'Daggerman' Holder on the hunt again
JOCKEY Prince 'Daggerman' Holder was one of the most successful apprentices of the batch which graduated from the Jockeys' School in 2012, but his embrace of the dancehall impacted negatively on a promising career.
From a high of 34 winners and $17.2 million in stakes for seventh place in the jockeys' championship in 2013, Holder experienced a significant slump in 2014, riding only two winners from 130 mounts to finish 36th in the standings.
As the winners dried up, he could only muster four wins from 75 rides last year to finish 37th in the standings.
The slide was not only attributed to Holder's overindulgence in partying and having fun at the expense of his career, but it was felt by some trainers that he became brash, cocky and neglectful.
However, he did well enough during his three years of apprenticeship to receive a substantial sum of money from the Jamaica Racing Commission, compulsory saving from purses earned during the period.
"Things began to trend downwards from 2014 and people began noticing, some saying it was because of my attitude and lifestyle," said the jockey, who stands 3' 10", the shortest ever to ride at Caymanas Park.
"My last winner, in July 2015, was the outsider, NUH VEX, in the Grooms' Association Trophy over the straight. Before that, I won aboard ARGENTINA for trainer Peter McMaster, but in the latter part of the year, it became difficult to get live rides with the new apprentices coming into the system.
"Although I could ride as light as 48.0 kg, things were just not working out for me, so I decided to take a break from racing. I had some money to sustain me so I went back to the country, Accompong, St Elizabeth, to cool out and reflect on my career," recalled the 26-year-old jockey, a past student of Maggotty High.
"I returned to the saddle a month ago and, having curbed many of my old habits, I understand what is life and that career comes first.
"I still love dancing, I still like Kartel music, but there is a time and place for everything and I am working hard to make it work, for I am strong and have the proven ability to get back among the winners," he pointed out.
A graduate of the Jockeys' School, with batchmates Shamaree Muir, O'Brien White, Ruja Lahoe and Renaldo McNaughton, Holder made a sensational start to his career at the back end of 2012, riding his first winner, NO SMOKING, returning later in the afternoon to make it a double aboard the grey, SMOKIN MAN, over the straight.
Despite his size, Holder quickly made a name for himself aboard horses such as MONEY HONEY, EASTWOOD, SONGS OF FREEDOM, OCHUN, TO THE WORLD and I'M THANKFUL, culminating in 2013 when finishing second to Muir (39 wins) in the apprentice championship.
- O. C.