One of the most difficult things for jumps jockeys to get used to when switching over to flat racing is getting their weight right, according to jockey John Allen.
The Cork man started his career as a jumps jockey in Ireland and travelled to Australia to do the same. He has been based in Australia for the last nine years.
He turned his hand to riding on the flat in Australia. Since then, he has gone on to ride 17 Group 1 winners including the Victoria Derby in 2018 and the Cox Plate, the second most popular race in Australia after the Melbourne Cup, on State Of Rest for Joseph O’Brien last October.
Speaking on Friday Night Racing, Allen explained what he thinks are the fundamental differences between jumps and flat racing.
"The fundamentals are pretty much the same," Allen said. "The big thing was just my weight. I really had to work on it, I still do.
"I probably went for 25 or 26 years eating what I liked to restricting what I had to eat and being a lot more healthy. I went from never weighing myself to waking up every morning jumping on the scale to see what weight I was. That was the main difference."
For Allen, the key is to figure out what your body can and can't do.
"You can get pockets of information from different people," Allen said. "Eventually you kind of learn what your body can do and can't do.
"You can surprise yourself what your body is capable of. For me, I try to eat healthy. I won't say I starve myself or anything like that. I kind of prefer to work it off rather than not eat.
"I just had to make a few changes, and I suppose once you keep disciplined, it certainly works. It's a lot easier when you have an end goal.
"I have an end goal to make this weight, and that's my job. I can find it hard when I'm not riding on the weekend to stay disciplined.
"You've still got to enjoy life. I don't completely rule out bad stuff. I still eat chocolate."