Horse Racing: LAURA'S GYM AND TONIC! JOHN SMITH'S PEOPLE'S RACE, AINTREE, APRIL 14
Byline: Ann GRIPPER OFFICIAL PEOPLE'S RACE CORRESPONDENT
TONY McCOY'S advice to novice jockey Laura Monger was simple: "It's a lot easier than it looks - that's what they keep telling me anyway."
But Laura has been discovering for herself just how hard it is as she trains to become a jockey in the John Smith's People's Race at Aintree on Grand National Day.
As a licensing assistant at the Horseracing Regulatory Authority Laura was already familiar with what you needed to become a jockey on paper, but doing it for real has shown her a whole different side of things.
Laura said: "One of the best things for me was doing the fitness assessment at the start. All our first time jockeys have to do one.
"Seeing how fit we expect these 15 or 16-year-olds to be was quite an eye opener. I have huge amounts of respect for them - doing this training has really opened my eyes.
"McCoy has achieved a lot but the young lads like the conditional jockey Tom O'Brien who's just broken the record for conditional winners, they're still working on the yards full time in the employment of a racing stables. I have massive respect for them.
"What we've seen training for the People's Race is only a tiny bit of what goes into becoming a jockey."
Laura, 23, from Chinnor, Oxon, has been riding out for Banbury-based trainer Paul Webber as she competes for one of the 10 places in the pounds 100,000 charity race on April 14. …