St Johnston woman Marina Hamilton will turn the clock back 20 years this month to fulfil a lifetime ambition – she is coming out of retirement to ride in a charity race at Fairyhouse.
It will be the first time she has raced on what she calls a “proper track”. Marina spent more than 15 year riding on the horse and pony racing circuit and during that time she rode scores of winners including the Dingle Derby.
She was also champion jockey. But she never made the jump to the professional ranks instead she opted to pursue a career as an Artist.
“I came very close to becoming a full time jockey, I actually went to the Curragh and had a job lined up in a yard but when I got there I weighed things up and thought it was the wrong move. I went home and decided to stick to the art and I haven’t looked back since. I have no regrets but I did always want to ride at least once on a proper track. It has been on my bucket list and now I am getting a chance to do it,” said Marina
Marina secured a licence to ride in charity races after completing a series of tests in the Curragh last month. She is now all set to fulfil her life time ambition on February 21st when she rides in a charity race for Multiple Sclerosis at Fairyhouse in a Festival meeting.
“It’s great to get the opportunity as I really thought the chance had passed me by. At 43 I will probably be one of the oldest jockeys in the race but I haven’t lost my competitive edge and I will be doing my best to win.”, she says
Marina’s chances have been helped by one of the country top trainers Willie McCreary. He is giving Marina a horse for the two mile flat race.
“A good friend of mine Donal Diver from Trentagh now works for Willie and it was through that connection that I was able to get the horse. I have since rode out for Willie at his yard in the Curragh and was commissioned by him to do a painting of his top Grade one winning horse Feislona. I don’t know what horse yet I will be riding but his string are all top quality and I am really looking forward to it. I have three daughters now too and it will be the first time they will have seen be riding in a race “
Marina has been raising money for Multiple Sclerosis ahead of the race in Fairyhouse and she has organised a table quiz at Arena 7 in Letterkenny on Thursday February 12th at 9pm and all support would be appreciated.