Diabetic teenage jockey takes first win on 20-1 shot

  • The first diabetic jockey to be given an unrestricted licence has ridden his first point-to-point winner.

    Hector Barr, 17, partnered Finnegan’s Hollow to victory in a novice riders’ race at the Dunston Harriers’ fixture at Ampton on 14 January.

    This was Hector’s ninth ride of his pointing career, having convinced the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to give him a point-to-point permit, with no restrictions, in March last year.

    Hector is a type one diabetic and with the help of Dr Ian Gallen, a diabetologist specialising in athletes, and the BHA medical department, he was passed fit to ride and given his point-to-point licence.

    Diabetic jockeys have previously been allowed to race, but were restricted to one point-to-point ride per meeting. However, Hector’s permit has no restrictions.

    The nine-year-old brown gelding set off at 20-1 following a disappointing performance at Larkhill the previous week.

    “It was absolutely brilliant — very unexpected but I’m very happy,” Hector told H&H.

    “We ran him in the men’s open at Larkhill and that didn’t suit him at all, I ended up pulling him up on the last circuit.”

    He explained the gelding had plenty of energy and “hadn’t had a hard race” so they decided to reroute him to Ampton to see if a change of course and race would suit him — which it did.

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    “I knew he was a really good jumper and he just kept on going and suddenly we were in front,” said Hector.

    “On the last circuit he had this final burst of energy — I didn’t think I was going to win until three out and thought ‘bloody hell, I’m going to do this’.”

    The horse is trained by Hector’s father, Stephen, who was diagnosed with type one diabetes aged 29, bringing an end to his race-riding career.

    The nine-year-old gelding, by Indian River, came over from Ireland last year.

    He had success between the flags and ran several times over hurdles before arriving in Britain. The horse is now being aimed for the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace fixture at Horseheath on 4 February.

    “He is very cheeky!” said Hector, explaining he can be sharp at home. “I think that’s why I get on with him so well.”

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