“If I wasn’t a jockey I’d have been a professional footballer” joked 29-year-old jockey Mark Bolger, who is currently relishing his life as a jockey and is gearing up for the new national hunt campaign with an aim to be “victorious on any given opportunity and stay as fit as possible”.
Bolger had his debut racecourse ride on the James Kelly-trained Citizen in a bumper at Naas on 2nd August 2004 and later in that year gained his first winner on the Mick Halford-trained Masamiyr in a bumper at Ballinrobe racecourse for owner the late Anthony Powell, who evidently was a colossal help to him in his younger days, teaching him how to ride and getting him the job in Halfords which indisputable gave him a massive head start in his career.
From then onwards there has been numerous outstanding victorious however one memory that sticks out in his mind is the success on ‘Give It Time’ in the listed hurdle at Punchestown in 2008 “which was a real thrill and a forgettable day” reminisced Bolger
Bolger is now indisputably one of the fittings in the Commonstown stables in Co. Kildare with Gold Cup winning trainer Jessica Harrington, who has provided him with his principal winners over the past few years, which he is quick to proclaim his gratefulness to her.
“She has given me so much support and faith in him throughout the years”.
The day in the live of a jockey is not as glamorous as some people visualize it to be but Bolger has never been under the illusion it would any different as he understood from the beginning
“you must work hard to get the results and just keeps the head down also he is a firm believer thinking positive is the only way forward”
For most of his career, horse racing in Ireland has been the only way he has ever known but Bolger does have a few minor proposals that he would like the authorities to take on board like
“Weigh-rooms should offer food and drink free of charge to the jockeys and stable staff” insisted Bolger
Away from the hustle and bustle of horse racing Bolger enjoys
“heading to the gym and the odd game of golf “which he feels is a great way to unwind away from the horses.
A horse to follow from the Jessica Harrington stable is “Signe” who he feels has plenty of ability and should be winning before too long “stated Bolger
When his days are numbered as a jockey he anticipations to go onto the pre-training side of things as he would love to stay involved with horses as” it’s all he has ever known”.