Leading Conditional Rider 2016-17 Rachael Blackmore and Co. Kilkenny-born Donagh Meyler flew out to Australia on Saturday last, August 26th, to join Australian-based Irish jockeys, Kilmore Quay’s Martin Kelly and Shane Jackson from Baltinglass, who will make up the Irish team for the 2017 Australia v Ireland Jockey Challenge.
This is the 31st consecutive year that an Irish team has been invited to Australia to participate in the challenge. There have already been 41 contests staged in the two countries, with Ireland taking the honours on 25 occasions, Australia winning 15 times and one draw.
Nominated by Thoroughbred Racing South Australia, jumps jockeys Martin Kelly and Shane Jackson live and work in Australia and the South Australian Racing Authority hopes that, including them in the Irish team, will encourage more Irish jockeys to travel to Australia. Martin has Von Doussa and Great Eastern victories to his name both aboard champion jumper Thubiaan, while Shane took this year’s Australian Chase aboard the Symon Wilde-trained Gold Medals.
This year’s competition begins at Murray Bridge on Wednesday August 30th. The team will then travel to Morphettville Racecourse for Irish Day on Saturday September 2nd to complete the challenge.