A former St Johnston jockey rolled back the years when she came within inches of beating one of the most formidable teams in Irish racing at the Curragh.
Marina Hamilton lost out in a photo finish on her horse Six Silver Lane to the Joseph O’Brien trained Air Supremacy which is owned by the millionaire JP McManus.
It was Marina’s first race at the Curragh, fulfilling a life-long dream.
“It was a fantastic experience to race against such top quality company, to be up against the O’Briens and JP was incredible,” Marina said.
“It would have been nice to have won but I was delighted to finish so close as my horse wasn’t one of the fancied runners in the race – he was 25 to 1 but he ran like a superstar.”
Marina is taking part in the Corinthian Challenge to raise money for the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund. Sunday’s race at the Curragh was the first of three she will take part in – the others will be at Navan and Leopardstown.
The 14 riders taking part have to raise ten thousands euro each for the charity which plays a big role in helping jockeys who have been left badly injured.
A well known artist, Marina entered the race after a chance encounter with the trainer John Feane at the Dublin Horse Show where she was exhibiting her work.
“I always wanted to take part in the Corinthian Challenge but could never get a trainer to support me and give me a horse, then John walked on to my stand and offered to give me Six Silver Lane, it was so generous as not every trainer gets involved in charity races,” explained Marina
“So I have been travelling to the Curragh, riding out at John’s yard getting ready for the race. Silver as we call him is such a brave horse and always tries his best, he made it easy for me,” she said.
Marina is being supported by Sir Gerry Robinson of Oakfield Park in Raphoe and she is also planning to secure the backing of businesses and organise fund raising events ahead of the next race in September.
“It is a lot of money but it is also such a worthy cause. I know a few jockeys who have been left paralysed because of heavy falls and I know the level of support they need along with their families. That’s where the Irish Injured Jockeys fund comes in. Sir Gerry has been a great support and I’m hoping to enlist the help of others too,” she said
Marina is well known in equestrian circles in the north west having rode in the horse and pony circuit for more than 15 years. She is also chair of the Letterkenny Riding Club and has been heavily involved in the East Donegal Pony club.
To support Marina you can log on to www.corinthianchallenge.com and follow the link to Marina.
Posted: 8:38 am July 29, 2018