9:45am Thursday 1st March 2007
By Annette McIntyre
He's a long way from being a champion jockey but baby Felix has already accomplished what many horsemen can only dream off.
He may be only seven months old but Felix is quite possibly the youngest person ever to have been over the Grand National fences at Aintree - thanks to his mum Jo Foster who took part in the hazardous race totally unaware she was four and a half months pregnant.
For jockey and trainer Jo taking part in the Aintree Foxhunters Chase - billed as the amateur riders' version of the Grand National - was the culmination of a lifetime's ambition.
And remarkably she completed the course on Ikdam Melody in 14th place last April despite being half way through a pregnancy that she was blissfully unaware of.
Superfit Jo, who is originally from Burley-in-Wharfedale, and has a yard at Menston, had had no morning sickness or any other warning signs of her delicate condition when she took part in the gruelling event.
And it wasn't until a week after completing the Aintree course that she discovered she was expecting a baby.
Now her story is to feature in a Yorkshire television documentary "Is It Worth It?" which looks at the lives of women who combine hazardous jobs with looking after young families.
Now a racehorse trainer and jockey, Jo got her first pony at the age of 11 and took part in show jumping up to the age of 21.
When she reached a level where it simply became too expensive she became involved in point to point despite her parents initial opposition.
"They said they would buy me a wheelchair before they bought me a point to pointer - because it was so dangerous," she said.
But she found she loved the world of racing. She won the Yorkshire title three times and came second in the national ladies' championship.
Now she trains race horses as well as being a jockey, and she has yards at Menston and Fence, near Colne, which she runs with her partner Paul Grindrod.
They were both busy establishing their businesses, and not planning a family at that stage, when she found she was pregnant.
"It was a complete surprise to both of us - but a good surprise," she said. "I had no symptoms whatsoever," she said. "I certainly didn't get morning sickness or anything like that."
"I put on 4lbs when I went skiing - but that was the only weight I put on for the first few months."
"It was a shock when we found out - but thank goodness everything was fine."
Jo, who was still mucking out just a day before giving birth, was back on a horse within a week and rode in a race six weeks later.
But despite her own love of horses, and her son's early participation in one of racing's premier events she has no intention of encouraging him into the business.
"If he likes horses and wants to ride he can but if he doesn't that's fine."
The couple are holding an open day at their yard at Fence on March 25. More details are available from Jo on 07980 301808.
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