Friday, 11 December 2015

An interview with...Gregor Paterson

We're keeping them coming folks...and to think I still have a list as long as my arm of regular drivers at Corbiewood to interview (once I find the time to actually contact them).  This week I'm talking to Gregor Paterson, a young driver who represented the UK in Canada a few years ago in the Colville Cup.  One of my overwhelming memories of this guy racing is seeing him involved in the only (*touch wood*) accident I've witnessed at Corbiewood since my time in Scotland.  I'm sure he won't mind me mentioning it, seeing as he managed to make a miraculous recovery from having a horse lying on top of him on the Thursday night to drinking until the early hours of the Sunday morning in Aberystwyth some two days later.  I'm sure it was for medicinal purposes...

Anyway, here's the interview with the driver who probably believes he should be on every page of an SHRC Drivers Calendar...

For anybody who doesn’t know you, how long have you been involved in the sport and where did it all start?
I've been going to the racing with my papa (Jimmy Moncrieff) all my life, then my dad got involved in the year 2000 and built stables and a track for me and my brother James and that's when we got our first horse, Red Red Robin.

Which is the best horse you’ve driven in your career? 
That would have to be Country Commander.  He was one tough horse.  I was never let down by any of his runs.  Also Merrington Bad Boy - he taught me a lot in the few years I had him.
Which horse, past or present that you haven’t driven, would you like to drive and why?
I'd love to drive Rewrite History (2015 BHRC 3YO Colt of the Year), his speed and stamina combined are different class.

Who did, or do, you admire as a driver? 
There are a lot of good drivers in the UK (I agree Gregor) but Rocker Laidler, Wull Greenhorn and Gordon Gilvear are my top three and will always give advice and help in every way.

Which is your favourite track in the UK and Ireland?
Has to be Corbiewood.  Racing every week and great banter with everyone and the atmosphere there is the best.

Have you driven outside of the UK and Ireland?
Yeah I was lucky enough to be chosen to represent the UK in Canada at Rideau Carleton Raceway in 2012.  It was an experience of a lifetime getting two thirds and second in 1.55, it was a great buzz and I would love to go back .

Have you ever considered moving abroad to become a professional driver?
I think that's every driver's dream it's just not as easy as that, but who knows what the future holds!

If you could change one thing about the sport in the UK, what would it be?
Would have to be the handicap system, I would like to bring the maiden/novice/improver/intermediate system back in to give younger horses more experience in races before getting to Grade 1 and running in heats and finals.

Which is your favourite meeting in the UK racing calendar?
Aberystwyth has to be the best, the racing and the night out in the Pier as you will know yourself is superb! (I don't know what you're talking about Gregor, I've never heard of this 'Pier' you mention...)

How much do you consider information from a trainer when you drive?
You have to listen to the trainer as they know the horse better than you and will tell you how the horse should be driven but as a race strategy it can change and that's up to the driver to get that horse into a position to win the race.

Out of all the races you have won, which has been the most memorable? Which race would you like to win that you haven’t already?
Winning a heat at Musselburgh with Country Commander who only cost my dad £300 was a great achievement for the stable. The race I'd like to win would be the Sunday Aberystwyth final.

How would you describe your driving style? i.e. pace setter, strong closer, rail hugger?
I prefer the rail it's the shorstest way round!  It depends really what kind of horse you're on, all horses are different.  Sometimes I have put other drivers on my horses as they need that type of driving.

Where do you see yourself in the sport 10 years from now?
Hopefully a successful trainer, I can only keep trying!

What are your hobbies/interests outside of racing?
I like playing football and going out with the lads.

If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be and why?
I'd like to visit Las Vegas to drink shots and throw all my money on the roulette tables...bad idea! (LAD)

You’re stranded on a desert island – what five things can’t you live without?
All I need is my phone then I would call mountain rescue to come and get me - problem solved! (Not playing the game Paterson!)

You’re holding a dinner party for five famous guests (alive or dead) – who would they be and why?
Cheryl Cole, Rita Ora, Michelle Keegan, Megan Fox and Jennifer that's a party! (LAD)

If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
I'll keep this one to myself...(Why?  Because you think there's a chance you could one day be invisible and you don't want to give the game away?!  Or does this tie in nicely with your answer to the question above...?!)

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would spend your winnings on?
I would move to Canada and open up a training centre and live the dream.

What would you name your autobiography?
'God's Gift' (LAD)

Which actor would play you in a film about your life?
Adam Sandler since he's my favourite.

When was the last time you got into trouble?
I'd rather keep that private! (LAD)

Describe yourself in three words.
Honest . Hardworking. Good laugh. (That's four words Paterson...but I've given up now as an alarming number of Scottish drivers don't know the difference between three and four...although that may explain alot of the shenanigans at the start of races between horses drawn 3 and 4 on the gate...)

Gregor & Country Commander, Corbiewood 2012
Gregor starting his driving career at a young age!
Hard at work early in the morning
Thank you to Gregor for taking the time to answer my questions with such humour.  I apologise if my editorial notes appear to give off the wrong impression, which I sincerely believe they don't!  All the best for 2016 with your stable full of new charges and remember - you don't keep a dog and bark yourself so make sure you get all those helpers to actually help!

Over and out,

#1 Groom

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