IRC Q&A: Nick Gordon (Nick In Newmarket)
A few years ago, Nick Gordon had what some might consider to be the perfect job as a sports writer for one of South Africa’s largest daily national papers. Being paid to attend sports events, enjoy hospitality at high-profile dos and witnessing record breaking sporting performances seemed an ideal way to rob a living. Then he crossed over to the dark side of PR and comms before changing tack completely and swopping South Africa for the Home of Horseracing.
We managed to convince him to get back behind the keyboard and contribute to the International Racing Club newsletters and his weekly Nick In Newmarket column has been well received. That he’s also managed to find a few long-priced winners along the way (a 14-1 shot , 18-1 and 7-1 tipped in three successive weeks) is an added bonus and he’s proved himself more than capable of analysing races and finding the right ones to follow.
Horseracing is in his blood with family ties having ridden, trained and owned and it remains his first love despite being given the opportunity to travel to cover sporting events around the world.
He tells: “I loved every day of my time with The Citizen and being able to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in sport and having an all access pass at some of the best venues and stadiums. Interacting with the likes of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps at the Olympics in London, covering world title fights in Los Angeles and being there for epic moments like AB de Villiers smashing the West Indies all over the Wanderers were some of the highlights.”
It’s been four years since he packed up and moved to Newmarket to start afresh having grown fed up with the landscape in South African racing. He’s gone from mucking out to bar tending, stacking supermarket shelves during lockdown and now works as part of the welfare team at the Injured Jockeys Fund at Peter O’Sullevan House, the newest of the three rehabilitation centres the organisation operates.
“If you had told me five years ago that I’d be doing this I wouldn’t have believed it. Essentially my role as the Centre Liaison is to act as a conduit between the jockeys and accessing our services. It’s a challenging role at times but it can also be incredibly rewarding. To see the facilities and to be able to provide the support to injured and retired jockeys and their families is amazing. I’m proud to work with a fantastic team of people.
“Racing has always been my first love and I am incredibly passionate about it. That I am able to work in the industry while also making a meaningful contribution is a bonus.”
Here is our Q & A with Nick Gordon:
1. Full name? Nicholas Michael Gordon
2. Date of Birth? 5 September 1988
3. Steak or sushi? Sushi
4. Superstitions? Never pass the salt directly to a person, always place it on the table first. Bad luck to pass salt directly over the table.
5. Fav Holiday Destination? Phuket, Thailand
6. Which: BMW or Merc? Neither. Cars don’t excite me.
7. Who inspires you the most? My wife, Gina
8. Big night out or quiet night in? Big night out from time to time. Unless you end up in Unique (Newmarket nightclub) then you know it’s been a rough one.
9. Left-handed or right-handed? Right-handed
10. Best tipping/betting day? Been a few nice ones recently including the 1,000 Guineas winner at 18/1. I get a kick out of finding one at a price.
11. Best publication/organisation worked for? The Citizen and the Injured Jockeys Fund, the work they have done over the years and continue to do is phenomenal.
12. What annoys you most? Negative people.
13. Funniest person you have ever met? My cousin Dean. He’s one of those people who isn’t scared to make a tit of himself and is also quick to have a chirp or one-liner.
14. What is your biggest phobia? Frogs. Bizarre.
15. Reporting: Sports or horseracing? Tough one. Sports writing not always as glamorous as it sounds with tight deadlines and working all hours but saying that, being able to be there for epic sporting moments and the access to some of sports biggest names is unrivalled.
16. Most embarrassing moment? Was once checking out an attractive member of the opposite sex at OR Tambo International airport and ended up walking into a glass door.
17. Degree of racing administrative idiocy at its worst, South Africa or England? South Africa. Hands down. Never seen so many people work against one another within organisations.
18. Most flak for an article written? Once had a reader write in during my time at The Citizen to tell me I had no clue what I was talking about.
19. Best received article ever? The work I did as a club sports reporter was always well received when I started out as it gave grassroots sport a platform. Two others that stand out were the piece on Temba Bavuma when he scored his maiden Test ton against England at Newlands and when infamous boxing trainer Nick Durandt announced his retirement.
20. One thing to improve racing for everyone? Just one? There’s plenty of work to be done! In South Africa, transparency and improved communication. Being proactive rather than reactive. Support for smaller trainers in the form of operator / club owned horses. Not a freebie but subsidised and provides a chance to prove what they can do if given the stock and to support field sizes. In the UK, prizemoney hands down. You can only rely on prestige and tradition for so long.
21. Proudest Achievement? Covering the Olympic Games in London. Being named The Citizen Sports Reporter of the Year twice.
22. Economy or business class? Business class but sadly I have champagne taste and beer money.
23. Ordinary folk or high-brow racing people? Ordinary folk. Some high brow racing people take themselves too seriously.
24. Guinness or Castle Lager? Guinness
25. Your star sign? Virgo
26. Bath or shower? Both. These days a soak in the bath is a necessity after a day on the cricket field.
27. Read or Netflix? TikTok. It’s a bottomless pit.
29. Would you rather ask for permission or ask for forgiveness? Knowing what I know now, forgiveness.
30. Nominate someone for our Q&A next?
Let’s go big and say dual Guineas winning jockey James Doyle.