Ben & Jack Portrait

My dad has an uncanny resemblance to Gargamel from the Smurfs, so it is quite concerning when people suggest that I am my father’s counterpart. I hope they are referring to his nature and mannerisms — and his cheeky smile — rather than his balding head, which he insists is a solar panel for a sex machine.

Dad is not just my mate, he is my role model, my mentor and my inspiration — he is the reason I am the person that I am. He is a general practitioner, a doctor, and has spent his 67 years helping others.

Dad is a fitness fanatic and that is something he has imparted to me. He loves to run and run he does. At 64, he completed the New York City Marathon. He competes in countless fun runs each year and continually beats his own personal bests - Dad is like a bottle of fine red wine, he seems to get better with age and I am proud to call him my father.  

It is unconventional for the son of a doctor to become a jockey - he and my mother afforded me a great education and most people would have been inclined to think I would follow that path to university. When I told Dad that I wanted to become a jockey, with no future guarantees, ‘Dr. Jack’ did not question my motivations or goals. He encouraged me to chase my dreams and if that was the path less travelled, he would stand behind me. Dad, together with Mum, offer never-ending support to me. I am certain that I would not be where I am today without their loving guidance and nurturing.

Dad has a rare calmness about him. I have never heard him raise his voice nor lose his temper. (His fresh-air golf swing would be the only contradiction.) The world could be coming to an end, yet Dr Jack would maintain his placid disposition, calmly proclaiming that everything will be OK. He is the man that no one could say a bad word about. (Well, perhaps his jokes but even they are terribly good.)

Dad has instilled in me the importance of hard work and more importantly, finding a work-life balance. As a child, Dad would work seven-day weeks, he would be on-call during the night but he always had time for Mum and his three children.

Dad has a prodigious love for life; and it is contagious. He has travelled the world, hand-in-hand with Mum, and as a result he has developed a broad mind and an indispensable knowledge that he has lovingly passed on to his children. Dr Jack would do anything for anyone without expecting an ounce in return, that is just the person he is. I am fortunate to have such a kind-hearted gentleman in my life but I am even luckier that I can call him my old man.

I only hope that one day, I can fill just half of his shoes.

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