Rising star Gilligan makes the headlines at local track


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Rising star Gilligan makes the headlines at local track Rising star Gilligan makes the headlines at local track

BARRY Geraghty has never won one; Rachael Blackmore and Jack Kennedy have yet to win one, but a teenage Galway jockey has already cracked the code when it comes to winning the most valuable steeplechase on the Irish summer racing calendar.

17-year-old Danny Gilligan is the jockey’s name on everyone’s lips after a sensational triumph on the front-running and heavily backed Ash Tree Meadow in the Tote sponsored Galway Plate at Ballybrit last Wednesday.

In a fairytale start to his fledgling career over jumps – Gilligan only got his conditional’s licence the previous April – he has now snared one of the most iconic jump races in Ireland for the in-form Gordon Elliott yard.

It’s a dream come true for rising star Gilligan, especially as he had only returned to action the previous Friday after a six-week lay-off due to a shoulder injury.

Gilligan had already sampled Galway success on the first evening of the festival when steering home Neveradullmoment in the Easyfix Handicap Hurdle, but Wednesday’s Plate triumph has taken his reputation to a new level in the sport.

For such an inexperienced rider, Gilligan showed maturity beyond his years in keeping enough in reserve on the well-backed Ash Tree Meadow to withstand the persistent challenge of Authorized Art on the climb to the line.

Though out in front from virtually flag-fall, the talented Craughwell native didn’t have the smoothest of passages on the 13/2 second favourite due to the attentions of loose horse Andy Dufresne, but ice-cool Gilligan managed to keep his mount on an even keel.

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I don’t know what to say. I was hoping to be back by Galway and to have two winners by Wednesday is just brilliant. I had a scan Tuesday two weeks ago and I was kind of begging them to let me back.

Pictured: Danny Gilligan holds the Galway Plate after riding Ash Tree Meadow to victory in the Tote sponsored big race at the Summer Festival in Ballybrit last Wednesday. Photo: Iain McDonald.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up