2024 Riders

Bridget Speirs – I am thrilled to be part of the 2024 Corinthian Challenge Charity Race on July 21st, 2024, at The Curragh Racecourse. With a lifelong love for horses, I have actively engaged in various equestrian pursuits like hunting, polo, Point to Points, and holding a National Hunt Permit. Having previously participated in a charity race at Fairyhouse in 1996, I am eagerly looking forward to this upcoming race. I have been training at Jessica Harrington’s yard and receiving jockey coaching from Paddy Flood to prepare. My goal is to raise €3,000 while maintaining my weight and fitness. All funds raised will support the valuable work of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund, and your kind donation is greatly appreciated.

Jenny Fitzsimons – Since childhood I have been involved with horses and later pursued a degree in Equine Management at CAFRE Enniskillen. My love for the horse racing industry blossomed during this time. While studying, I rode point-to-point horses and gained valuable experience working for local trainer David Christie. After graduating, I landed my first racing position with Tom Taaffe. With over 7 years in the horse racing sector, I now ride out every morning for Edward Lynam, and I have competed in the RDS Dublin Horse Show the last two years on retired racehorse People’s park. I am delighted to be involved with this years race, and would like to thank everyone for the support.

Megan O’Leary – I’m 24 years old and from County Westmeath, Ireland. I graduated with a four-year Bachelor of Commerce Degree from University College Dublin, and I am currently a student on the Godolphin Flying Start Programme. My interest in the thoroughbred industry evolved from growing up on a commercial stud farm in the Irish midlands. Prior to the Flying Start course, I gained experience in the USA preparing sales yearlings for Woods Edge Farm in Kentucky, and have worked for Joseph O’Brien at Carriganog Racing in Kilkenny. I am immensely excited to participate in this race at The Curragh Racecourse and helping raise vital funds for Irish Injured Jockeys. Thank you in advance.

Brian Mulvey – Irish Actor, born in Dublin, Brian has a passion for films and the process of story telling through the collaborative nature of film making. Often physically compared to fellow Irish actor Liam Nesson. Brian has previously worked with Pierce Brosan and was cast in the Harry Potter Universe film “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them”. Recently he has worked on Apple TV’s flagship science fiction series Foundation and has been cast as character in the upcoming Netflix Vikings Valhalla season 3. Brian, who has a lifelong love for horses, is an avid equestrian with a background in horsemanship and is excited to take on the physical challenge ahead. He expressed his enthusiasm for participating in the Corinthian Challenge, a charity initiative for the Injured Jockeys Fund, emphasizing the personal significance of this cause to him. Brian, a tall individual standing at 6 feet 2 inches from Ballinteer, is appreciative of the chance to achieve a lifelong goal by racing at the Curragh racecourse.

Joanne Quirke – My name is Joanne Quirke, mum of two gorgeous children, Annabelle (4) and Max (2) and married to professional flat jockey Gary Carroll, which is making this challenge all the more, well challenging! I see first hand on a daily basis the work ethic that goes into being a jockey, the hours on the treadmill, the miles clocked up in the car to and from the races, the highs the lows the injuries and the endless sacrifices. So when for some unfortunate reason this is taken away the Irish Injured Jockeys fund are on hand to assist. I am hoping to raise some awareness for the IIJ by taking part in the 2024 Corinthian Challenge. All money raised goes to supporting the incredible work of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund and your donation is greatly appreciated. 
Thank you.

Niamh Byrne – I am participating in the 2024 Corinthian Challenge to raise awareness and essential funds for Irish Injured Jockeys. Serving as the Marketing Manager for Naas Racecourse, my passion for horses began at a young age under the guidance of my father, Sean Byrne. Since the age of fourteen, I have also been involved with Jessica Harrington’s stable. After taking part in the Punchestown Charity Race, I eagerly anticipate the 21st of July when I will race at the renowned Curragh Racecourse. In th my goal is to raise €3,000 for Irish Injured Jockeys, and any form of support is greatly appreciated.

Diane Scannell – I began horseriding at a young age while growing up on a farm surrounded by horses. My first hunting outing was at age 7 during a local adult hunt in County Meath. After moving to Australia, I took a break from horses, but my passion was reignited upon my return. A few years ago, I started exercising racehorses for Paddy Magee and later at Fergal Harford’s Pre-training yard. My family has delved into horse racing, with my brothers owning racehorses. I have been lucky enough to be given the chance to rehome racehorse One Cool Poet, under one condition I ride him in a charity race! Thanks to owner Ollie Ryan, we have both taken up the challenge! I deeply admire the dedication of jockeys and would love to be able to help raise funds for Irish Injured Jockeys.

Heather MacKenzie – My love for horses started at the age 13, which later lead me to attend Hartpury College in the UK. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with different trainers including riding in point-to-point races for Lucinda Russell. I know this race is going to be great fun, and I have been getting plenty of training with trainers such as Andrew Slattery, Evanna McCutcheon and Phillip Fenton. My main aim for participating is to underscore the importance of mental health and engaging in activities that promote happiness and well-being. Horse riding has always been my refuge, and I am appreciative that I can balance this passion with my role as a sales manager at Plusvital. I am aiming to raise as much funds as I can to help Irish Injured jockeys fund these important resources.

Conor O’Hara – Equine veterinarian Conor, hails from Limerick has a deep-rooted love for horses. Having competed in show jumping up the National GP Level and occasionally ridden racehorses, he has now committed to riding out every morning. Engaging in this race serves a dual purpose, raising awareness and crucial funds for Irish Injured Jockeys. ”My aim is not only to secure €3,000 for this cause but also to sustain my fitness, manage my weight, receive race training to master riding techniques, and navigate my way around the Curragh Racecourse on the Derby course, something to tick off the bucket list! ”

Alannah O’Donoghue – I am a certified sports therapist hailing from Cashel. My equestrian journey began at the age of 12 with the Irish Pony Club, where I also gained accreditation as a riding instructor. I compete nationally in showjumping up to a level of 1.30m and have participated in the prestigious RDS Horse Show. For the past 5 years, I have been riding thoroughbreds in both flat and NH yards. This experience has inspired me to participate in the 2024 Corinthian Challenge. I am excited about the opportunity to step into the jockeys boots and race around such a prestigious racetrack, whilst also raising awareness for Injured Jockeys.

Stephanie Carter – Is a guard from Portlaoise, and is thrilled to be participating in the 2024 Corinthian Challenge. ”I have been active in Pony Club from a young age and gained experience working in breaking training yards after school. About two years ago, I began riding out for James Fahey, and former Corinthian Heather Heffernan, who has inspired me to ride in this years race. My goal is to raise €3,000 for the Irish Injured Jockeys while also focusing on maintaining my weight and fitness, ive been receiving race coaching from Paddy Flood in RACE and he’s been helping me with all aspects of training. Your donation will contribute to the remarkable efforts of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund, and I am grateful for any support”

Suzie Quirke – I grew up on the Curragh, and rode all my life – my father was a trainer and indeed one of the founders of RACE where Irish Injured Jockeys is located. Racing is in my DNA and has been for generations back. The Corinthian Challenge first captured my imagination in 2016 which I participated, unfortunately I never got to ride in the final race due to injury so I am back now to give it another go! I’m very passionate about horse racing and aware of the injury rates occurred too. Jockeys risk accident and injury every time they get legged up in the parade ring. I know a lot of people who love racing and indeed have enjoyed a lot of success on the track and I’ll be encouraging them HARD to give a bit back to the guys who give them so much enjoyment!

Ryan Sands is 25 and from Drogheda, having grown up around horses since he was young, he has experience with sports horses and he is also a keen GAA player. Ryan’s family ventured into racehorse ownership, a few years back and have had some great success recently with their Bronsan Racing Syndicate with winners for Jessica Harrington and Joseph O’Brien. In addition to raising €3,000 for Irish Injured Jockeys, his personal challenge involves maintaining his fitness, and receiving race coaching to master riding techniques that are different to sports horse riding. All funds raised will directly support the admirable efforts of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund, and your contribution is sincerely appreciated.