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Next Gen: John Aherne

Name: John Aherne
Age: 17    
From:  Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

Mitchelstown native John Aherne partnered his first winner between the flags when guiding the Eoghan O’Grady trained mare Our Miss Power to victory in the adjacent maiden at Kildorrery on Sunday.

The daughter of Flemensfirth carried the colours of Tommy Kelly who is grandfather to the winning rider.   

How did you get started with horses?

My grandfather would have always had shares in a few horses over the years and I would have always gone point-to-pointing and racing with him.

I then started in a riding school in Fermoy, from there I started going into Eoghan O’Grady’s from time I was about 12 or 13 I started mucking out and just helping out and then progressed to riding out the racehorses.

I also did a season or two pony racing which I thought was a great grounding, gives you sense of how to ride a race and judge the pace of a race.  I used to ride for Darragh O’Keeffe’s father John Joseph O’Keeffe and for my grandfather as well.

How long have you been working full-time with Eoghan O’Grady?

I have been going into Eoghan’s at weekend and on holidays since I was 13 and then I started full-time with him when I finished school earlier this year.   

Was it always the plan to take out your Qualified Riders licence?

Yes, it’s all I have ever wanted to do since I was younger, I have always wanted to be a jockey.

It must have been a special day to ride a winner carrying the colours of your grandfather Tommy Kelly?

It was brilliant to ride my first winner for Eoghan and in the colours of my grandad, it was a great day and a lot of family were also there on the day.

Our Miss Power is obviously a horse you know well, from working in Eoghan’s were you confident heading into Sunday?

She is mare I know well, she has been with Eoghan for awhile now.  I thought she would run well on Sunday as she had been second on her previous run at Curraghmore, so I thought she would have a had a very good chance.

It was special also to ride my first winner at Kildorrery and it would be my home track really.

What are your ambitions for remainder of the season?

To try and get as many rides as I can and hopefully ride a few winners.

What do you think of the additional 5lb claim for riders with less than 5 winners in novice races?

I think it’s a great initiative that have brought in this season, I feel it definitely gives you more or a chance to get going.

Who would have been your biggest influence in racing?

Eoghan O’Grady has definitely been my biggest influence, he has taught me everything that I know about racing and has been very good to me.

Do you have any other interests outside of racing?

Not really, horses have always been passion and all that I ever wanted to do. My grandfather is a beef farmer and I would often help him out on the farm.

Is there any horses from Eoghan’s that you think we should be keeping an eye out for this season?

Westerner Point, he has gone back to the open lightweights and I think he will be very competitive in them this season.

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