There was a first for Irish racing on the card at Gowran last night when jockeys’ Christian names appeared on the racecard for the first time.
The use of jockeys’ first names on the race card was carried out on a trial basis at the Punchestown festival in April and was used for the apprentice Derby at the Curragh last Friday night.
Not all Irish jockeys have agreed to change to first names. 129 of the 164 jockeys who are licenced to ride in Ireland have switched to using their first names. The most high profile jockeys who will still go by their initials are multiple champion Ruby Walsh, who will still be listed as R Walsh, and Derby winner Joseph O’Brien who will continue to go by JP O’Brien
The move echoes that introduced by the BHA in Britain two years ago, which has proved to be highly successful. The Turf Club here is hoping that more jockeys will switch to using their first names in the near future.