Irish jockeys and trainers were doing their best yesterday to get their heads round some unusual distances. Instead of 5f and 10f they were running over 5k and 10k. And I do mean that they were running.
It wasn’t that the Turf Club had decided to go metric for the day; all the racing went ahead exactly as usual. The jockeys were taking part in the third annual Jog for Jockeys fundraiser at the Curragh, in aid of the Irish Injured Jockeys’ Fund.
With separate men’s and women’s races over the two distances there were opportunities for novices and more experienced runners. When the event was announced in June, organiser Audrey O’Dwyer commented, “This year we have had a stark reminder of the risks taken by the men and women who ride our racehorses and the possibility of tragic outcomes when racing accidents occur. The aim is to raise as much as possible and make it a fun day for all involved. With all of our efforts concentrated on one larger-scale event, I am confident that this will be our best year to date.”
After the event finished, she was pretty sure that the fundraising effort had surpassed previous totals and realised more than €20,000. Leading jockey in the 10k race was seventh placed Marc Monaghan, two places ahead of Barry Geraghty. Fran Berry tweeted afterwards that he had achieved his objective in achieving a “respectable 39th place and beating DJ Casey.” That seemed to wear him out for the day, as in his three rides during the afternoon, Berry didn’t make the frame at all.
Jockeys were more to the fore in the shorter race, with Brian Hayes, Adrian Heskin, Mikey Fogarty, Paddy Mangan and Patrick Mullins all in the first twenty home.
All good fun, and a reminder that there’s quite a high level of fitness required of jockeys to be able to control half a ton of horse during a race. Well done to them all.