A love of horse riding, nurtured in his younger days growing up in Oranmore and continued with the Galway Blazers, reached its pinnacle last week when Frank Byrnes completed the Corinthian horse racing challenge in aid of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.
The goal of riding in horse races at the Curragh, Navan and Leopardstown while raising in excess of €10,000 for this worthwhile charity was both a credit to Mr Byrnes and the team around him.
For the past six months, he has been riding out three times a week at Tom Quinn’s Ranch Racing in Kilcolgan under the watchful eye of Stephen Mahon and his brilliant staff.
He did the same at Gordon Elliott’s yard in Co Meath, as well as receiving specialised training from both Warren O’Connor – professional jockey coach – and Derek O’Connor – champion amateur rider.
This preparation in addition to gym, roadwork, and a specialised diet enabled Frank to lose the 14 pounds required to attain the necessary race weight.
Away from the gallops, the amount of €10,000 had to be raised to qualify for entry to the Challenge. This was achieved through the generosity of corporate sponsors, both local & national, private individuals and subscribers to various functions that took place throughout the county.
While he left no stone unturned to complete this achievement, his company, Frank Byrnes Autobody Repairs Ltd, still grows from strength to strength. He is the first to acknowledge the support from his staff and also the many well wishes received from customers.
A special mention is also reserved for the support from his wife, Marian, and children, Laura, Sophie and Harry who had three exciting days proudly supporting their Dad.
From being a racing fan whose main ambition was to ride a thoroughbred racehorse on the gallops, to one who received his jockey’s licence and raced on three of the country’s best racecourses – this jockey is now retired!
However, as one door closes, another one opens and Frank already has a new challenge in mind for next year.