2019 Riders

Aine Ryan is a qualified beauty therapist and horse riding instructor.  Having finished college aine worked for a brief stint in her qualified fields before falling into the breeding/racing industry.  Aine quickly got bitten by the travel bug after her first stud season in Australia and New Zealand and has been back numerous times.  For the past year aine has been working for her local trainer Fozzy Stack in Thomastown Co. Tipperary.  Horses have always been her passion and this opportunity to ride in this years Corinthian challenge race series is a dream come true.  I am delighted to have Celtic Equine on board as my sponsor.


Yvonne Connolly “With encouragement from my friends and family I agreed to do the Corinthian Challenge . Past participants Tracy Piggott, SallyAnn Grassick and Jessica O Gara assured me it was a once in a lifetime experience. The cause was at the forefront of my mind and one of the main reasons I have decided to face my fears. . Fundraising and raising the profile for Irish injured jockeys is very important to me and I can’t thank TRM and TRI Equestrian for immediately offering to be my main sponsor, a testament to their continued vital support of IIJ. To train at Jessica Harrington Racing is a dream come true and also greatly appreciated. I’m very much looking forward to racing at 3 of Ireland’s finest racecourses,the Curragh,Cork and Leopardstown “


Neil Durkan has been involved in the construction industry for most of his life. After leaving school he spent a short period in Lisney before starting work with his father’s company The Durkan Group. In early 1990 Neil spent time in the US working with his father’s company in upstate New York before transferring to London in 1992. Neil returned to Ireland in 1994. Since this date Neil has been developing and building new homes in the greater Dublin area. Neil has managed to use his overseas experience in the running of the firm, and they pride themselves on quality. Neil has also had a long association with horses. His father Bill has held a trainer’s licence for over forty years and still trains privately. Neil is no stranger to the racetrack and rode as an amateur for several years riding for the family. Neil acts as assistant to his father with the training where the main focus is on pre-training of the horse’s.


Louise Lynne is originally from Roscommon and living in Dublin studied property economics in Scotland, but switched to a course in furniture design. She loved it so much she went on to study interior and furniture design at DIT for four years, and also has studied production design for film and television . She is a also a Pilates Instructor. ‘’I am really excited to be participating in this year’s series. For as long as I can remember I have loved horses and I have hunted, showed, competed in amateur eventing and side saddle. I have been riding out in Denis Cullen’s yard the past two years and participated in the Charity race at the Punchestown festival. Over the years I have become aware of the Irish Injured Jockeys with my involvement in racing, and it would be a huge honour to contribute to us, as well as challenging myself ”


Niamh McNamara from Mungret Co Limerick a University of Limerick graduate in Equine Science. Currently working in accounts and marketing in Macro Stainless Ltd. a Limerick based Stainless Steel stock holders. Niamh is also the owner of Velvet Millinery and makes all her own custom headpieces. “While I studied equine science in college and I’m keen to one day return to working in the equine field I am happy to pursue it as a hobby for now. I enjoy watching my animals grow with little pressure which gives me great joy.”My son Harry is 10 months old and when he was born I set my self a goal to ride in the 2019 Corinthian Challenge. Knowing that riding race horses was one of my passion I didn’t want to loose it. The Corinthian Challenge for me is a once in a lifetime experience and one I am thoroughly looking forward too.”


Stephen Thorne. My name is Stephen Thorne from Rush, Co. Dublin. I grew up on a farm and from the age of 8, I was driving tractors and planting potatoes, learning the essence of hard work from my father Martin. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. I’m now 29 years old and I’m assistant trainer to Ado McGuinness. I’m a former graduate of the Godolphin Flying Start and have worked for top trainers internationally including Mike de Kock. I am very much looking forward to riding in this years Corinthian Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund. I am looking forward to the challenge of getting fit to take part in 3 races but equally am very keen to give a little bit back to a sport that has been very good to me over the years in raising some much needed funds for the IJF.


Mary Tyner from Kinsale Co Cork, currently training National Hunt and Point to Point horses with husband Robert , riding out each day, and brings horses racing. I have decided with support from my family and friends to participate in this years series because I want to make a difference and remember my son Jack who sadly passed away in a Point-to-Point accident 8 years ago. I’m inspired by the work of Irish Injured Jockeys and wanted to support them by raising as much funds as I can to help others who may need financial support.


Paddy Woods from Julianstown, Co Meath, racehorse owner, Corinthian Challenge Contender 2017 & 2018, also a huge supporter of Punchestown Charity race for Kidney Research. Equestrian orientated personal challenges are a specialty for Paddy, who has also ridden in numerous Charity Races and participated in the Mongolian Derby. The Mongolian Derby is the longest horse race on the planet which is run over 1,000km. In his first attempt at the mammoth challenge he had to retire himself at the halfway point due to broken ribs and a torn ankle but sheer determination saw him go back and compete again two years later when he finished in 10th place. “I don’t think there is anyone involved in racing who doesn’t know the great work that the IIJ undertakes. The way the industry gets involved with events such as The Corinthian Challenge demonstrates the goodwill from all sectors of the sport and I would like to do my small part to contribute to the IIJ.


Maggi Hassett, Managing Director at CityLearning is no stranger to the world of racing. Maggi held an amateur licence and won wo races under rules and placed in numerous point to points. She has worldwide experience in the Equine industry and worked as acting trainer for Paul Magneir at Delaware,USA and also rode as a track rider in New Jersey. Maggi aslo won a ladies race in Belgium. After a few years she decided to go back to the racetrack and rode in the members race at Bellharbour Point to point in 2019 in aid of breast cancer Ireland, this brought back memories of her claim to fame when beating Ted Walsh by a short head in a bumber for John Hassett!” I am really looking forward to getting back in the saddle for this years series and having plenty of fun over the next few months ”


Jerry Horan is from Baltinglass Co Wicklow and is a Auctioneer at Goffs, he also pinhooks and breeds horses. Over the years has had many a good day on the hunting field. A top class graduate from the Irish National Stud breeding course, Jerry has worked in Kentucky for Irish man Gerry Dilger at his Dromoland Farm for yearling prep under Peter Conway and Dennis Fenton. ” I am really looking forward to riding in this years series, and testing myself phsically and mentally over the five months, I have been training every day and look forward finishing the series on a high and the self accomplishment that comes with competing in this once in a life time experience”


Maurice Mc Carthy ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Corinthian challenge line up. I have recently rode in the Punchestown charity race and it was the most amazing experience, the Irish crowds are fantastic, friendly, and really supportive . I am really looking forward to riding in Ireland and to win the outright trophy would be a dream come true. I have ridden in 42 charity races so far raising in excess of £185,000.00 and by the end of the year it will be approx 50 races and well over £200,000.00 I love race riding and raising money for so many charities is fantastic and hope that I will leave a legacy for many to follow by riding in te series, for allowing Corinthian challenge and I hope I will help to make the event a massive success” With a surname like Mccarthy I feel like I will fit in perfectly over in Ireland competing in this event.


Richard Lombard. Principal at Lombard Accountants Ltd www.la.ie, married to the nearly sainted Bea who is also my nutritionist and the one who provides motivational support! Bean Counter by Profession but don’t hold it against me! Nuts about Horse Racing, Rugby and the craic. I Have been riding out since I was a teenager for numerous trainers most recently Joseph O’Brien, Denis Cullen and Bill Durkan. Really looking forward to commit to this series over the next four months.


Marina Hamilton is no stranger to the world of Horse Racing, this Donegal based lady is one of Ireland’s most renowned painters and sculptors. For those of you who followed pony racing over the years some of you might remember a younger Marina being quite successful on the circuit, clocking up no less than 150 winners in her pony days. She was also crowned champion jockey in Dingle on several occasions and notably was the first female jockey to win the Dingle Derby in 1991. In 2018 Marina finished second in the Corinthian Challenge Series and this year she hopes to get past the finish line in front.


Triona Burbage, veterinary Nurse and Bioscientist hails from Portarlington in Co Laois and is very extremely excited to be a participant of the Corinthian Challenge.
”I have been riding horses since I was able to walk. My uncle Tommy always had racehorses throughout the years. At the weekends you would find me pottering around after him at the point to points and race meetings. I also have worked for Con Collins and James Burns. I was always involved in horses whether I was hunting, showjumping or eventing. I am curently riding out with Mark Fahey, and I am also proud owner of the racehorse ‘Unlaoised’ and proud member of the racehorse syndicate ‘The Seven Chasers’
In the evenings, I work in the family run business in Portarlington.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, So here’s to Beneffitting others, whilst making dreams come true’’


Heather Heffernan. “I am delighted and privileged to have been picked for the Corinthian Challenge 2019 and very lucky to have The Business Fairy Digital Marketing Agency as my sponsor.
I’m 27 years old and I work in the family farm at home full time. Having grown up in horses all my life, and been involved in pony club eventing Ireland etc. I have been very lucky in the past to have represented my county and country on numerous occasions in mounted games. I work alongside my partner James Fahey training point to point horses. I myself am an owner so in just a short amount of time I understand the trills and spills of racing and especially the hard work that comes from stable staff, trainers and jockeys”