James was an immensely popular member of the weighing room and remained so since his retirement from the saddle in February 2018, as has been so clearly demonstrated by the tributes from his friends and colleagues. He worked extremely hard and was passionate about and dedicated to his craft. It was testament to this dedication that, having switched to the professional ranks relatively late in his career, he was one of the very few ‘claiming professionals’ who was able to ride out his claim. He had an infectious personality with a sharp sense of humour and that is the James we will all remember.
Underneath this outgoing exterior James had issues that he bravely tried to address. He had the support of a loving family and was aware of and had engaged with the extensive support available to current and former professional riders. We are all deeply upset by the news of his death and he will be greatly missed by a significant number of people whose lives he touched. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and the IJF and PJA will offer them every support. We also ask that their privacy is respected at this incredibly difficult time.
Any jockey, current or former, who has been affected by this tragic news can obtain support through the PJA or the IJF. They or someone they know can either speak to the PJA or IJF or they can contact the PJA’s provider of counselling services, Sporting Chance, directly on 0778 000 8877 . The PJA funds any support or counselling received.
Anyone else within racing who has been effected can contact the Racing Welfare helpline on 0800 6300 443.