Sunday 3 November 2019

National Hunt Legend Richard Dunwoody

When you think of National Hunt legendary jockeys most people would have Richard Dunwoody MBE at the top of their list. 

Born in Belfast Northern Ireland, Richard rode an incredible 1874 winners in a truly amazing racing career. A three-time Champion jockey who won two Grand Nationals with West Tip and Miinnehoma; King George VI Chase four times and not to mention the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. 

In addition, Richard has done an amazing amount of charity work since retiring from the saddle including a 48-day trek to the South Pole with American explorer Doug Stoup, a 1000 mile charity walk and in 2017, walked 2000 miles across Japan to raise money for Sarcoma UK. 

Richard has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his outstanding career. 

Richard, have you always been involved in horse racing? 

I always hoped to be a jockey at school and rode out in Newmarket during the school holidays for Paul Kelleway. Since retired I was a pundit on the Beeb from 2008-2012. 

At what age did you become a jockey?

First ride as an amateur 18 turned professional 2 years later. 

You have won so many big races including the Champion Hurdle, the Arkle and the Grand National to name just a few, which race sticks out in your mind? 

Grand National 94 on Miinnehoma, second victory in the race and didn't really expect him to win. West Tip, Desert Orchid and One Man are just three of the many class horses you won on.

Did you have a favourite horse that was close to your heart? 

Desert Orchid was the best horse I rode but I always thought the world of Waterloo Boy. Tough, tried hard and I think I won 15 races on him.

If you weren't a jockey what would you have done? 

I was taking biology physics and chemistry at A level and my parents were hoping I would become a vet. 

The day you retired due to a neck injury was a sad day for all involved in the racing game, did you have an idea what you would do next?

Yes, I had already started a sports marketing agency. 

You have done so much brilliant charity work over the years, name three things you do in your spare time if you get any?

I enjoy running, watching sport (get to Real Madrid when I can) and exploring Spain with Olivia and our daughter Milly. 

Did you ever think about becoming a trainer am sure you would have been brilliant? 

My father trained and having been around trainers for a very long time it was never an option.

What racecourse did you enjoy the most, Cheltenham or Aintree? 

Aintree, riding around the National course. 

Can you give my readers a few horses to follow this season? 

I hope Saint Calvados does well for Harry (Whittington) and I am sure Olly Murphy will send out a lot more winners this year.

Thanks to Richard for being so honest and open.

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