How many Group One winners has Dane O’Neill ridden?

Born in Dublin, Ireland on August 1, 1975, Dane O’Neill graduated from the field of pony racing and, at the age of 17, moved to Britain, where he became apprenticed to Wiltshire trainer Richard Hannon Snr.. He rode his first winner, Port Sunlight, trained by Hannon Snr., in an apprentices’ handicap at Sandown on July 15, 1993, but did not reach double figures for a season until 1995, when he rode 33 winners. The following season, O’Neill rode a total of 80 winners, including Arethusa I in the Listed Sirenia Stakes at Kempton, and became Champion Apprentice.

O’Neill rode his first Group race winner, Lots Of Magic, in the Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 16, 1999 and his second, Bold Edge, in the Group Two Cork and Orrery Stakes – subsequently upgraded to Group One status and known, nowadays, as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – the very next day; both horses were trained by Richard Hannon Snr.. In fact, the following August, Bold Edge provided O’Neill with his first Group One winner when making all to win the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

In 2002, following the retirement of Chris Rutter, O’Neill was recruited as stable jockey to Oxfordshire trainer Henry Candy. He continued to enjoy plenty of success, but would not ride his second Group One winner until 2015, by which time he had been appointed second jockey to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, having replaced Tadhg O’Shea in October, 2012. The victory came courtesy of Muhaarar, trained by Charles Hills, who was reverting to sprinting following an unplaced effort in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp, but stromed clear to win the newly introduced Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Has jockey James Doyle ever won a British Classic?

Cambridge-born James Doyle is the son of former trainer Jacqueline Doyle and the younger brother of Sophie Doyle, now a successful jockey in the United States. He rode his first winner, Farnborough, trained by Richard Price, in a lowly Class 6 apprentices’ handicap on the then Polytrack surface at Wolverhampton in June, 2005. Nowadays, Doyle is best known as former stable jockey to Wilthshire trainer Roger Charlton, whom he joined in 2012, and retained jockey for Godolphin, whom he joined in 2015.

Doyle recorded his first British Group One victory on Al Kazeem, trained by Charlton, in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, 2013 and his second, on the same horse, in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park less than three weeks later. He has since won numerous Group One winners on British soil, including the Prince of Wales’s Stakes twice more, on Poet’s Word in 2018 and Lord North in 2020, the St.James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot twice, on Kingman in 2014 and Barney Roy in 2017, and the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, again on Kingman in 2014.

For all his success at the highest level, Doyle has yet to win a British Classic, although he has won two on the opposite side of the Irish Sea. The first of them came courtesy of Cartier Horse of the Year, Kingman, in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh in 2014 and the second courtesy of Sea of Class, trained by William Haggas, at the same venue in 2018.

How many jockeys have been killed in the Grand National?

The first ‘official’ Grand National was run at Aintree Racecourse in 1839 and, in 172 runnings since, the celebrated steeplechase has claimed the life of one jockey. The tragedy occurred on March 12, 1862, long before safety equipment, such as helmets and body protection, became compulsory and in the absence of adequate medical care.

The ill-fated horseman was Joseph Wynne, the son of former Grand National-winning jockey Denis ‘Denny’ Wynne, who suffered fatal injuries when parting company with his mount, O’Connell, at The Chair. The Chair, at a height of 5’3” and preceded by a 6’ open ditch, was, and still is, a formidable obstacle. However, the villain of the piece was one of his rivals, Playmate, who overjumped and fell, causing a ‘concertina’ effect, as a result of which O’Connell and another rival, Willoughby, both came to grief. To make matters worse, Playmate stumbled and fell, riderless, on top of Wynne, who was lying unconscious on the ground.

Wynne was still alive, albeit with a crushed sternum, or breastbone, when carried to the Sefton Arms Inn – now the Red Rum Bar & Grill – near the entrance to Aintree Racecourse, but died at eight o’clock that evening without ever regaining consciousness. He undoubtedly died of his injuries but, at the subsequent inquest in his cause of death, pulmonary tuberculosis, a.k.a. ‘consumption’, was identified as a contributory factor.

How long did Silvestre De Sousa ride for Godolphin?

Having narrowly missed out on the Flat Jockeys’ Championship, 165-161, to Paul Hanagan in 2011,

Brazilian-born Silvestre De Sousa was announced as a retained jockey for Godolphin in February, 2012. De Sousa had apparently impressed Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, founder of Godolphin, and his racing manager, Simon Crisford, while riding for North Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnston the previous season.

De Sousa relocated to Newmarket to ride alongside stable jockey Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori and, when Dettori announced his decision to ride on a freelance basis in 2013, became prinicipal jockey to Saeed Bin Suroor at Godolphin Stables. However, by May, 2014, the writing was on the wall for De Sousa as Bin Suroor switched his affiliation to veteran jockey Kieran Fallon, 49, of whom he said, ‘ I’m happy to give him a chance in all the big races’. Bin Suroor proved true to his word and the following November, when William Buick and James Doyle were appointed Goldolphin jockeys, De Sousa lost his retainer altogether.

Nevertheless, De Sousa bounced back from his sacking by Goldolphin in no uncertain terms. He won the Flat Jockeys’ Championship for the first time in 2015, with 132 winners, finished runner-up to Jim Crowley in 2016, with 148 winners, and won the jockeys’ title again in both 2017 and 2018, with 155 and 148 winners, respectively.

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