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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Dylan Browne McMonagle

Dylan after riding his first racecourse winner on Jemellea at Navan in October
© Photo Healy Racing

Hamley brought up my eighth winner of the year at Leopardstown last night and you would have to say that things are going well for me at the moment. Hopefully it keeps up.

All I ever wanted to be was a jockey and it was great to start off last September once I turned 16 and manage four winners, getting my first winner within a few weeks on Jumellea for Joseph O’Brien at Navan. Things have continued from there and being based with Joseph has been a great help.

You couldn’t get a better place to work, it’s so laidback. You couldn’t get a better place for horses either. The positive vibe around the yard means it’s the same for the horses as the people and they’re so easy going too. It’s great that there’s such a good atmosphere in the yard.

Joseph himself is very easy to work for. You couldn’t ask for a better boss. Anything you ever need, he’s always there to help you. He gives us all fair opportunities, giving us all winners, so we’re all happy.

Without a doubt Tonkinese has been my highlight so far by winning in the Apprentice Derby at the Curragh on the Friday of Irish Derby Weekend. It was a bit strange with no crowds but it’s the Gold Cup for apprentices. It only comes around once a year so to win it on a big weekend, it was very good. I won on Tonkinese again in Leopardstown last week, so we seem to get on well together.

I was in a short documentary five years ago called Five Stone Of Lead which about me pursuing a dream of being a jockey. At least I have made it this far! Pony racing went well for me from the start. I won the Dingle Derby twice and two national pony racing championships. I rode 218 winners overall on the circuit.

Dylan is from Co. Donegal
© Photo Healy Racing

I didn’t find the attention that brought at such a young age as an added pressure. I went on and did well afterwards. If anything it was an advantage to have on your side and to have people like AP McCoy offering help and advice because they'd seen or heard about me.

But you’re starting at the bottom of the ladder again when you switch to the track. I suppose it was a bit easier for me as people already knew my name from the pony racing but that adds a bit of pressure too.

There were always ponies around home when I was younger. I grew up with them and racing was always the route I was going to take.

I know the Orr brothers well. Oisín and Conor’s stepmum Rachel actually taught me how to ride. I used to have my lessons on a pony that we all learned our trade on, named Kipper. The three of us started off on him. Rachel was very good to me when I was younger. She gave me my first winner pony racing as well.

I have given up boxing now I’m racing full-time. It was handy to keep fit and build a bit of strength. I was lucky enough to win five Ulster titles and a National title two years ago at 39kgs. I enjoyed boxing but It wasn’t a hard choice for me to make to focus on racing!

Joseph's uncle Kevin O’Ryan is my agent and you couldn’t ask for better to have on your side. Hopefully I can make the best of the opportunities that come my way. I haven't set myself any real targets. All I want to do is keep the head down, ride as many winners as I can and keep learning every day. This is what I have always wanted to do.

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