Kieran Shoemark Opens Up About Addiction

Suspended jockey Kieran Shoemark this weekend spoke openly in a live interview on ITV, delving deeper into his addiction to Alcohol. This comes just weeks before he can reapply for his license after receiving a ban for testing positive for cocaine.

In April the young rider went in front of a BHA disciplinary panel and admitted to using the substance three days before his rides on November 14th.

Since November 24th he has not been back in the saddle as five days after his last ride he was suspended and he can not apply to get his license back until May 29th.

With all this being in the news over the last few months the rider has handled it really well being very outspoken about his issues and not shying away from taking the responsibility of what he did and how it has affected him.

On Saturday Oli Bell interviewed the 23 year old on ITV4's The Opening Show and Shoemark was very open and answered all questions very honestly and he came across as this whole experience has helped him mature as a person and possibly as a jockey in the industry.


The rider admitted to Oli Bell that he had a a two-month spell on the sidelines following a really nasty fall at Lingfield last June, in which he broke six ribs and punctured a lung and this was the moment that started his demise.

(Credit ITV and Racing Post) Shoemark said: He said: "I was hospitalised for five or six days and that's when it spiralled downhill rapidly. That's when I was hitting my all-time low.

"I'm a recovering alcoholic and I have a drink problem. I went to my first AA meeting three years ago so it was no surprise to anybody, everyone knew I wasn't a so-called normal drinker.

"It's no good for anyone's mind when they have an injury and they're seeing everyone else riding winners. I was still able to walk around and do everything but not able to go racing. There was definitely a hole in my life and I filled it with other activities."

Shoemark was set to ride at Kempton when just before the meeting got underway he was told about his drug test positive sample and did not ride.

"That day at Kempton when the stewards called me in, tapped me on the shoulder and told me the news, it wasn't a surprise to me. I knew it was coming. But it was quite a harrowing experience being told that and I had three nice rides that evening.

"I had to go back into the jockeys' room, get changed in front of my colleagues back into my street attire, bag over shoulder and leave the races.

"When I got back into the car I had a driver with me and I sat back in the passenger's seat and I almost felt like I could breathe again.

"I'd been full of fear for the last six months to a year, guilt if anything. You're so worried about someone saying you're not good enough or whether they're hearing stories about you and you're trying to keep everything under wraps.

"Realistically everyone knows what you're up to and everyone did know what I was up to, they turned a blind eye to it for so long because I was still getting results, I was still riding winners for Mr Charlton. He stood by me for so long and provided me with some great winners, we had some great days."


Shoemark hopes that after his ban is up he can get back into the sport and carry on his promising career. The Royal Ascot winning rider before his mishap was riding out for trainer Charlie Hills and will be hoping to get back at it sooner rather than later.

He added: "I very much hope my career gets back on track, I'm just trying to keep everyone happy. I'm here to turn up, do my job and to ride winners. It's all I've ever wanted to be.

"It's been a long journey but it's been worth it. It sounds ridiculous really, who wants to be caught in a profession and suspended for six months for something they love doing? But by the end of it, the last six months of my racing I wasn't enjoying it, whether I was going racing or not I didn't want to be there.

"It was a blessing for me because when it all came to an end I could concentrate on my recovery. As it's all going on you never have time to reflect on what you're actually doing until it all comes suddenly to a halt.

"Six months ago I thought my life was over but really it's only just beginning. It's been an incredible journey for me and I'm sure everyone around me will see the rewards from the effort I'm putting into it because you can only really do it for yourself."