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Age is only a number for 69-year-old Legend John Lynch

At 69 years of age, John Lynch is the eldest rider participating in the legends race at Bellharbour point-to-point which is set to take place this Sunday.

The Co. Clare man is one of 20 legends among the line-up and he has most certainly earned his legend status having rode almost 100 winners during his career as an amateur jockey.

“I began riding in point-to-points back in 1968 and I rode for over 22 years. I finished up riding in 1990 and during that time I rode close to 100 winners," remarks John Lynch.

“I had my first ride at Fedamore point-to-point on a horse called Lewis Tentry for Gerry Burke, I was 17 years of age at the time and would you believe I won. I thought I was going to be the new Paul Carberry after I won that race, fast forward 22 years and I realized that wasn’t going to be the case.”

“My first job riding out was for Gerry Burke, who was one of the top amateur jockeys in the ‘40s and ‘50s, he was our neighbour and he was the one who encouraged me to start galloping horses.

“My father always kept a couple of horses, but they were all half-bred’s, he was more into hunting and show horses.”

Whilst the Newmarket On Fergus-based legend rode many winners during his career, there are a few highlights that stood out for him.

“One of the most memorable horses I rode and that stood out for me was a horse called Pakalolo, who was trained by my brother Pat. I enjoyed a total of three successes on her, her first being when she won her maiden at Lismore, she then went on to win at Dromoland and finally in Limerick.

“Another memorable horse I rode was a very good mare called Gerty’s Pride, who was also trained by my brother Pat. I rode her during the last years of my riding career and I won six times on her, one of which included a bumper at Limerick Junction in Tipperary, she was a fantastic mare to ride.”

After Lynch hung up his riding boots in 1990, he joined forces with his brother Pat, and they began training horses together. The pair provided reigning Western and Southern champion jockey Derek O’Connor with his first winner between-the-flags.

“Derek started riding out for us in 2000 and rode his first winner for us was on a horse called Rossy Orchestra at Kilaloo point-to-point in Co. Clare back in 2001. I remember it was the year of the foot and mouth disease and there were talks of all racing being stopped at the time, so he was lucky it went ahead!

 “We would have known Derek as a youngster. His mother Jean Moore rode in point-to-points during the same era as me and we have remained friends since then.”

Lynch is looking forward to the race and is excited to have the opportunity at once again being able to get back in the saddle.

“It will be a great day out, there is a great line up for it and it will be nice to get the opportunity to ride in a race again, as at my age there isn’t much opportunity to do that.

“Gearoid O’ Loughlin has kindly given me a horse to ride in the race, I think he might have an each/way chance, I have got a feeling he will place as he is a good form horse on the track, but as long as I get around I don’t mind where we finish up. The horse is like me, on the other side of the hill.”

Although John is the eldest participant in the race, he is by no means letting that phase him as he still rides out every day and is as fit as a flee.

“I still ride out four or five lots a day, I love it, I don’t think I will ever give up. Myself and my brother Pat run the yard together and we have around 10 horses in at the moment. It is a mixture of point-to-pointers and pre-trainers that we have. Jason Titley, who is also riding in the race also trains out of our yard and it is mainly pre-trainers he has.

“We have 70 or 80 beef cattle; the cattle have always been the main enterprise of the farm, with the horses more so being our hobby. We also keep a couple of broodmares.”


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