“Yesterday’s results don’t win tomorrows races” is the determined mind-set of young jockey Donagh O’Connor, who has caught the eye of many within the racing circles primarily because of his stylish riding techniques and his strong drive in the finish, that has seen him hit the headlines in Irish racing recently and his claim quickly dissolving..
O’Connor is originally from New Ross Co. Wexford though has been working with handler Johnny Levins in the Curragh for the past three years, that is where he has acquired so much knowledge “Johnny has been great to me and I will always be grateful to him” adds O’Connor
Since he first got in the saddle until now O’Connor has ridden 44 winners and is hunger now for more big race triumphs now that he has the taste of success. “I suppose my greatest achievement was winning four races in a row during the 2016 season however every winner is memorable for me, I take nothing for granted”. Insists O’Connor
From as far back as he can reminiscence his father and uncles always had racehorses and brood mares around his home “So, I always going racing from a very young age which, gave me the bug to get further involved” adds O’Connor
With the rules and regulations around Irish racing always changing, we asked this level-headed jockey what would he change, if he had the chance which he modestly replied, “I’d change nothing about it, I think it’s fine”
Young jockey are unquestionably easy targets for internet trolls and we asked O’Connor has he ever experienced targeted harassment “Yes, I did a few times but I wouldn’t pay any attention to them at all” he replied.
If he wasn’t a jockey he feels he would have been tempted to do something in the bloodstock side of flat racing” I have a great interest in that area” insisted O’Connor.
Aims and goals are something everyone in the competitive game must have to endeavour get further and O’Connor is not different “just keep riding winners and riding for different trainers is my biggest aim”.
Being a jockey is never going to have the average 9-5 hours and can be very demanding so how does a busy jockey unwind when he has a few hours free “I do play a bit of soccer with a couple of the other apprentices and lads from other yard around the Curragh” said O’Connor
Trainer Damien English has been a monumental figure in the rise of this young jockey’s career from the unknown to a household name due to match made in heaven with a few of his inmates including trail blazers, Geological and Tribal path but how did the relationship come about “My Boss Johnny Levins, organized me to ride work for Damien a while back up” “We’ve had some great times and hopefully more to come “Replied O’Connor
With the determination and drive he has shown thus far it is unlikely, that his progression has any sign of slowing up any time soon and he will continue to keep his head down and work hard till he is champion jockey.