Ben Allen may be a successful Group 1 jockey, but his story reaches far beyond the racetrack as he grapples with a challenge familiar to his fellow riders – finding that elusive life balance.
With the Spring Carnival on the horizon, the 24-year-old rising star spends his days off at his cattle farm in Garfield, where he takes care of over 60 cows.
“It takes your mind off worrying about racing, worrying about if you’re getting on this horse or that horse,” he said.
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“I can get away from racing and come out here on my days off and do farm jobs.”
Allen rose to Group 1 fame last year when he rode Marabi to win the $750,000 Oakleigh Plate for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
Jockey Ben Allen is a DJ off the track. Credit: Channel 7
“Marabi was huge for my career. I think every jockey tries to find a horse like that,” Allen said.
“The owner, Greg (Perry), was very good to me and kind enough to give me a sling. The first thing I did was buy all these cows.
“I prefer to have my money out here doing something than just sitting in the bank.”
Affectionately known as ‘Whiz’ among peers, Allen is passionate about DJing and has played sets at well-known Melbourne clubs Tramp, Empire and Bunny.
“I had my first gig around my 21st. It was always something I wanted to do. I just wanted to have one gig at Tramp,” he said.
“It’s just something I enjoy, and it’s always good fun if you get a good crowd.”
While Allen is excelling both on and off the track, there was a time after his Group 1 victory when he questioned whether he would ever return to the saddle.
“Once I won the Group 1 and Marabi went for a spell, I didn’t have much to look forward to,” he said.
“I ended up having about three or four months off racing, and I wasn’t sure if I would return and ride.
“I felt sour, and I was going to the races, and I just wasn’t enjoying it.”
Allen heads to The Valley on Saturday for two rides including Scentify in Race 1 who is looking to remain undefeated.
Don’t miss the FULL interview with Ben Allen during Channel 7’s horse racing coverage on Saturday, LIVE and FREE on Seven and 7plus from 12pm AEST.
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