All-Ireland trotting win is latest in list of achievements
JAMIE Hurley is proving to be the man for the big occasion.
He’s only 21 years old but in 2017 he was crowned champion jockey after a superb year on the trotting and harness racing circuits, and he has continued that impressive form this year.
Just over one week ago, the Reenascreena man landed the big one, winning the 2018 All-Ireland Road Trotting Championship on Maitha Buachaill at Skibbereen.
He’s the local jockey with the Midas touch.
‘It was my first time riding in the All-Ireland,’ he explained.
‘There was a bit of pressure too, riding the favourite and there was a lot of talk about him beforehand.
‘It was his first time meeting those horses as well, he hadn’t ran against them before. They went fairly fast but I knew my fella would keep going – and he won fairly easy in the end.’
Maitha Buachaill had two lengths to spare over Saunders Paris and Fair Enough, and it sparked huge celebrations, with Jamie’s father, James, co-owner of the winner, along with Ger Hegarty from Lyre.
Jamie was paraded shoulder high after his latest triumph that caps off another superb season on the road, with Maitha Buachaill providing the highs.
‘We bought him off Patrick Kane in Dublin, he had a few problems with him and he told us what was wrong so we’ve worked away. He’s after ten races for us and has won eight and two seconds, so that’s not bad going at all,’ said Jamie, who had rode a double in Skibbereen that day, also guiding Hillside Aurelius to a Grade E win and IB Tweedy to second in the Grade D trot.
‘Last year I had either 10 or 12 winners and got jockey of the year on the road and my father was named trainer of the year. This year, I’m leading by one win and it’s basically over,’ explained Jamie, who was taught everything he knows about harness racing by the Murphy brothers from Baltimore, Tadhg and Donal.
Working for Bandon trainer Joe Dullea and Innishannon trainer Mike Kennedy, Jamie’s involved in Point-to-Point and harness racing horses, and he has shown considerable promise in the saddle, as well as targeting a future career as a trainer, too.
His first double on the tarmac came back in April 2015 (his first season) – on Lakeview Allstar and Hilton Sprinter – and he hasn’t looked back since.
Son of James (a trainer and owner) and Kay and older brother to Connor and Rebecca, Jamie has a busy year ahead of him, including the fourth annual Red John Memorial Festival of Harness Racing in Lyre on June 16th and 17th, the biggest turf meeting in Ireland and the UK.
As well as Maitha Buachaill, IB Tweedy – bought off the Murphys in Baltimore – is another stalwart that has brought success for Jamie.
‘A group of us bought her, we took a chance, she had nothing done but she’s turned out to be good so we’ll run her in the summer as well,’ he said.
A busy summer on the grass awaits Jamie – but whatever else happens this year it will be hard to top his very first All-Ireland win in Skibbereen.