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Jay Archdeacon riding high after first success

It was a day to remember at Thurles for Cork rider Jay Archdeacon, when he recorded his first career success with victory of Rosgalme in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Auction INH Flat Race, on what was just his first ride for his new boss Noel Meade.

The 20/1 shot was one of two runners in the race for the Tu Va stables operator, the Knockmore Syndicate-owned four-year-old began to stay on inside the final half a mile under Archdeacon, before coming to challenge the leader No Grey Area’s in the dying strides.

The newcomer stuck his head out where it mattered and was awarded the verdict by the narrowest of margins following a thrilling finish which saw the first four horses all flashing past the winning post within a length of each other.

“Noel didn’t really say much ahead of the race. He just told me to jump off in mid-division and if I was in with a chance to give it a go, but don’t kill him,” said the 19-year-old who hails from Banteer, less than ten kilometres from Cork Racecourse.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start. My father and my best friend Sam Joyce were there roaring and shouting me home, so that was great.

“To be seen even riding in a race for Noel Meade is a big thing let alone to ride a winner for him, it was just a brilliant start.

“I am in Noel’s five months now. A very good friend of mine, Eoin Walsh, was already up here, he has been with Noel about a year and a half and he recommended coming up.

“I have absolutely loved it, everyone has been sound out. I’m living up here with two of the lads from the yard and it’s great. You get to ride plenty of good horses. Noel has been very good to me and is letting me ride loads of work, schooling, racecourse gallops and things like that, which is great experience to be getting.

With his family having strong ties to racing and point-to-pointing, it was no surprise that he ended up going down the path.

“I grew up around horses. My father would have bred horses. He bred Captain Ocana who won a maiden at Bartlemy and then won a beginners chase on the track at Wexford,” he explains.

“My uncle (Louis Archdeacon) trains them next door. The gallop passes right by my front door, so I had no choice.

“All the way through school I would have been going into the yard, right from a very young age I was there the whole time.

“I did five season pony racing, but unfortunately I didn’t have any winners, but I learned loads about race riding and riding a finish. I mainly stuck around the south for Neil Hurley, but would have had a couple of rides in the midlands.

“I got my license to ride in bumpers when I was 16 and I had one ride in a bumper that year. Then when I turned 17 I went for the point-to-point license straight away.

Having joined Meade’s yard following a spell with John Joe Walsh, which had initially developed from a week’s work experience with the Doneraile operator, Archdeacon is looking to build on that initial success and is making connections with a number of local point-to-point handlers, having had his first ride of the new point-to-point season for Nobber-based handler Hugh Finegan at Dowth Hall last month.

“Hugh is very local, he would only be two minutes over the road. I would go into him during my lunch. There is no shortage of horses up here.

“There are a few fellas in the yard that have their own point-to-pointers so I would be schooling horses for them, there is plenty going on.

“My uncle might give me a few rides and Hugh has a couple of point-to-pointers, hopefully it will go from there.”

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