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NextGen: Caoimhe O`Brien

Name: Caoimhe O’Brien
Age: 18
From: Garristown, Dublin

On just her third career ride, sixth-year student Caoimhe O'Brien recorded her first success when she teamed-up with the Ian Donoghue-trained So Ladylike to take the mares' maiden at Tattersalls last Sunday.

What is your background in racing?
My dad Charlie was a jockey way back in his day and my brother and I were brought up with horses from an early age. Once we could walk we were surrounded by horses, we would have hunted with the Fingal Harriers and the Ward Union from the age of five or six. 
My older brother Patrick would have got involved in racing before I did. He started going into a racing yard at 13, whereas I only came into at about 14 or 15. 
I started with Garvan Donnelly, like my brother, and he was very good to me, even now he would still be helping me out.
I was with him for about two years and then my brother started bringing me up to Gavin Cromwell’s and that’s where I am now.
I am in sixth year, so I’m only able to get to Gavin’s on Saturday’s and every second Sunday, and then I go into Ian (Donoghue) afterwards too. 

What made you want to become a jockey?
Once I got up to Gavin’s the boys there would say to me that my riding was really coming on and that I should go for my licence. We got a horse out of Gavin’s and Patrick told me to take him pointing, but I was no like, ‘No way am I going to take out my licence.’
I was on the fence for a good while and had the forms sitting in my room since February, but then Cheltenham came around and seeing Rachael Blackmore being leading jockey and winning six races, I just knew that I wanted to do that. She was a real inspiration you could say.

Sunday was a great day for you to ride your first winner so soon after taking out your licence?
It was unbelievable, she was such a good horse. She had been mine to ride in Ian’s, we got her and brought her up to Ian’s to be trained and he has been very helpful through it all. 
She ran a good race in Moira, but we didn’t know how she would take to the right-handed track at Tattersalls as she had hung last year, but she was fine and came home so well.
My Dad was there with me and a couple of people from the yard came up too which was nice. I could hear them all shouting up the straight, which made it that bit better.
Have you any ambitions for the rest of the season?
I just want to keep riding away and if I could get a few rides off some other people I would be happy enough this year with school.
Who would be your biggest influence in racing?
Definitely Rachael Blackmore! The woman has broken down so many barriers with Cheltenham and then Aintree – it was a very special moment to see her do that.
Do you have any interest outside of racing?
I still go hunting and then I also play a good bit of football and camogie. I play gaelic in school and then camogie and gaelic for our local clubs.


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