options each race because you know you can ride the minimum.

If you can’t ride the heavier weight, it’s a bit harder, unless you’re one of the bigger riders in town who gets best pick and most of the good horses.

Spring is a time when you want to be able to ride around 52 kilos just in case you have to be able to pick up a good ride in a big race where the weights are quite low.

You’re already kind of around the mark. You wouldn’t have to lose too much more weight.

For now, my main focus is getting back to winning a group one – I want to establish myself as one of the best emerging jockeys in Australia.

My main goal before I finish the apprenticeship, would just be to try and win a group one as an apprentice because not many have been able to do that.

Unfortunately several months ago I got suspended when I went to ride in New Zealand and the way the suspensions work over there I received an inflated ban compared to what I would have received in Australia.

I missed 19 meetings and it led to me missing out on winning my first group one on a horse called Hell Bent that won at Moonee Valley.

That was pretty flattening to watch it go around without being on him.

So, my main goal right now is to be a group one winning jockey as an apprentice.