Star jockey Laura Pearson stuns racing by announcing she is taking a two-month break with view to the 'bigger picture'February 1, 2021
TOP jockey Laura Pearson has stunned racing by announcing she is taking a two-month break to focus on the 'bigger picture'.
Pearson is one of the country's most-in form riders and has dazzled punters with a series of stunning rides.
She leads the apprentice jockeys' title with 22 winners – six ahead of nearest challenger Darragh Keenan – and is already drawing comparisons with Hollie Doyle.
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Her rise has been all the more remarkable given it comes so soon after the tragic loss of her father to cancer.
But now a genius idea concocted with agent Steve Croft and Newmarket trainer Tom Clover means she will take a break from the sport at the peak of her powers and not return until the end of March.
The reason being is the weight allowance novice jockeys get – known as a 'claim'.
Pearson, 19, takes 5lb off a horse owing to the fact she has ridden only a certain amount of winners.
This puts her on a more level pegging with experienced jockeys she is competing against.
Jockeys lose their 'claim' altogether once they win 95 races.
Pearson is keeping her 5lb claim in tact so she will have an advantage when the more lucrative turf season starts.
Speaking to Sky Sports, she said: "We've had a good chat about it, myself and the governor [Clover] and my agent – and you've got to look at the bigger picture and save my five for those nice handicaps on the Turf.
"I'm going to be 'box-walking'… it won't be great for my mental health but in the long run, it's the right thing to do."
Sacrificing time out of the saddle could allow other up-and-comers such as Benoit De La Sayette to pip Pearson to become top apprentice.
But Pearson has not given it up completely – even though she will have to sit back while others rack up winners.
She said: "I'd love to go for that.
"There are some incredible apprentices around the place.
"Benoit has obviously shown how brilliant he is – and Saffie [Osborne] will be coming back from injury.
"It will be tight, but I hope I can get a good crack at it."
And commenting on her stratospheric rise as a whole, she said: "It's been absolutely incredible.
"I've just got to keep my feet on the ground and keep my head straight.
"The amount of different trainers who have given me the opportunity to ride for them [means] every day I'm coming out and riding more, and everybody's helping me."
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