DONEGAL NEWS SPORTS PERSONALITY – AUGUST
THE horse and pony racing season comes to an end in Athea, Co Limerick, this weekend for talented young Letterkenny jockey Dylan Browne-McMonagle.
A third year student at Errigal College, Dylan (14) from the Mountain Top is the new champion horse and pony rider for the Northern region. It’s the first time he’s won the coveted award having won more than forty races this season – the last two of which came at the recent Finn Valley Races in Killygordon.
However, his biggest achievement this year was when he won the Champion Jockey award at the famous Dingle Horseracing Festival for the second successive year in August.
Dylan saddled five winners over the three days to take the title, one less than he had twelve months earlier at an event which is likened to the Cheltenham of flapping.
“It was great to win Champion Jockey two years in-a-row,” he told the Donegal News earlier this week.
On Sunday, he’ll have up to seven rides at the Limerick venue before the season draws to a close.
“This evening (Wednesday) I’m on my way to Rathmullan to ride out a few horses,” he explained.
It’s a horrible evening but weather rarely comes into the equation for the talented young jockey as the work has to be done and work outs on Rathmullan beach depend on the tides.
“It means some early mornings and late nights during the summer but it’s what I love doing,” he said.
“I’ll be on the beach wih the horses for about an hour and a half this evening and I’ll do my homework when I come home. I don’t worry about the bad weather, I’ll just put on a raincoat,” he added.
Being crowned Champion Jockey at the Dingle Horseracing Festival does bring its rewards, like a week-long stay at the British Racing School in Newmarket – a Centre of Excellence for training in the horseracing world – earlier this year.
“I really enjoyed my time over there. I would love to ride as a professional jockey when I’m older and the facilities over there are great,” he said.
Last year Dylan spent a few days with 20-time Champion Jockey AP McCoy having first come to prominence when he claimed the biggest prize in the calendar, the Dingle Derby, back in 2015.
Following that success, Jonny Madderson from Just So Productions put together a short film – Five Stone Of Lead – about Dylan.
The film impressed AP that much that his wife, Chanelle, telephoned Dylan’s mother, Caroline Browne, and invited him over.
Five Stone of Lead was filmed over four days on the west coast of Ireland – the race was down in Kerry, and Dylan’s backstory was filmed around his home in Donegal.
“That was another great experience. I learned a lot,” he said.
Ryan Moore, who was Champion Jockey in 2006, 2008 and 2009, is Dylan’s favourite jockey while he also follows the fortunes of another local jockey Martin Harley with interest.
“That’s the dream – to ride as a professional,” he said.
When he’s not around stables and horses, Dylan spends a fair bit of his time in and around the boxing ring at his local club Letterkenny ABC. A four-time Ulster champion, he has won numerous North West titles and contested an All-Ireland semi-final last year.
“I was Boy 3 last year – 35kg – but I’ll be Boy 1 this year. It helps to keep me fit and keep the weight down,” he explains.
This weekend though all his focus is on racing in Athea where he’s looking forward to show the crowd some top quality action throughout the day.
“There’s a lot of travelling but it’s something that we do as a family. It’s good fun,” he said.
Dylan is a rising young star within the ranks of flapper racing and his progress will be watched with interest over the next few years.
The 15-year-old Errigal College third year student landed five winners on what was the opening day of the North...