There is no bigger badge of honour among jockeys than a gravity-defying recovery from a bad mistake – and even better if it results in an unlikely victory.
Who can forget Brendan Powell sitting limpet-like to Rhyme ‘n’ Reason in the 1988 Grand National when he sprawled on landing at Becher’s Brook first time round or, before him, Tommy Carberry perched on L’Escargot’s ears in the 1975 National?
A mares’ point-to-point it might have been rather than the National, but it was no surprise that, on Sunday night, 20-year-old Irish amateur Mikey Sweeney went viral on social media after his astonishing retrieval from a lost cause at the Killeagh point-to-point at Boulta, Fermoy.
Just to put you in the picture, Sweeney, with just seven winners to his credit and only four rides under rules, was riding Ask Heather for his boss, Declan Queally. He was going hammer and tongs with Derek O’Connor, winner of 1,200 points and three races at the Cheltenham Festival, on What’s The Story approaching the last fence where, as luck would have it, racecourse photographer Liam Healy was stationed.
Ask Heather was just getting the upper hand when she took off a stride early, banked the fence – if it was raining birch in parts of Cork that was the reason – and Sweeney found himself exiting stage right.