Champion Joe Takes Top Spot in Kerry

A TIPPERARY teenager who hopes to become a world famous jockey, came a step closer to making that dream a reality over the weekend by winning not one, but five major trophies in Kerry over the weekend in front of thousands of spectators.

A TIPPERARY teenager who hopes to become a world famous jockey, came a step closer to making that dream a reality over the weekend by winning not one, but five major trophies in Kerry over the weekend in front of thousands of spectators.

Fifteen-year-old Joe Doyle won five titles at the three-day Festival of Horse and Pony Racing, held in Dingle. Joe beat off stiff competition from about 20 other jockeys in the big ticket event - the Dingle Derby - to take home the winner’s trophy and prize money of E6,000 for the horse owner, Dingle man Gary Boyle. The two-mile flat Derby has a huge following, with up to 5,000 spectators seeing Joe cross the finishing line on the racehorse ‘Your Ma’ on Sunday. ‘Your Ma’ was trained by Mikey Kennedy, also of Dingle.

Racing is in the blood for the Doyles; Joe is a first cousin to the jump jockey, Jack Doyle, now enjoying great success in England. One of Joe’s other cousins is Joanne King, an advertising executive with the Tipperary Star who volunteers with the Thurles Group of Riding for Disabled Ireland (RDAI), a charity which improves the lives of children and adults with disabilities.

Passionate about racing ever since he was a young boy, Joe won a much-coveted two weeks’ work experience to train in the hallowed grounds of Ballydoyle Stud last year, working alongside the greatest horsemaster of them all, Aidan O’Brien. Joe won the place in an All-Ireland competition of junior jockeys.

Proud Dad, Jim Doyle of Aglish, near Borrisokane, says his son rode over 30 winners this season so far, putting him in the top three jockeys for his age group in the whole of Ireland. The Dingle Derby is just the icing on the cake. “He got a fine big trophy for winning it,” says Jim. “We trained some of the horses here at home. He won five titles over the weekend in Dingle. He also rode one we trained ourselves. He races every weekend. He’s had plenty of experience going round to different stables learning more all the time.” About the Derby, Jim adds: “the race went very well for him. He won it easy in the end.” Along with winning two titles with ‘Your Ma’, Joe also took home silverware with ‘Molly’s Dream’ on Saturday, ‘English Bill’ - the Doyles’ own horse - and the Ger O’Connor owned ‘Wonderful Tonight.’

The Dingle races resembles the point-to-points, except on a grander scale; prize money for the Dingle Derby is E6,000, while it’s understood punters backing Molly’s Dream came away happy from the bookies. Jim described ‘Your Ma’ as a “good tough racehorse. Everything they ask of him, he does it.”

Joe is aiming to be a world class jockey, and readers can expect to see Joe in action in the future at Ascot and in the Curragh. Joe’s family - mother Claire, and sisters Siobhan and Zoe - now live in Aglish, though the family are originally from Holycross.

Joe would also like to thank his sponsor for the year, Tadgh O’Leary, of Dungar Quality Oats, in Roscrea.