Hong Kong is a country where equestrian is a popular pastime. To a certain degree, the sport of horse racing is what baseball is to the United States, or soccer (football) is to the United Kingdom. One of the more recognizable names in Hong Kong’s horse racing circuit isn’t particularly a strong thoroughbred, rather a charismatic jockey named Matthew Chadwick.
For Matthew Chadwick, horse racing has always been in his blood. He’s sacrificed a lot to reach the pinnacle of his career, and has worked countless hours on the track and in the gym. At the young age of 26, he’s already accomplished a lot, and is widely considered as one of the best equestrians to come out of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s institution for riders.
Matthew Chadwick, an adopted Chinese son of two English professors, began training to be a jockey when he was 15 years old. Like everybody, he started as an apprentice at the school and was put through a rigorous preliminary training period. Not long after, a lot of people saw his potential and sent him overseas – Australia and the UK, to be specific – to compete and gain more experience. The rest, as they say, is history.
Despite the plethora of his accomplishments, it wasn’t all fun and games for Matthew Chadwick. Just a couple of months ago, as reported by South China Morning Post, he barely escaped tragedy on the track, taking a scary fall during the Happy Valley race.
Looking back at the sport’s recent history, one can assume that injuries – regardless of the extent – will always be part of horse racing. Mike Norman, a sports journalist who is a contributing writer for Betfair, a website that previews the upcoming Grand National, even highlights five jockeys who came back from serious injuries. Luckily for Chadwick he escaped his recent near miss, and let’s hope he doesn’t feature on any similar lists in the near future.
Compared to the majority of European riders, being a five-feet-one-inch tall, 109-pound jockey bodes well for Matthew Chadwick. It also helped that he’s always followed a serious gym routine and a strict diet, which has meant he’s had somewhat of a meteoric rise in the sport.
Race days generally fall on either a Wednesday or a Sunday, so other than spending seven days a week on horse racing workouts, Matthew Chadwick goes to the gym to build his strength. A typical regimen would consist of chest presses and fly dumbbells for the shoulders, as well as pull-ups and squats. He also prefers free weights, as it develops his core muscles better – a facet important to horse racers.
In terms of his diet, just like most athletes, it has everything to do with preparation, portion control, and substitutions. While steamed fish and noodles are staples in his meal plan, Matthew Chadwick still enjoys the occasional assortment of sushi and a tuna sandwich (without mayonnaise, of course). As much as possible, he shuns away from red meat and carbohydrates in large quantities, because it stays in the body longer than any other food groups. When it comes to fruit, he favors kiwi and dragonfruit, as it helps with cleansing his system.
In short, Matthew Chadwick’s story is a testament of how a dedicated training regimen, and a disciplined diet, can help athletes succeed in their chosen sport. Yes, being a young horse racing prodigy can boost any rider’s career, but without hard work and dedication, talent just wouldn’t be enough to get him over the line.