How a drunk car crash transformed Ray Dawson's life from drug addict to top jockey who's won more than £1million

A JOCKEY who was spiralling out of control with addiction has explained how a drunk car crash transformed his life.

Ray Dawson is gearing up for what would be the biggest win of his life on Zain Claudette at Newmarket on Saturday.

But truth be told he's already won a battle that means so much more after defeating horrific drink and drug demons.

Dawson, 28, told SunSport earlier this year how he is now addicted to winning after threatening to throw away a promising career.

Since then he has gone from strength to strength, pocketing £85,000 for connections with his win on Zain Claudette at York's Ebor festival in August and winning more than £1million in all.

He rides the same Ismail Mohammed-trained two-year-old on Saturday against world-beating jockeys such as Ryan Moore and Oisin Murphy.

But it took a gut-wrenching personal low in the form of a drunk car crash to get to this professional high.

Dawson, who moved from Ireland to England at 21, said: "I got drunk one night and crashed my car in Newmarket on May 4 2019 and that was the last time I had a drink.

"Whatever it was about that night I thought, ‘I have to stop this as it is crazy’.

"That was the start of it and from then my career has taken off.

"I’ve put down the drink for good this time and got the proper help and continued to get the help.

QUIT THE DRINK FOR GOOD

"Once I could live a life without needing a drink on the weekends to deal with life I was able to give my career a proper shot.

"I’m trying not to think about the result on Saturday as if it doesn’t happen you don’t want to be too disappointed, but it would be incredible if it happened.

"I don’t mind talking about my back story but when I ride a winner I would like people to concentrate on the winner at the time to help me move on."

A catalyst for his change was partner, and mother to his young daughter, Abbie Wibrew, who Dawson struck up a romance with after a chance Facebook message.

Dawson continued: "Abbie was a big part of why I got sober but she has done well to stick by me.

"It was the start of a new chapter when I met her.

"I wasn’t going to go into work that day when she started her trial but a friend of mine rang me and said, ‘you better go in today as you’ve missed a few days’.

"I went in late and that is when I met her.

"I was keen on her but not so the other way round as she wouldn’t give me her name.

"She messaged me on Facebook asking if I had a pair of size four shoes she could borrow for evening stables.

"We then went on a date to the Thai Street Cafe in Newmarket.

NEW CHAPTER WITH PARTNER

"She didn’t think it was a date. She thought I was just being friendly but that is where we clicked really well."

Now a dad and with a new perspective on life, Dawson has taken his breakthrough 2021 all in his stride.

There might not be any bubbly cracked open should he win £160,915 on Saturday afternoon.

But going home to Abbie and baby Lila will be more than sweet enough.

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Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

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