JUMP jockey Joe Colliver hopes to resume his riding career in the New Year afer being released from prison on licence for drink driving and perverting the course of justice.
The 25-year-old Sheffield-born rider was jailed for 10 months in August for crashing his car in Leyburn in the early hours of Boxing Day and trying to persuade an accomplice to take the blame before the vehicle’s insurers alerted the police.
Freed from prison 10 days ago under curfew, Colliver was present at Wetherby Racecourse on Saturday – Charlie Hall Chase day – to pick up his trophy after being leading conditional rider at the West Yorkshire track during the 2015-16 season.
Though he’s been fitted with an electronic tag, and has to observe a curfew from 7pm to 5.30am until January 3, he has already resumed work at the yard of Middleham trainer Micky Hammond who has promised to help the Northern Racing College graduate to rebuild his career.
However Colliver, who was also banned from the road for 17 months and fined £250 after pleading guilty to drink driving and perverting the course of justice at Teesside Crown Court, will have to pass a British Horseracing Authority integrity test before his riding licence is reissued.
He had ridden a career-best 26 winners last season and partnered Hammond’s stable star Just Cameron in the prestigious Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
“There are a lot of people I need to talk to and apologise to, mostly my boss, everyone in the yard and everyone in racing,” Colliver told The Yorkshire Post.
“The first 10 days were very hard, being on your own and not knowing anyone. You have a lot of time to think.
“I need to be better person, more open and honest, and not bottle things up.
“There are also good people around who can help. You might think you can’t talk but you can.”
Colliver received a sympathetic welcome from racegoers at the presentation and was supported by Hammond, last season’s top trainer at Wetherby.
“Right from the outset, I stood by Joe,” said Hammond. “Everyone makes mistakes in all walks of life. Some learn. Some don’t.
“He’s good lad and come back to work full-time. We won’t insult the BHA by applying for a licence while he still has his tag. He needs a bit of time to readjust to normal life. He’s full of remorse, but needs time.”