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.

Which English racecourse was built in preference to a lunatic asylum?

When it held its first meeting on April 22, 1875, Sandown Park Racecourse, in Esher, Surrey, had the distinction of being the first purpose-built, enclosed racecourse in the country. However, in 1870, when the land on which the racecourse now stands came up for sale, local inhabitants faced a dilemma.

The three proposals tabled for the development of the land were the construction of a model town, a lunatic asylum and, most controversially of all, remarkably, a racecourse. Of course, in the late nineteenth century, racecourses had an unenviable reputation as gathering places for ne’er-do-wells from all walks of life. Furthermore, the proximity of Esher to London – approximately 14 miles from London Waterloo – was thought likely to increase its attraction to members of London Society, which made the establishment of a racecourse even less desirable in the eyes of detractors.

Nevertheless, despite considerable opposition, the Williams brothers, Owen and Hwfa – who, if they were any doubt about the venture, enjoyed the patronage of the Prince of Wales – went ahead in their attempt to raise the image of horse racing. By enclosing the course in a boundary fence and charging admission, they achieved their ambition of making Sandown Park a safe place for women, ‘without the slightest fear that they would run the risk of social shipwreck or be exposed to a rough and tumble.’

Did Prince Charles ever ride a winner as a jockey?

Charles, Prince of Wales, made his debut as an amateur jockey, at the age of 31, in a charity race at Plumpton on March 4, 1980. He finished second aboard favourite Long Wharf and, just four days later, finished fourth aboard Sea Swell in his first steeplechase at Sandown. Later the same year, on October 24 – on the first occasion he and Lady Diana Spencer had been seen together in public – Charles rode his own horse, Allibar, into a highly creditable second place in an amateur riders’ handicap chase at Ludlow. After a promising start, it would be fair to say that the remainder of Charles’ brief riding career was not altogether happy.

In early 1981, Allibar collapsed and died while being ridden out one morning and Charles was subsequently unseated twice, in the space of five days, from his own horse, Good Prospect, including famously in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. He rode his sixth, and final, race at Newton Abbott on May 21, 1981, finishing ninth on Upton Grey, owned by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother; his career form figures read ‘242UU0’ so, while he came close once or twice, Prince Charles never did ride a winner as a jockey.