12 Questions: Jess Stafford

Jess Stafford

First job in the Thoroughbred industry?

Working for Thurloe Thoroughbreds, assisting at the sales. My first job is still a current one!


Biggest influence on your career?

My dad–he's taught me everything I know whilst encouraging me to take my own route in the industry.

Clare Balding was a big inspiration growing up. I was obsessed with her presenting style from an early age.


Favourite racehorse of all time, and why?

Enable on the Flat–she danced every dance; she harnessed a global following, and she was trained impeccably by an absolute genius. Plus, her win over Crystal Ocean in the King George goes down as a race of a lifetime for me.

Hurricane Fly over jumps. I followed him throughout my university years while I was in Ireland. He was electric over a hurdle and watching him and Ruby Walsh at their best was spine tingling.


Who will be champion first-season sire in 2023?

I was a big fan of Soldier's Call as a racehorse, and I loved his progeny at the sales. Sadly, we didn't get to buy one, but I think they will be precocious and hardy like his sire who would run through a brick wall for Archie Watson, especially at two.


Greatest race in the world?

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Everyone worldwide wants to win it and normally the best horse in the world does–as this year proved.


If you could be someone else in the industry for a day, who would it be, and why?

Ryan Moore. To ride like him and see what he sees every day would be fascinating. He famously doesn't do many interviews so knowing what really goes on from his perspective would be a real treat.


Emerging talent in the industry (human)?

Billy Loughnane. Four wins in a week last week (early December) and rides beyond his years. Speaks very well too with a lot of enthusiasm which is a joy for me as a presenter.


Name a horse TDN should have made a Rising Star, and didn't?



Under-the-radar stallion?

Triple Threat, a young National Hunt sire based in France. He is a son of Monsun who has had a handful of runners in UK/Ireland but the ones we have seen have been good. Willie Mullins bought a 4-year-old of his for €120,000 at a recent Arqana Sale for Rich Ricci called Mister Policeman.


Friday night treat?

A pint of Guinness in a cosy pub.


Guilty pleasure outside racing?

Watching Gogglebox on catch up on a Sunday evening.


Race I wish I'd been there for…

Shishkin v Energumene in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot this year. It was jaw-dropping. I was working not too far away from Ascot and could feel the atmosphere from where I was watching on a small TV.

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