Michael Higgins, general manager of Irish Injured Jockeys was born and raised in Allenwood, Co. Kildare. Michael, who has a keen interest in horse racing since he was a teen, spent 28 years working with Bank of Ireland throughout the country in a variety of roles until he set up MH Consultants in 2011, who specialise in Financial and Business consultancy. He has a lifelong connection with the GAA, having begun as a player and progressed to the role of Chairman with local club Allenwood. Michael is married to Anne and they have one daughter, Orlaith.
Ruby Walsh, chairman of Irish injured Jockeys grew up in Kill, Co. Kildare. Ruby gained the first of his six Champion Jockeys titles in just his first season as a professional rider and won the English Grand National on his first attempt in 2000 at the age of 20. He went from strength to strength and has since been crowned as Champion National Hunt Jockey in Ireland 8 times noting certain wins in particular such as, the Rabobank Champion Hurdle on Hurricane Fly in three consecutive years 2011/12/13 and more recent success when Ruby rode the 11 year old to his 10th back to back grade one win at Leopardstown on Sun 25th Jan.
Andrew McNamara is secretary of Irish Injured Jockeys and became involved with the charity through the Limerick Charity Raceday that was organised in October 2013 on behalf of his cousin JT Mc Namara and Jonjo Bright. He grew up in a racing yard in Croom, Co. Limerick. His father, trainer Andrew McNamara senior, is well acquainted with the winner’s enclosure and his brother Robbie McNamara has risen to success as an amateur rider. From a young age Andrew has had a passion to become a jump jockey but always felt that he was too tall to succeed. Regardless, at 21 he decided to embark on his jockey career and has not looked back since. Andrew turned professional in 2004 and since then has rode 15 grade 1 winners. Andrew is now working as a freelance jockey living in Clane, Co. Kildare.
Patrick Mullins, son of Champion National Hunt Trainer Willie Mullins has established himself as one of the best National Hunt amateur riders. In June 2005 he rode his very first winner at the age of 16 on his father’s horse Diego Garcia in Limerick. 2012 was a massive year for Patrick when he broke the record for the biggest number of wins for an amateur jockey by riding Zuzka to success in the Grade 3 ITBA Fillies scheme EBF Mares hurdle in Leopardstown in December. Patrick is constantly climbing the ranks and is facing a bright future ahead in the racing industry.
Margaret Davin, FCCA, has been nominated as a Board Director of Irish Injured Jockeys by Horse Racing Ireland. Margaret brings to this role a wealth of experience as the first CFO of HRI since its establishment having recently retired. Previous experiences encompass a range of Financial Directorships / Senior Financial Roles with leading Irish organisations such as the Kerry Group, Dunne’s Stores, Dublin Institute of Technology, Smithwicks Brewery, etc. Margaret is still involved in other Racing activities on behalf of Horse Racing Ireland
Pat Smullen is one of the top flat jockeys in Europe. Working as stable jockey for Dermot Welds, Pat has enjoyed plenty of Group 1 success including winning the Irish St. Leger from 2001 – 2004 and the Prix Royal-Oak in 2001 with Vinnie-Roe. The 2006 season was impressive for Pat when he won the Irish 1000 Guineas on Nightime and the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye on Benbaun at Longchamp. Pat Smullen’s success is ongoing and his consistency is one of his greatest attributes.
David Casey, from Co. Waterford, had a great start to his career, finishing as the Champion Conditional Rider with 21 winners just 2 years in. With principal trainers Charlie Swan and Willie Mullins, David continued on to have many glorious wins throughout his career including 2 Hennessy Gold Cups and Cheltenham Festival Wins. David felt it was important to get on board with Irish Injured Jockeys for the next generation of jockeys coming forward and having a good support in place for them.
Fran Berry, son of 10 time jump jockey Frank Berry, succeeded early in his riding career gaining his first win on just his sixth ride. 2002 brought an exciting year for Fran when he became second jockey to top trainer John Oxx and totalled a career best of 48 wins during this flat season. In 2009 Berry was announced as number one rider and increased his number of wins to 88 that very season.
Julian Gaisford-St. Lawrence was born and brought up in Dublin and educated at Ampleforth College and Christ Church, Oxford. He spent nineteen years working as a fund manager in the City. He returned to Ireland in 1999 to take over the running of the family businesses on his father’s retirement. He was elected as a member of the Turf Club in 2004 and acts as a steward at a number of the racecourses near Dublin. He has served on the Turf Club Finance Committee and is a current member of its Compliance and Regulations Committee. He is also on the board of Irish Historic Houses Association, a registered charity.
Barry Geraghty, voted as RTE Sports Personality of 2003, the year he won the Aintree Grand National on Monty’s Pass for Jimmy Mangan, crowned as Champion Jockey in Ireland both in 2000 and 2004, has had remarkable success within the industry with over 1500 winners to date. Barry was born and bred in the racing industry as the son of trainer Tucker Geraghty and grandson of breeder Laurence Geraghty. The inciting moment of his career came in November 1997 when he rode his first winner in Down Royal on Stagalier. Since then he has accumulated a staggering 33 Cheltenham Festival winners including two Champion Hurdles, two Gold Cups, two World Hurdles and five Champion Chases. Barry is married to Paula and they have three children Síofra, Orla and Rian.
Charles O Reilly is an equestrian enthusiast based in Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare. Charles rode as an Amateur Jockey in Point-to-Point and Hunter Steeplechase races. Charles is a Former Master of the Kildare Hounds and a Former Master of the West Wicklow Hounds. Charles is still very involved in the racing industry, breeding and owning both Flat and National Hunt horses. He is a long-standing director and member of the board at Punchestown Racecourse. He has been a member of The Turf Club for over twenty years and regularly stewards at local meetings. He is involved with charitable work including Irish Injured Jockeys and St. John Ambulance Brigade Ireland.
Peter Curling is a renowned artist and well respected individual within the racing community with involvement in everything from ownership to training and stewarding. Peter is an existing trustee of the Irish Jockeys Trust and has been involved with Irish Injured Jockeys for years. He has had success in the sales ring topping the sales with a number of horses who have gone on to victory on the track. Peter has worked closely with The Injured Jockeys Fund in the UK. He has also done significant work for The Peter O’Sullivan Trust, The JP McManus Charitable Trust, The Starlight Foundation and The British Horse Racing Museum. He has also been responsible for Irish Injured Jockeys’ Christmas cards for thirty years and the Calendar and Christmas flyer projects in recent years.
Andrew R Coonan Chairman of Beneficiaries Committee is a practising solicitor since 1996, a former amateur rider, Secretary to Irish Jockeys Association and Andrew has worked in the area of injured jockeys for over twenty years dealing with the Irish Jockeys Trust, Jockeys Accident Fund etc. He is involved on a daily basis with riders present and past seeking to ensure that they are properly represented and protected in terms of injury, illness and when difficulties arise. Andrew has a fundamental knowledge of racing and an understanding of the many difficulties which jockeys encounter on a daily basis both during their riding career and afterwards.
Susanna Cawley qualified as a practising solicitor in 1997. She holds a degree in Economics and Politics and a Masters Degree in Economics. Susanna practises in the area of private clients and commercial and corporate law. She is advisor to a number of charitable organisations and a Board member of a number of companies in the racing and financial sectors. Her passion in the area of corporate governance within the charity sector and her extended interest in the horse racing industry will be of great assistance to Irish Injured Jockeys.
Stats and Facts
- A jump jockey is 10 times more likely than a flat jockey to fall per ride
- A point-to-point jockey is over 20 times more likely to fall than a flat jockey and twice as likely than a jump jockey to fall per ride
- Flat jockeys who fall have a 46% chance of recordable injury which is over twice as high as their jumping contemporaries and five times higher than a point-to-point rider
- The highest rate of recordable injuries by jockeys in 2013 were skin injuries including; haematoma / contusion / bruising
- Dr. Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer raised the helmet safety standard from January 1st 2014
- Since then all helmets used in Ireland must meet dual standards of PAS015:2011 (Irish Standard) and ( EN1384)
- British Horseracing Authority have also implemented this change since October 1st
- A new draft for European Standards by Dr Adrian McGoldrick has been sent to all European countries. This is called an enquiry i.e. each country decides if they support all or some of its context.