Profile – Glen Hatt

Glen Hatt could be the most underrated jockey in South Africa. He is a true professional with great ability and it is doubtful whether anyone has ever had doubts about his desire to get the most out of a horse. He is a great judge of a horse and in this respect alone he is worth gold to trainers who use him. When it comes to the valuable feature events he is ice cool and totally unflappable and it is little wonder that he can come straight back from a stint in Mauritius and immediately pick up top rides from top stables. With the Cape season now in full swing he looks sure to be a profitable rider to follow.
What is your name and age? Glen Michael Hatt, 46 years old.
Where do you live? Atlantic Beach Melkbosstrand.
Tell us about your family? I am married to Lara and have 2 children named Jorja and Madison.
How did you become interested in horse racing? Out of the blue one day after riding an old hack at a friends farm I turned around to my father and said I wanted to be a jockey not realizing what I was letting myself into!
Who were the people in racing who had the biggest influence on you in your racing career and in your life? I was apprenticed to Alan Higgins in Phillipi, Cape Town, from whom I learnt  a lot of good values and respect for the racing game.
In recent years you have been riding in Mauritius. What is the attraction for you to ride there while you are still in such demand by trainers in Cape Town and in SA for that matter? For me and my family, at this stage of my career, it is a great lifestyle and at the same time I enjoy the thrill of the public almost being in your face when you are riding. When you win a race there, whether it is the smallest or the biggest race on the island, the appreciation shown by the owners and the public is phenomenal. It gives you such a thrill and it makes you even more competitive.
How do you like riding the tight Mauritius track as opposed to the long back straights and home stretches most SA tracks have got? As there are a maximum of only 9 or 10 runners in a race, a jockey gets to know all of the quirks and habits of the riders and horses in the races so it makes the racing more interesting, eg, how am I going to ride my horse from this barrier position today against that rider and horse with his draw. The draws are of paramount importance due to the track being so tight and that’s what makes Mauritian racing so exciting to a jockey and to the punters out there.
Who do you mainly ride for in Mauritius? I ride for the Perdrau stable, which is a small stable of 25 horses compared to the bigger stables of 40 to 50 horses in a yard.
Do you ride work in the mornings in Mauritius and, if so, how many mornings a week do you ride work?  I ride work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday but not on Saturdays as the track is closed due to the races on that day.
It is said that the racegoers in Mauritius are really passionate about their racing. Do you, as a jockey, have much contact with the locals? Wherever you go  you are continually in contact with the public and they are at the same time thrilled and honored in a way to be seen chatting or just being in the company of any jockey.
What do you consider the highlight of your recent visit to the island? This year I only won one feature event so in that respect it was a little disappointing but I was still happy with my overall performance.
How many winners did you ride this time? I rode 22 winners with a strike rate of 19 percent.
Do you plan to return to Mauritius next season? At this stage I am but you never know what can happen in the future.
Would you like to ride in Dubai soon if you were offered rides there? I think any jockey would love to ride in Dubai over the period of the carnival and I would certainly look at any offers that come my way.
Since your return to the Cape have you seen any major changes in the racing set up? I must say that Kenilworth Racecourse is in excellent condition and the draws coming out after acceptances is a good idea.
On your return you have almost immediately settled in with trainer Joey Ramsden. What sort of riding agreement do you have with him? Joey and I have always got on well together. There is no agreement between ourselves.  I am also riding for other trainers but due to Joey’s big yard I am mostly used by him.
With the big Cape feature races about to be run which horses would you advise punters to follow? Obviously Justin’s 2 Guineas horses stand out and also Past Master from Darryl Hodgson.
Which do you consider to be the best horse you have ridden on your return? I feel ILL Sagiatorria is a really nice horse but will only mature a bit later.
At this stage which horse do you think will win the J&B Met? Due to the new conditions regarding penalties for winning feature races some horses are now not favourably handicapped  in the Met so I think the Met will be open this year.
Joey Ramsden has Bravura entered for the Met. Do you ride him in work and how is he getting along? Bravura is a very bad work horse at home so you have to take him on his wellbeing but he is doing well and at this stage he is on track for the big race.
If he runs in the big race do you think you will be riding him? At this stage I am riding him but we all know that Anton Marcus does have first call on all of Markus Jooste’s horses and I respect that.
With your vast experience in the saddle, and having ridden in a number of different venues, how straight do you think racing is? In my opinion racing is extremely straight as every rider wants to make a name for himself and the stakes are at a level now where any rider that wants to play games will only fall short in the long run
How keen are you on the breeding side of horse racing? I love the thrill of race riding and am not that involved  in the breeding side.
Do you ever visit stud farms to look at the ‘babies’? On occasion I have taken my family to look at the yearlings but I am not really involved in picking out youngsters at that early stage of their future careers.
Have you any long term ambitions with regard to racing or will you take it as it comes? I shall be taking it as it comes.
Do you have a favourite racecourse in SA? I love Greyville  but Kenilworth is my favourite.
Do you ever advise friends or family to have a punt on a horse you really like? No.
For someone determined to punt horses what sort of bet would you advise if pressed to make an answer? In Mauritius the punters always take a cover bet and that seems to work well for them.
With racing going through some tough times do you think personal ambitions and politics play too big a part in the administration of racing? Yes I do but at the same time there are  good people out there working hard for the betterment of racing.
If asked to give your opinion how would you say racing in SA can pull itself out of the doldrums it finds itself in? I really believe that there is too much racing for the average punter to be continually betting on and I feel racing in the Cape needs to have a break in the winter months but having said that Mauritius racing also is going through a bad time too so I think it is all over the world.
What is your preferred way to celebrate a big win? Just being with the owners and friends and all involved with the success.
If you have to name the most important lesson you have learnt about racing what would you say that is? Never take things for granted and appreciate any win that you get.
How do you like to spend your free time? There is nothing better than being down on the beach  with a fishing rod in your hands waiting for the big one.  At the same time its lovely to come home and spend time with your family and kids.
Apart from racing what else are you passionate about? Golf, fishing and getting out and enjoying nature.
What is your philosophy on the racing game? Get out there and do your best or otherwise do something else. You have to love the game and I do.
If you had one piece of advice for your fellow associates in the racing world what would it be? Invest what ever you earn wisely.

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