Aoife Fahey's stock is rising

It's been a wonderful year for the Fahey family with jockey Aoife bagging her first winner

Friday, May 14, 2021

Be prepared to listen after asking Aoife Fahey about her family connections with racing. 

"Dad's a trainer, then there's Peter and Paul who both train," she says.

"My cousins Mark and James train and my uncle Seamus does as well. My cousin Niamh rides as an amateur and Tommy and Paul are farriers.

"That's about it."

15 May is International Day of Families but that's every day for the Fahey clan, many of whom combine resources on gallops at Monasterevin, County Kildare. 

The family name has been up in lights after Peter's incredible ride with Belfast Banter, a Cheltenham winner who went on to score at Grade 1 level at Aintree. 

But at least as special for the tight-knit unit was jockey Aoife's first-ever winner on the track, after eight years of trying. 

"I've been riding under rules for my Dad (Jarlath) for a long time, I had four or five seconds and a lot of third places," said Aoife.

"There were always one or two horses that bit better than mine. I wondered whether I'd ever get a winner, and then a good filly came along." 

The filly was Battling Bessie, bred in Britain by the sire of a Dubai World Cup winner and cared for by Jarlath. 

Aoife needed to pull her up ferociously in the early stages in her first-ever run, but she fought off 11 rivals to win by half a length from Skinnider.

"If I was ever going to get a winner, I wanted it to be with her, and it worked out brilliant" she said.

"It was a good race and there were horses in there who'd placed. She had worked very well at home so we did fancy her a good bit.

"For me, this is totally just a hobby. I always said if I got one winner it wouldn't matter if I ever rode again.

"But now, I've got that winner and it makes you so hungry for the next one. You're dying to get the next one."

Aoife knows Peter's yard intimately having ridden out for her uncle a few years ago, while studying at the Institute of Technology Carlow, Wexford Campus.

She now rides out for her father during the week and also holds down a part-time job in social care, based in Portarlington. 

The role inolves 24-hour shifts with people with disabilities and mental health issues.

"I've always had an interest in social care that comes from wanting to help people," she said.

"My mum is a social care assistant as well, I saw what she was doing and it partly came from that."

So like racing, caring for others runs in the family too. One of Jarlath's sisters also works in the social care sector.

Jarlath, licensed since 2001, was made famous by Jennie Jewel who won at Royal Ascot in 2016 and dreams of another day like that. 

Aoife is also a dreamer, with her ultimate racing fantasy to win the Punchestown Bumper, and Rachel Blackmore's achievements putting stars firmly in her eyes. 

"Rachel's achievements definitely inspire me to push on and go to the top level," she said.

"Rachel, oh god, she's a hell of a woman."

"I wondered whether I'd ever get a winner, and then a good filly came along." 

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