Top amateur jockey Nina Carberry made her comeback to race-riding a winning one, just four months after giving birth to her daughter Rosie.
The 33-year-old from Ireland partnered Cask Mate in the two-mile Connacht Tribune Flat race at Ballinrobe yesterday (21 September).
The Noel Meade-trained four-year-old proved an easy win for the leading lady rider on her return and the pair — sent off the 9-4 joint-favourite — won by a comfortable 12 lengths.
“It’s great — Noel gave me a nice horse to ride and thank god I steered him in the right direction, I remembered the way round,” Nina told At The Races following her win.
“I had a wonderful nine months and then little Rosie arrived. I wouldn’t swap that for any winner, but it’s good to be back.
“I couldn’t believe it turning in, I was like ‘have we got another lap to go?’. Noel quietly fancied him, so it was nice to get back on a winner.”
Part of the famous Carberry racing dynasty, Nina is married to Ted Walsh Jnr, the brother of jump jockeys Ruby and Katie Walsh, and had not ridden in a race since November. However, it looked as though the jockey had never been away as she steered the son of Kalanisi to a dream comeback.
Nina is one of the most successful amateur riders in the National Hunt game, having won the cross-country chase at the Cheltenham Festival four times and also been victorious in the Irish Grand National on Organisedconfusion in 2011.
She is also the full-time racing assistant at Noel Meade’s Co. Meath yard in Ireland.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for her — it’s great to have her back, she’s a magic person,” added Noel. “I was surprised by how easy he won — I didn’t think he could do it as easy as that.
“Nina was very excited about coming back — she said she’d come back for Listowel but then we didn’t have anything to run. Then I wanted her to come back to ride the horse in Roscommon, but she said it was just a bit soon for her.”