UK jockey wins French race - then asks Macron about his residency card

James Reveley, who has lived and raced in France for eight years, queried why he had not been given a card after he won the Prix du président

James Reveley has lived and worked as a very successful jockey in France for eight years, but does not have a residency permit
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A British jockey who has lived in France for eight years won a prestigious French race on Sunday - and straight after threw out a question to President Macron as to why he is still waiting for a French residency card.

James Reveley, 34, made the query during an interview after winning the Prix du président race at the Butte Mortemart hippodrome in Auteuil, Paris (16th arrondissement).

Speaking to the specialist news outlet Equidia after his win, while still on his horse Hasard de Brion, he finished the interview by saying he wanted to make a request to the president after winning the race named in his honour.

“I still don’t have a titre de séjour [residence permit],” he said, enquiring why he had not been able to get one. “It’s been eight years since I started working in France. I pay more than €50,000 in tax per year, and I still can’t get one,” he added.

Mr Macron has not, as yet, responded to Mr Reveley’s request.

Speaking to The Connexion on Monday (April 22), Mr Reveley said he “did not need a residency permit before Brexit happened. 

“Now, it is difficult, mainly in regards to health coverage because I am doing a risky job.

“I made my career in France, where I plan on becoming a trainer. Going back to the UK is out of the question,” he added. 

Despite living in France since July 2016, he said that he did not apply for a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement card before the January 2021 deadline, as he did not find the time to apply.

He has since applied for a titre de séjour (multi-year residency permit) a number of times, the last of which was in December 2023. 

During this application, he highlighted that he is the parent of two French children (born to a French mother) who live in the country, but that he has not heard anything back about this request yet.

His previous applications were rejected.

French village ‘reminds me of Yorkshire’

The champion jockey has won many prizes over the course of his career.

He has competed in some of the most prestigious races, including the Grand National at Aintree. He finished in 28th place in 2024.

He originally comes from the village of Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire,. In 2015, he moved to the village of Royan in Charente-Maritime (Nouvelle-Aquitaine). Royan, which is on the Atlantic coast, reminds him of his childhood village, Mr Reveley told Equidia in 2021.

He moved to France to further his career but - apparently not for lack of trying - has not yet been granted a residency permit.

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He is not the first in his family to achieve significant equine success; his late grandmother Mary Reveley was a racehorse trainer who trained more than 2,000 winners over a 26-year career, and is widely seen as a giant of the sport.