Cheltenham jockeys Bridget Andrews and Harry Skelton are winners all the way to the altar
- Harry Skelton, 29, rides Ch’Tibello with Bridget Andrews on board Mohaayed
- Andrews crossed the line first aboard Mohaayed last year at Cheltenham
- Andrews had barely pulled up before Skelton planted a kiss on her cheek
The biggest moment in the lives of jockeys Bridget Andrews and Harry Skelton this year will not be on the racetrack but when they get married in August.
But a repeat on Friday afternoon of the scenes after last year’s County Hurdle would be pretty special.
Harry, 29, rides Ch’Tibello with 26-year-old Bridget on board Mohaayed, her winning partner 12 months ago when she had barely pulled up before Harry planted a kiss on her cheek.
Harry Skelton and girlfriend Bridget Andrews will go head to head in the County Hurdle
Bridget recalled: ‘I could hear this shouting and I thought what is going on behind me? You’d have thought Harry himself had won! I remember Harry giving me a big hug and saying take it all in. It was a massive moment and I hope I get another.’
As Harry’s chance had slipped away on eventual fifth Spiritofthegames, his focus had shifted to Bridget’s chances of winning.
He said: ‘My horse was going quite well. He just couldn’t quicken going to the last hurdle. Bridget jumped the last upsides and about to hit the front.
‘I was roaring for her the whole way up the straight. When I punched the air as I finished sixth, people probably thought “What the hell is he doing?” But it was a day I will never forget. I am just as happy when she wins as I would be myself.’
Living as well as working together for Harry’s trainer brother Dan might not suit everyone but Harry says he has never thought that in the eight years he and Bridget have been together.
Harry, successful on Roksana in Tuesday’s OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, may be the biggest threat to reigning champion Richard Johnson in the jump jockeys’ title race this season with a career-best 148 wins.
But when they first got together, Harry’s promising early career had stalled.
Harry said: ‘There was a time when I was going through a low spell and times were hard. Bridget and her family were brilliant to me.
‘Sometimes, as well as needing a kick up the backside it is good to have someone to put their arm around you and give you a bit of comfort.
‘We always discuss everything. Bridget probably would say “We should stop talking about horses now”. It is what it is — our life and our jobs.’
Equally, Bridget, who has a career-best 20 winners this season, believes what she has achieved in racing is down to Harry.
She said: ‘I am probably not a massive believer in myself but he pushes me to be as good as I can be. If I spent all day, every day with him, I wouldn’t mind. I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with him.’
But the year-round life of a jockey does present one problem. Fitting in a honeymoon.