Emmet McNamara, 30, has been grinding away for many years as a jockey. Dedicated to riding out each morning for top trainer Aidan O’Brien, his patience paid off when he won this year’s Investec Derby at Epsom on a 25/1 chance.
Where it all began
Emmet McNamara was born on 9 January 1990 and grew up in Limerick, Ireland. His father, Eric, is a racehorse trainer so racing has always been in his blood.
Champion pony rider
Like many top Irish jockeys, Emmet learnt his trade on the pony racing circuit in Ireland and he was the champion rider for two years running. In his final season pony racing, he broke the most-winning record by riding to 65 victories.
Having taken out a professional apprentice jockey licence, Emmet’s first win in the saddle came aboard Prince Livius for trainer Tom Hogan at Tipperary on 30 August 2007.
Having gone on to ride 26 winners, he was crowned champion apprentice jockey at the end of the 2008 season.
Riding out for O’Brien
His first significant victory in the saddle came partnering the Aidan O’Brien-trained Port Douglas in the Group Two Beresford Stakes at The Curragh in 2015.
He has been dedicated to riding out for the leading Irish trainer each morning. In his own words: “Things are very tough in Ireland in terms of getting rides, but I am at Aidan’s every morning of the week, so I am not going here, there and everywhere to ride out.”
A star pupil
Emmet has also enjoyed success away from the racecourse. In 2018, he gained a first-class honours degree in accounting and finance at Dublin’s Griffith College.
His career high
Emmet’s greatest day riding came recently in the Group One Investec Derby at Epsom (4 July) when he produced a brave ride on the Aidan O’Brien-trained outsider Serpentine. He made all the running on the 25/1 chance to come home 5½ lengths clear of their nearest rivals and claim the £283,550 prize-pot for connections.
Article continues below…
You might also be interested in:
Flat jockey James Doyle has been enjoying a successful week at Royal Ascot (16-20 June 2020), and here we bring
Jay Tabb made a dramatic career change aged 32 and now works in racing
Other top notches
The jockey has achieved Group Three and Listed winners in the past as well. He won the Group Three Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Douglas Macarthur in 2017.
His Listed winners include Fiery Lad (Carlingford Stakes in 2008), Mister Tee (Star Appeal Stakes in 2009) and Duchess Of Foxland (Hurry Harriet Stakes in 2010). While major handicap successes came on Tis Mighty in the Irish Cambridgeshire in 2008 and on Duchess Of Foxland in the Madrid Handicap two years later.
We continue to publish Horse & Hound weekly during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as keeping horseandhound.co.uk up to date with all the breaking news, features and more. Click here for info about magazine subscriptions (six issues for £6) and access to our premium H&H Plus content online.