Sunday 22 October 2017

Donal gets back in the saddle to win world's toughest race

Elaine Keogh

An Irish jockey who was nearly paralysed after a fall in a race last year has won the world's toughest horse race and said that it "was by far the toughest and longest seven-and-a-half days of my life".

Speaking on his first visit home after the 1,000km trek on small, native ponies across the wild, open terrain of Mongolia, Donal Fahy (27) said "it was 12 to 14 hours a day, non-stop".

Mr Fahy spent three months in hospital and another three months in rehabilitation after he fractured and dislocated a lumbar vertebrae when he fell from his horse in a national hunt race in England in October last year.

Mr Fahy, from Tara, Co Meath, said: "Painkillers get rid of pain for you but they are no use to you when you are on the top of a mountain in Mongolia scratching your head trying to work out which way to go."

Always upbeat about life, he said he and fellow jockey Richie Killorin, from Galway, who also took part, had been well warned "about the mental side of the race and we were told that it would be tough".

"It was amazing, absolutely fantastic, but it was by far the toughest and longest seven-and-a-half days of my life."

Mr Fahy and Mr Killorin raced to raise funds for the Injured Jockeys' Fund and the prize for being first to finish was "the glory of being able to say you won the longest and toughest race in the world".

Irish Independent

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