“How many miles have you driven?” The Yorkshire Post asked as the Danish-born jockey drove to Doncaster. “I wouldn’t like to know,” the 25-year-old replied with characteristic candour.
He means it. A week ago he was just another jockey trying to establish himself on the national stage as a big race rider.
He never previously had a winner at Ascot. Yet, within 35 giddy minutes, Hello Youmzain had won the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes, another career first, and Hey Jonesy the fiercely competitive Wokingham Stakes.
Both trained at Hambleton by Stott’s friend, mentor and boss Kevin Ryan, the jockey’s breakthrough on a big day that was being dominated by Frankie Dettori was all the more meritorious.
And while the ambitious Stott hopes his new profile will yield more rides in the major races – he’s due to go on national radio in Denmark this morning – it’s the more mundane meetings where he hopes his work ethic will catch the eye of the more influential trainers and owners.
Take the past six days and a round Britain tour. Four rides and one winner at Redcar on Sunday. Six mounts – one victory – at Ayr on Monday. One ride – no success – at Beverley on Tuesday. And then the hard miles.
Back to Scotland for seven rides – and two winners – at Hamilton on Wednesday. Down to Bath for two rides on Thursday night – Indian Sounds for Ryedale trainer Paul Midgley makes the trip a winning one.
Doncaster yesterday where three rides only yielded a frustrating second. Newcastle today – Stott believes the Ryan-trained Major Jumbo has a big chance in the Group Three Chipchase Stakes on Northumberland Plate day – before heading to Ayr tomorrow. At least racing at Thirsk on Monday is close to home.
All this while Stott – a good enough footballer to be given a trial by Tottenham Hostpur – tries to keep his weight in check at 8st 11lb by going for long runs in sweat suits. At least riding in this heat helps, he concedes.
“It’s one of them things. It comes with the job,” he says philosophically. “You have to drive yourself forward if you want a chance to get more rides on the bigger stages for the bigger yards.
“Its a massive thing for jockeys up north to get on any better horse. It’s why these midweek meetings, they’re not Royal Ascot, have mattered just as much as winning on (Hello) Youmzain and Hello Jonesy. You have to put the work in.”
Yet he’s done so while being buoyed by well-wishers from Britain – and his homeland – after judging the pace to perfection in successive Royal Ascot races and then having the physical strength in the saddle to repel allcomers.
“The reaction has been overwhelming, A lot of people texted me and rang me which was very, very nice – they just wanted to say ‘well done’,” said Stott.
“The first couple of days, it didn’t really sink in. It’s something you dream of, and when it does happen, it is a surreal feeling.
“It was a history-making thing. No other Danish jockey has won a Group One which was pretty cool. I didn’t know that until afterwards.”
The look of bewilderment and tears of pride, after the win of Hello Jonesy, became some of ITV Racing’s defining images of the week. “I wasn’t sure if he had won or not,” said Stott. “When they announced Hello Jonesy had won, it was weird – ‘how did this happen?’”
And his composure in post-race interviews when he described the wins, their significance to his family in Denmark and why jockeys were donating their riding fees to the NHS.
That, he revealed, came from his partner Megan, daughter of top jumps trainer Paul Nicholls, and the work they did during lockdown on improving media skills. “I haven’t had a lot of interviews in the past and I just tried to be myself, but my girlfriend has been incredible,” he added.
If he keeps putting in the miles, it will also be the first of many post-race interviews by Kevin Stott on prime-time TV.