Born in 1982, Sam Waley-Cohen is an English National Hunt amateur jockey and businessman. Son of the very prominant racehorse breeder and trainer Robert Waley-Cohen, he is also the grandson of the ex-Lord Mayor of London, Bernard Waley-Cohen.
Waley-Cohen hit the backpages in 2007 when he came 5th on his father’s horse Liberthine in the Grand National and three years later he went on to win the delayed 2010 King George VI Chase in January 2011 on Long Run, preventing Kauto Star from winning the race for a record fifth consecutive year.
He managed to keep the winning streak going and in the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup he beat out favourites Denman, Kauto Star and Imperial Commander to be the first amateur in 30 years to win the Gold Cup on his fathers horse, Long Run.
Sam Waley-Cohen is probably one of the most interesting jockeys to take to the Grand National fences. His zest for life is incredible as he has been piloting helicopters since he was 21, and aeroplanes since he was 18. He is a mountaineer, too, but likes to set himself a challenge getting down as well as up, so when he recently climbed Mont Blanc, he did so carrying skis, then skied down from the summit!
In 2010 he ran the London Marathon, but not, of course, the easy way. He was roped up to 35 others, in an assault on the world record for the most people to run a marathon tied together.
He raises a great deal of money for charity, not least towards the running of Tom’s Ward, a children’s unit at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital named after his younger brother, Thomas, whose death from cancer in 2004, aged 20.
Ever inspiring, Sam Waley-Cohen, is definitely one to watch for on the racing circuit, and who knows, he may even add Grand National Winning Jockey to his ever-growing list of achievements!