New Group 1 jockey Jamie Mott’s remarkable rise

Wim Hof, a Dutch motivational athlete, somewhat lifestyle guru, calls himself “The Iceman”.

Can withstand low temperatures, swims well under ice, holds the Guinness record for it, runs half marathons on the snow with not much on, shorts and barefoot, climbs Everest to base camp in similar apparel. As you do.

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Now the latest Group 1 jockey club member Jamie Mott is not claiming devotion to the trademarked “Wim Hof ​​Method” (WHM) but it is part of the many pieces that make up the puzzle for the much-liked rider’s own climb to the top and acceptance.

That timeless picture of a smile beaming on Mott’s face, surreal in knowing the Group 1 was his with Callsign Mav in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, will be an endearing memento of a lifelong dream.

New Group 1 jockey Jamie Mott’s remarkable rise

Jamie Mott beams after winning the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on Callsign Mac. Picture: Vince Caligiuri-Getty Images

There have been dry gullies and dark days to traverse on the Mott journey, but even in knowing that elusive Group 1 was coming, here is a well-rounded person, well-tuned in mind and body right now.

“All I have strived to be is the best and I want to be the best as a husband, and a father and great at my work and family is critical to that, they drive me, they are my inspiration,” he said.

But in doing so and getting there he has taken something from Hof, who says “through the breath you will find your soul”.

So Mott spends minutes every morning in a Hof inspired below freezing ice bath “just breathing” along with a self-taught plant based dietary regime (“anything from the ground”), lessons learned from friend and mentor Russell Cameron (“he just taught me to be the best person I could be, be kind to everybody”), and that well known work ethic and training regime to get Mott where he is today.

And where that is, is a very comfortable and rightly proud space. Body rudely fit, mind steely strong.

He’s had a rare two race days off this week but admits “I’m floating on Cloud 9, it’s been great to be honest.”

But as much as it’s been a chance to celebrate and absorb the career highlight, it has also given Mott a chance to reflect on why such work matters.

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“My father (jockey Darrell) taught me from day one just to be patient, it will all come to you,” Mott recalled.

There might be some irony that Darrell’s last winner as a jockey, Toy Machine at Mortlake in July 2003, was Jamie’s first at Colac in January 2004.

There was some other family help that he was trained by his grandmother Janet, while grandfather Des was also a successful jumps jockey.

The constant in the Mott story, has been family, now shared with wife Carol-Anne and young children Charlie and Henry, as much as that ever-lingering battle with weight (now far more under control).

“I still remember my first ride, it was Umaforce for Leon Corstens (he claimed 3kg and rode 51kg),” Mott said.

“I had to sweat and reckon I had a set of Kmart scales that were 2kg out, I was pretty raw and new, I got to 49kg.

“Dad came to the races and took the horse off the strapper, he was worried about me, and he was right, I went via the cape and gave it a bad one.”

The further links go back via Callsign Mav’s trainer Danny O’Brien, to the time a young apprentice shared a three-month loan back in 2005.

But weight and dealing with the terrors of sweating and starvation would take its toll and lengthy suspensions for indiscretions could easily have seen him disappear from the sport.

“For sure, there were times I was close to giving it away, my weight got up to 71kg I think, I was playing a bit of golf and not much else,” Mott said.

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But he had become friends with Russell Cameron’s son Scott and life would take another change, both on and off the track.

An Irish girl Carol-Anne Brassil had come across to New Zealand for a wedding and then landed a job with the Cameron stable in Melbourne.

“It was a wonderful place to work, we hooked up pretty quickly and the rest is history. We were glad Russell and Judy were able to come to our wedding in Ireland before he died, way too soon (just 61),” he said .

Neds Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes

Callsign Mav (middle) was doing his best late. Picture: George Sal-Racing Photos via Getty Images

“It was Russell that got me on the right path, he was a great life coach, gave me every opportunity but just taught me to do things the right way, be nice and thankful to everyone for those opportunities, he was a very special part of my life.”

The Cameron stables were a haven for visiting stables, Murray Baker was always a regular.

Mott was able to ride Lion Tamer in trackwork en route to a Victoria Derby, while also mixing time as a jumps jockey, and back to claiming 3kg.

“I loved the jumpers, it wasn’t about the weight, it was more about the sport, we’d go back to Ireland every year and I’d ride out but to be given a chance here for Robert Smerdon was fantastic,” he said.

There were horses like Livery who won a Maiden hurdle at the Bool Carnival in 2016 but more so Arch Fire that would win him an Australian Hurdle and a chance to ride in a Grand National.

With a career back on track it was again almost over after Mott found himself in a wheelchair after a fall at Cranbourne where four horses came down.

While other riders John Allen, Jason Maskiell and Dwayne Dunn escaped injury, Mott suffered horrendous injuries to both legs, smashed tibia, secondary fractures discovered later, rods inserted and very near things.

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Again, the strength of family, a second son born, and a new found focus of well being, saw Mott rebuild again, it’s where the Wim Hof ​​Method came in.

“I just read his book and gave it a go. It’s been a great befit, my body has never been better and it’s been as stimulating for my mind as anything else. It’s more so the mid I’d say but I love it, Mott said.

Neds Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes

Jamie Mott celebrates in the mounting yard. Picture: George Sal-Racing Photos via Getty Images

So that means he loves that early morning hot shower before easing into the WHM ice bath, just trying to firstly get used to it and then last anywhere from two minutes up to a personal best around five, but it’s always about the breathing and training the mind as well.

“He (Hof) talks about bringing your body temperature up to meet the challenge, I don’t know if it cures other things but it works for me,” he said.

“It has become all about longevity for me, having your mind in top shape and seeing how far you can push yourself.”

So as much as the long bath sweating sessions have gone, so too has the diet changed.

Breakfast would be avocado, scrambled tofu and a banana. He makes up a “veggie broth” every week to keep in the fridge, lunch could be an avocado, capsicum, spinach and onion wrap, dinner a vegetable stir fry all plant based.

“I’ve got a couple of go-to apps which have been very helpful but it means I can keep my weight constant and without any surprises.

“I rode 56kg last Saturday, woke up 57.9kg, spent an hour in the gym and got there comfortably.”

Of the long list of well-wishers for Mott’s success on Saturday was his former jockey roommate Steve Baster, now a successful real estate agent on the Mornington Peninsula.

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Baster owns five percent of Callsign Mav, but missed the race as he was working on another deal and “I was under the pump all day”.

“Jamie was a lot better rider than I was and I could never have survived as long as he has with what he has had to do with his body. He has lost more in one day than I did in 28 years,” said Baster, a former natural lightweight.

“But Jamie has always been universally admired and respected in the jockeys’ room, so I am glad for him that he has finally achieved that Group 1.

And as for Mott, it is the chase for the next one that spurs him on as much as any winner anywhere for the loyal supporters like John McArdle that have underpinned his career.

Which means nothing else changes, the dedication to work remains, the loving family cheering on “Jamie”, the boys don’t even say “Daddy”, and slipping into a morning ice bath.

I am not sure, but almost certain Mott won’t be breaking Hof’s record of 1 hour 44 minutes of direct body contact with ice and he may not need to. But perhaps the Hof mantra of “You are stronger than you think you are”, is a better summation Jamie Mott.

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