Something remarkable happened at Navan Racecourse in Ireland yesterday (21 February). Twenty-four-year-old jump jockey, Hugh Morgan won a race with no stirrups when one snapped after the first of 17 fences.
Hugh, who is a 5lb claimer and based with trainer Henry de Bromhead, demonstrated his incredible stickability to stay aboard the grey Young Dev in a three-mile handicap chase. The 17-2 chance appeared a real outsider after jumping the very first fence and many people have hailed Hugh’s heroics as the ride of the season.
“Just after the first fence my right iron snapped, so I kicked my left foot out of the stirrup and decided to keep going and see how we got on,” Hugh said in his post-race Racing TV interview. “I thought my horse was an experienced handicapper so he would know his way around, so I was happy to hack away with him and take our time.”
Hugh was left very much at the back of the field of runners after the first fence, but his patience (and horsemanship) paid off.
“It wasn’t too uncomfortable at the time — I just had to keep my legs wrapped around him,” Hugh explained. “Going to the second from last I thought I had the horses in front of me covered, and it was my job to deliver my horse as late as possible as he can idle as soon as he gets his head in front. It might not have looked pretty, but it’s great that we got to the line in front.”
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The victory aboard Young Dev, who is a seven-year-old owned by Liam Mulryan and trained by Denis Gerard Hogan, provided Hugh with his 31st career winner. We’re sure that he won’t want to have to repeat winning in such a way ever again, though.
“I’m grand at the minute, but I’d say I’ll be sore in the morning!” he said.
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