At 19, Albury product Brodie Loy wanted to kill himself.
“I remember coming home one night and breaking down,” he said.
“I had suicidal thoughts all the time because my brain was frying.”
Loy was involved in a life and death struggle to lose weight.
At 174 centimetres, he would comfortably walk the street at 68 kilograms.
He was trying to get down to 52.
“I battled an eating disorder in Sydney,” he said.
“I’d throw up probably eight to 10 meals a day, deliberately.
“I had to get a bit healthier, I looked terrible, so I booked into a rehab clinic to get over my eating disorder.
“I was fighting with my bosses.
“I’d get labelled lazy because I didn’t take the time to tell them what was actually happening with my body and my mind was in other places.
“I ended up leaving on a bad note because I couldn’t do it anymore.”
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Loy had never been on a horse until 2011, yet the following year he claimed victory in his first race ride on Albury trainer Martin Stein’s L’Aubaine at Donald.
Nine months later, he had his first city track winner on Haussmann for juggernaut, Darley Racing.
Even Glen Boss, a three-time Melbourne Cup winner on superstar Makybe Diva, was impressed.
“Brodie Loy, I’m tipping this young man has a big future. For a very young apprentice, I like what I see,” he tweeted.
“It didn’t really sink in, it wasn’t as meaningful as what it would be if I started riding now,” Loy said.
He rode 45 winners in his first 10 months but, a few years later, he took a break as the life of starving himself took its toll.
“My mood swings, personality changes, my brain, I guess, was frying over it, that was probably the hardest part of my life I reckon,” he said.
He left Melbourne for Moruya, on the NSW south coast, teaming up with trainer Luke Pepper.
“Just to get my weight right,” he said.
“Luke and I had been friends for some time, he was massive for me with my weight.”
After that stint, he headed to Sydney and was snapped up by the mighty Godolphin stable.
But after two years, he quit the sport for 10 months, moving back to Albury.
“I just went out all the time and just was a kid I guess,” he said.
“I’d been working since I was 15 and I hardly ever went out.”
He became a dad at 19, to Arlo, and the ‘bug’ returned when he watched a race at a pub and thought he could do better.
After being spat out by the industry, he thought he was on his way back when he moved to Canberra.
“I never touched drugs untiI I was 20,” he said.
He made up for lost time.
“I started going out a fair bit, using cocaine and partying, kind of losing my marbles a bit,” he said.
“I started to get in my mind that I was living life like a king and I had people around me that loved me because I’d shout them.
“I’d become addicted to the Wolf of Wall Street basically.”
That 2013 movie was about a New York stockbroker who made it big, but then lost it through a life of excess.
For Loy, a night out became a three-day bender.
“Yeah for sure, I remember being at a random person’s house and just being there for two days, drinking and doing cocaine and then you’d go out and get some more down the pub and gamble,” he said.
“It became a cycle, I couldn’t say no.”
But the Wolf of Wall Street’s life came crashing down in January this year.
After riding in Goulburn, Loy was disqualified for 12 months for giving false evidence to stewards and he received another nine-month ban for testing positing to drugs.
“The stewards tried to get me for the sample and went through my phone and iPads and I gave false evidence to say that I’d never touched drugs and so on,” he said.
“And with the phone, I just didn’t want to get anyone else in trouble.
“I panicked a lot and, at the end of the day, if I peed in the cup when they first asked me I’d be back riding in five months.”
Remarkably, Loy is happy he got busted.
“I’m glad I got done, I feel like now, it’s helped me become a better person,” he said.
At 21, the ride was over and he returned home, again, to mum and dad, Natalie and Norm, who are both trainers.
“I was very quiet about it, they don’t really have an understanding because I haven’t really spoken to them about it,” he said.
“With the time off I realise how good jockeys have it, we get paid a decent wage, we also risk our lives as well.”
Loy has just been allowed to return to trackwork riding and has started going to the gym.
“With the boxing and strength and conditioning, I think it’s going to be the biggest game-changer of my life,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve never really done a diet properly, I’ve never really had a good go.
“This time around I said, ‘no, I’m going to do it properly’.”
The final three months of his ban may be stayed if Loy can show he has satisfactorily completed drug counselling, so he’s hoping he’ll be back racing in August.
“I want to be mentally strong at the races,” he said.
“So many people have tried to help me and I’ve never really kind of listened, before I was very snappy and angry.”
Loy is making changes, but the biggest test will be re-entering Arlo’s life. He hasn’t seen his son in 10 months.
“Some nights I break down,” he said.
“I’m trying to get my life back together and I want it to be fully back together before I go back into his life so my time can be fully devoted to him.”
Loy has never blamed anyone but himself for the carnage, admitting he’s blown $300,000 in lost earnings.
“I want to make a special mention to (Racing NSW chief executive) Peter V’Landys, what he’s done for me, I’ll hardly be able to repay him back.
“He and (chief steward) Marc Van Gestel have actually wanted to see what I can do with a second chance.”
- If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline (13 11 14).