Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 18 July 2019

'It’s very much a dream...but I'm not going to be pulling out of college any time soon' - Student (19) wins first ever race as jockey

Emma Doyle after winning her first ever race.
Emma Doyle after winning her first ever race.

Gabija Gataveckaite

It was a memorable racing debut for Emma Doyle in Dundalk on Friday as the 19-year-old student rode Northern Surprise to victory in the Bet Victor Handicap.

The Tipperary native is currently in college in Maynooth, where she is studying business and marketing, and speaking to Racing TV after her dream debut, she couldn't contain her delight.

Speaking on The Miriam O’Callaghan Show on RTÉ’s Radio One this morning, the teenager couldn’t believe her victory. 

"It was a big surprise and I had no expectations, we actually had another horse from our yard running in the race and she turned out to finish second," she said.

"The race really went to plan for me it worked out really well, I planned on just dropping in behind and learning a bit and getting some experience on my first day out," she added.

She explained that her horse really did surprise her in the heat of the race.

"Once he turned in and passed a couple of horses, he just started to really enjoy it and he put his head down and he really grinded it out for me," Doyle said.

"When I turned him into the straight, he got a lovely clear run and really picked up well for me, it was great."

Horse racing runs in the family for business and marketing student, and Northern Surprise is owned by Emma's mother Claire and trained by her father Tim.

"He is a great horse, he’s 18 years old now and he’s become a bit of a family pet, we’ve had him his entire career so everyone knows him well at this stage," she explained. 

"Dad rides him out every day and he was a great horse in his younger days and he’s kind of lost his form in the last couple of years but testament to my dad, he’s really persistent with him through his bad couple of seasons there and its really paid off for me."

An interview with the teenager for Racing TV went viral after her brilliant win and has amassed nearly 65,000 views. 

"I’m 19 and I’m in my second year at Maynooth so this is just a weekend job really," she explains in the video. 

"I’m studying business and marketing. The three-and-a-half hour journey up paid off — hopefully for the winter he’ll give me a few chances."

Although she had an incredible win, the young jockey has no plans of taking it up full time. 

 "It’s very much a dream but I have to be realistic at the same time I’m definitely not going to be pulling out of college to pursue it any time soon," she said. 

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