Keith Donoghue makes the grade in 30-question challenge

Dunshaughlin man and top national hunt jockey Keith Donoghue took the Horse Racing Ireland 30-question challenge for the Meath Chronicle in the sixth of our series.

1. What was your childhood ambition?

I always wanted to be a jockey.

2. Growing up, who was your sporting hero?

Paul Carberry.

3. Do you have a mentor?

My Mam.

4. What or where is your happy place?

On my hunter ‘The Governor’ or playing football.

5. What sparked your love of racing?

Going to Fairyhouse with my grandad Brendan Lynch from a young age. He celebrated his 90th birthday at the end of April and he looked after the public gallops at the track, but I don’t remember ever not loving racing.

6. What horse put you on the map?

Tiger Roll.

7. Your favourite horse?

The Governor or Tiger Roll. It is very hard to split them.

8. What was it like to ride in your first race?

I only found out the morning of my first ride, so I did not have much time to think about anything and I just got there in time.

9. Describe the feeling of riding your first winner?

It’s a brilliant feeling - I had been dreaming of it for 16 years!

10. What is your most memorable racing moment?

I’m torn between two. Winning the 2018 and 2019 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase in Cheltenham on Tiger Roll or winning my first Grade 1 on Hardline at the 2018 Limerick Christmas Festival. It was the first Grade 1 race held at Limerick Racecourse.

11. What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?

Fairyhouse or Navan.

12. If you weren’t a jockey what would you be?

God knows! I don’t know anything else, maybe play football for Meath, but not much money in that.

13. If you could ride one horse, what would it be?

Envoi Allen

14. How do you cope with pressure?

I thrive from pressure. I rather ride on days there is pressure than days there is none

15. What mental preparation do you do for the big days?

Running and the sauna

16. How do you stay motivated?

Obviously, it is tough with my weight, but riding winners helps me.

17. How do you deal with dips in form?

It can be tough, but I have to think of life outside racing, there are always people worse off than me.

18. Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?

Scoring my first goal for Skryne junior footballers.

19. Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation?

Not good on Netflix.

20. What is your guilty pleasure?

Eating. I love a McDonalds.

21. Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?

Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor

The Dance - Garth Brooks

Blinding Lights - The Weeknd

22. What person do you admire the most and why?

My mam, she does everything for me and I mean everything.

23. Favourite dinner?

Steak on a stone in An Sibin in Dunshaughlin.

24. Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?

I don’t go on many holidays. I’m a home bird, I love just being with the lads

25. What ambitions do you still have?

I’d love to ride more Grade 1 winners and break 17 minutes for running 5km.

26. What is the hidden gem of Meath?

Maria Kealy in Transform Health in Kilmessan.

27. When you think of Meath what immediately springs to mind?

Football and racing, some great sports people in Meath.

28. How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions?

I’m still working and riding out in Gordon Elliott’s and doing a lot of running and snapchatting.

29. If you were to go back to when you were 20 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t’ get a girlfriend, live your life.

30. Favourite saying/quote?

Baby we made it.

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