Having ridden his way to success for a second time in 2011, Sam Waley-Cohen, amateur jockey and owner of dental corporate group, Portman Healthcare, has his sights set on two key dates next month.
Sam, 28, rode his father’s horse, Long Run, to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, becoming the first amateur jockey to win the race in 30 years.
Before this, in January, the chief executive of Portman Healthcare – which he founded and oversees – rode to victory in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, beating odds-on favourite Kauto Star.
And, as an amateur jump jockey, Sam’s success went from strength to strength when, in what’s considered one of the greatest races of all time, he made history winning the feature race of National Hunt Racing’s biggest festival, the Cheltenham Cup.
Asked before the race how he was handling the pressure, Sam said: ‘This is not pressure, this is pleasure. Running Portman is more pressurised.
‘We are expanding by bringing successful practices into the group and taking on the non-clinical responsibilities of the lead clinicians. By taking operational responsibility for the practice, we take the financial and regulatory pressure off the clinicians, but, in turn, we take on those demands.’
He added: ‘Our focus is the patient. By prioritising customer service and patient care, we have successfully grown the practices. We also want to create a company that is enjoyable to work in – more of a family than a business – that respects the individual personalities of our practices. You have to balance many requirements.’ And even the impressive race win didn’t interrupt business.
After the race, Sam said: ‘This is beyond my wildest dreams; a boyhood fantasy come true. I’ll be back at Portman on Monday. We have another practice joining the family this week so there’s no rest!’
The amateur jockey now has his sights set on the Grand National (9 April); this time riding Oscar Time.
The Aintree showpiece falls six days before his 29th birthday and he says: ‘My birthday is on 15 April and winning the National would be a great early birthday present.’
Meanwhile, the dental corporate boss-cum-amateur jockey is dusting off his best suit to attend the Royal Wedding at the end of April.
Sam’s other claim to fame? It’s said in the gossip columns that he played matchmaker to Prince William and Kate Middleton and helped get the Royal couple back together in 2007.
For further information about Portman Healthcare, email [email protected]