A former Premier League footballer is among the latest inductees at Doncaster’s Northern Racing College.
Jay Tabb, who made 450 career appearances and played for Reading in the top flight, has now turned his eclectic career towards horse racing.
The 35-year-old has played rugby union, worked as a builder and caddied on the European Ladies Tour since retiring from football in 2016.
Tabb co-owns Mister Miyagi with his best friend and former Coventry City teammate Ben Turner – and has now taken his love of horse racing to the next level by enrolling on a 12-week course in Doncaster.
"I wanted to learn how to ride a horse, how to look after one, mucking out - all of it,” Tabb told The Sun.
"You talk about hard jobs - the racing industry is up there. You're up first thing until all hours.
"Training horses is hard to get into, though, and I don't know enough about it. I think you need to be born and bred into that side of it. But I like the idea of working at a yard and seeing where it leads to.”
Tabb, who also played for Brentford and Ipswich Town, has lost over two stone since the turn of the year in preparation for Doncaster.
“The max weight limit is 11st in your riding hat, boots and body protector,” he said.
“I was just under 13st after Christmas but I’m now at 10st 8lbs thanks to the gym and intermittent fasting of only eating between midday and 8pm. The weight has dropped off but it’s been a real challenge, but it’s good to be strict on yourself.
“And I’d never ridden a horse before so to get a head start I booked some lessons and learned to ride on Wimbledon Common.
“I haven’t fallen off yet, but I will soon! It’s very dangerous, you only need to look at the falls that jockeys take.
“And there’s a big difference between riding a village stable horse and a thoroughbred race horse.
“It’s a slow process at the College but I won’t be happy until I’ve gone up a gallop with a racehorse and enjoyed it.”