Since he was a young boy Ross Wilson had a dream.

He’d march out onto the field to the cheers of the crowds in a packed stadium resounding through the air.

But his dream wasn’t the same as most boys who hope to be professional footballers.

The Peebles lad had his sights set on foals instead of goals and became a jockey.

Peeblesshire News reporter Hilary Scott sp to the champion racer who next month is living every jockey’s dream by racing at Cheltenham…

MOST sports people have a goal, whether it’s the athlete getting their shot at the Olympics or the amateur footballer running out onto the field at Wembley. For the Peebles jockey it was to ride at Cheltenham.

Ross has had an extraordinary career in the saddle since he started racing ponies at the age of eleven.

“My Uncle Norman (Sanderson) trained point-to-pointers and so that’s where it all began. All I ever wanted to be was a jockey,” he said.

“For me there was nothing else, I just wanted to race."

The dream soon became a reality and Ross has had a total of 17 winners throughout his career, hailing this season his best ever.

Ross is hoping Gran Paradiso will take him safely across the finish line a winner at Cheltenham next Friday.

The jockey has had three wins with the horse, but admits he wasn’t always his biggest fan and told his uncle he was “crazy” when he bought him a year ago.

“The horse was put up for sale as he had a hole in his tendon. My uncle paid £800 for him which is cheap but wasn’t worried as he had finished third at a race last week. He had the day and the month correct but it was actually the year prior the horse had come in third!”

This faux pax paled into insignificance when Norman jumped onto Gran Paradiso a couple of days later only to be thrown onto the concrete resulting in nasty injuries.

“He broke his tail bone and cracked his pelvis in three places,” Ross explained. “He hasn’t sat on a horse since that day.”

It seemed that buying his horse was a mistake, but tragedy turned to triumph with Gran Paradiso, leaving Ross eating his words after criticising his uncle’s gamble.

He said: “He’s been a great buy for us - three out of six point-to-points and finishing third behind two very good horses in a hunter’s chase at Hexham. A lass called Lynsey Burnett rides his every day and I just get the pleasure of riding him on the track.”

After almost a decade of racing, Ross will realise his final dream as a jockey.

He told us: “Cheltenham is the ultimate dream of any jockey – it’s our world cup! It’s what I always imagined as a kid and I can’t quite believe it’s happening.”

Ross says if he wins he’ll bow out on a high and it’ll be his first and last at Cheltenham.

“I am nervous but I am trying not to overthink it.

“Nothing can compare to the feeling when you hearing the horse’s hooves thundering off the ground, their legs brushing through the birch. It is the most incredible feeling in the world."

The riding star credits his successful career to his family and girlfriend Jade - who has become a jockey’s widow!

He added: “I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

And there is one special person who will very much be on Ross’ mind when he walks onto the race field at Cheltenham next week, his late Grandfather Bobby Sanderson who passed away two years ago.

“The day that I live my dream would have been my Grandpa’s birthday so it’ll be emotional.

"I know he’ll be looking down on me and I hope I make him proud.”