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Liking the risk | Jockey Darragh O'Keeffe on balancing danger v reward

Being a jockey can certainly prove to be a dangerous pursuit at times - but Cork's Darragh O'Keeffe tells Friday Night Racing the big moments of success make it all worthwhile.

Liking the risk | Jockey Darra...

Liking the risk | Jockey Darragh O'Keeffe on balancing danger v reward

Darragh O'Keeffe is a jockey with the world at his feet at the minute - leading the Champion Jockey table as things stand with an impressive 43 winners.

The 21-year-old joined Johnny Ward on Friday Night Racing this week, and he spoke about the risk jockeys accept going to work every day - and why it is still worth it.

The Doneraile man was just 18 years of age when he rode his first winner on the Enda Bolger-trained William Du Berlais. That was at Killarney back in the summer of 2018.

And he has gone from strength to strength ever since, carving out a career in a sport renowned for its cut-throat nature when it comes to jockeying for rides.

Plenty of jockeys - from Davy Russell to Rachael Blackmore - have had to deal with injuries in recent times. O'Keeffe acknowledges though that he has been fairly fortunate on that front.

"That's a big thing, sometimes you can't avoid injury. Everyone gets their fair share, plenty of falls and stuff. You're just hopeful that you'll walk away in one piece.

"You can't do anything to avoid it only be as fit as you can. Touch wood I've been lucky - when you're not injured you have a chance of riding winners and getting other rides as well."

And what about balancing risk with reward? O'Keeffe says all jockeys are aware of the dangers involved in the sport at times.

"Every jockey that wants to be a jump jockey knows that you're going to fall regularly and injury is going to come your way. Some people like the risk, I know I do and I wouldn't change what I do for anything.

"Whatever about the falls and that, but when you ride a winner like A Plus Tard in the Savills Chase it makes up for everything. The adrenaline rush and everything that you get out of it, it's great. It's a great sport and there is plenty of risk with it, but there are plenty of rewards as well if it goes your way."

Corkman O'Keeffe says there's no feeling quite like saddling a horse that you know is in serious form.

"The adrenaline rush is class, going fast down to fences and when you have one that's jumping well - there's no better feeling in the world for me anyway.

"It's just a great sport, it's a great thrill no matter what distance. If you're on a good jumper and stuff and you're getting a good ride off the horse there's nothing better than it."

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#EveryRacingMoment A Plus Tard Cheltenham Darragh O'Keeffe FNR Friday Night Racing Horse Racing Ireland Jockey Johnny Ward Racing Savills Chase