Herberststown, Co Limerick jockey Donal McInerney celebrates his big Paddy Power Chase success aboard Auvergnat at Leopardstown this Thursday
LIMERICK jockey Donal McInerney celebrated the biggest win of his career when partnering Auvergnat to a thrilling victory in the featured €200,000 Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown this afternoon.
To complete a memorable afternoon for Limerick racing enthusiasts at the Foxrock track, big race winner Auvergnat is trained in Bruree by Enda Bolger and is owned by leading racehorse owner JP McManus.
Auvergnat was returned a 28/1 shot in the three mile contest which carries a first prize of €110,000. The eight-year-old proved six and a half lengths too good for runner-up Vieux Morvan.
Afterwards winning jockey Donal McInerney revealed that it was his fourth time to ride Auvergnat to victory.
McInerney said: “It is great. The horse jumped and travelled everywhere. I was a bit handier than I wanted to be early, but he was taking such a grip, I just had to leave him there.
“This is my fourth win on him now, three cross country races and this. It’s not a bad race to win, so it’s great.
“It’s definitely the biggest win of my career, without a doubt.”
Winning trainer Enda Bolger was lavish praise of winning jockey McInerney.
Bolger said: “Donie (Donal McInerney) was on fire all the way with him. We chanced the blinkers on him last week at the Curragh in a bit of work and then we put them on at the last minute today. He was travelling well all the way
“Donie knows the horse very well. He has won the La Touce (at the Punchestown Festival) on him this year. I know today was a big day, but the La Touche will be the plan again.
“We are over the moon. It is a great pot to get as well. It is great for Donie. He works hard. He was in on Christmas morning first thing. Mr McManus is great to give those guys their chances and I am lucky to have a nice horse like him.”
Donal McInerney rode out for winning trainer Bolger and John Gleeson while at school and worked for another Limerick trainer Charles Byrnes for a year after completing his Leaving Certificate in 2012 before joining Robert Tyner.
Talented young Limerick horseman McInerney has worked for Bolger on a full-time basis since 2015 and while he failed to ride a winner on the track as an amateur rider, his luck changed straight away when he turned professional.
Just two days after gaining his licence, he partnered the Bolger-trained Auvergnat to win the PP Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase at Punchestown on in February 2017. It was his first ride in the paid ranks.
McInerney enjoyed a terrific start to his professional career and less than 15 months after his initial success, he was crowned champion conditional rider for the 2017/18 season with a total of 33 winners.
McInerney also rode Paddy Power winner Auvergnat at this year’s Punchestown festival when the horse that gave him his first winner, won the historic La Touche Cup over the famed banks’ course.
There was disappointment for big-race winning owner McManus after it emerged his popular five-time Grade 1-winning chaser Carlingford Lough died of a suspected heart attack soon after crossing the finish line in the Paddy Power Chase.