Saturday 19 October 2019

Amateur jockeys in Cork urged to saddle up for the ride of a lifetime

Riders will train to take part in a trio of races in aid of Irish Injured jockeys charity

Ruby Walsh, chair of Irish Injured Jockeys
Ruby Walsh, chair of Irish Injured Jockeys

Bill Browne

Horse racing fans are being given a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to emulate their heroes by getting into the saddle themselves for a series of races at three of Ireland's top tracks.

Friday, March 29, is the closing date for entries for the 2019 Corinthian Challenge Charity Race Series, which will see up to 18 participants go head-to-head in a trio of special races in aid of the Irish Injured Jockeys charity.

The races will take place on actual race days at The Curragh in July, Cork Racecourse in Mallow in September and Leopardstown in October, with jockeys accumulating points towards their final tally along the way and the winner being announced on the final race day. 

The series is limited to amateur riders and those who have an A1 licence can apply once they have no more than five winners, others will be assessed at RACE and will undergo an interview process prior to acceptance. 

Successful applicants will have to undergo training and a rider capability assessment with a view to receiving licence, maintain their weight and fitness throughout the series and engage in race coaching to understand how to ride a race and each course effectively.

Once licensed, the successful candidates will enjoy insightful track walks with professional riders on each race day, with their families and friends invited to come along and lend their support on the day. 

All riders will be asked to raise €10,000 through sponsorship and/or fundraising, with all monies raised going to Irish Injured Jockeys. 

Since it was established four years ago, The Corinthian Challenge Charity Race Series has raised more than €350,000 for the charity. The money has been used to provide long-term care and guidance to jockeys who have been injured during races, as well as helping other in their secondary careers and in their lives after they have hung up their riding boots. 

Jockey Ruby Walsh, chair of Irish Injured Jockeys, said it takes serious drive and commitment to take part in the series. 

"However, the camaraderie between the riders and the feel-good factor that participants enjoy when taking part and raising funds are  noteworthy bonuses," said Walsh. 

"We are calling to all those who have read about or watched The Corinthian Challenge on TV over the past three years and thought to themselves 'I would love to do that' to sign up and  give it a go," he said.

"It's the fourth year of this challenge and now is your time, don't let it be something that you'll regret," he added. 

Michael Higgins, General Manager of Irish Injured Jockeys, said they were fortunate to have the support of the wider industry, owners, trainers, racecourses and racing officials,  "without whom this series would not be possible". 

"It is a big commitment for Corinthian Challengers to sign up to, however it really is the chance of a lifetime and one we are sure they will never forget," he added. 

Anyone interested in taking up the challenge can register at, contact Irish Injured Jockeys on (045) 533011 or email