Article by Darren O’Conghaile
County Limerick jockey Chris Hayes is ‘Mr Dependable’ in the Irish horse racing circuits. Many top trainer and owners repeatedly avail of his proficiency in the saddle, rightly so he is one of the best the island of Ireland has to offer.
Hayes began his career riding in pony racing and went to the race training school. He joined the stable of Kevin Prendergast as an apprentice jockey in 2004 and was Irish champion apprentice in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2017 he became first rider to Fozzie Stack, alongside his pivotal leading role in Prendergast’s yard.
“Hayes should be seen as a role model for Irish horse racing to a wider audience”
He never lets himself down nor is there any circus showman flamboyance about him, he just gets on with his job in an appropriate manner. Never once have I ever overheard anyone dispute a beaten ride of his, he continuously seems to have get his mounts finishing the best of their ability and on many occurrences he has won with horses who appeared all but beaten and he cajoled them firmly into contention.
Ireland is not short of jockeys, they come in all shapes and sizes, some, decent and some getting by but Hayes is in a league of his own all together – Horse is a losing sport, you will lose a lot more than you will ever win and you always have to saviour the good time – Hayes is always tactful when winning, or losing. I really hope one day he gets the chance to become a champion jockey, though in my eyes he is a champion jockey without a crown already.