Horses for courses as Corinthian Challenge suits jockey Aimee
The Corinthian Challenge Charity Race Series is an annual event run by champion jockey Ruby Walsh and Michael Higgins, whereby amateur riders compete in three races on three top class courses. Each entrant must raise €10,000 for the Irish Injured Jockeys. The first race took place in Naas on August 27. The second is in the Curragh on September 24 and the last one is on October 21 at Leopardstown Race Course.
“I was beaten to third place on the line by a nose,” Aimee told the Newry Reporter when we spoke last week but she was delighted with fourth place given that her beloved horse ‘Mornington Bay’ wasn’t given a chance.
“Nobody expected me to place at all in Naas because I had a very low graded horse – around 150 to 1. I wasn’t expected to do well, but I just rode as well as I could and kept her calm and managed to get up there.
“I think I’ll ride her again in the Curragh. I’ve ridden her for a year-and-a-half now. I’ll definitely give her another spin in the next race and maybe ride a different horse in the last one.”
?There were about 30 applicants for the Corinthian Challenge which has been whittled down to 12, and when Aimee applied, there was no hesitation in accepting her as one of that number.
“They rang me straight away. They knew who I was and said they’d be happy to have me,” said Aimee.
You must have a good reputation then?
“Not necessarily,” she added with a laugh, “But I can ride. I wasn’t doing too bad and they knew I work down here as well.”
Aimee’s love of horses prompted her recent move from Forkhill to Kildare. She worked for Banbridge trainer Sarah Dawson and when she decided to move her stables to the equestrian capital of Ireland, Aimee moved with her.
It’s not much of a surprise that Aimee is where she is and following her dreams, as her stall was set out practically from birth.
“My dad got me a pony when I was six months old I think, and that was the start of it.”
She began riding when she was around two-years old and 20 years later has competed in Show-Jumping events with racing in the Curragh the ultimate goal. The experience of the Corinthian Challenge has been an incredible one for Aimee and her fellow aspiring jockeys.
“A friend of mine had done it last year and said to me, ‘You would love it. You’re the right one for the job,’ so I signed up for it and away I went.”
The racing itself is the best bit for Aimee. “It’s like a dream come true.” But the main objective of course is to raise the much-needed funds for Injured Jockeys. Aimee currently has raised €5,470 so far of her €10,000 target.
“It’s not just for injuries. It’s for things like the mental health of jockeys too and just keeping everybody safe.”
Another gratifying part of the Corinthian Challenge is meeting up with other like-minded people.
“I think I’m the only one from further up north. There are a couple of Kildare people and other places. All of the riders that are in it are lovely. I actually live with one of them and she’s a lovely girl. And I’ve met people who are actual proper jockeys so that’s been great. This is the way forward for me I think. I’d love to be a professional some day.”
Donations to Aimee Murphy’s fund can be made at https://irishinjuredjockeys.enthuse.com