WITH only a week to go to their big on course debut we are thrilled to introduce another Corinthian Challenger in this weekly column dedicated to the series and the charity it is run in aid of Irish Injured Jockeys.

The first of the three-race series will be held at the Curragh next Sunday, July 17th. The Corinthian Challengers were recently brought along to the Curragh Racecourse with the compliments of the track to get a feel for the venue and get to know one another.

They may all seem like pals today but by the last race on the card on Sunday 17th it will be down to business and every rider for his or herself!

The remainder of the series will take place at Gowran Park and Leopardstown Racecourses in September and October respectively.

Riders will accumulate points for placings throughout the challenge in a league style format and the overall winner to be announced following the final race in Leopardstown on Saturday, October 22nd.

Each week until the series concludes, The Irish Field will feature this column, giving you a unique insight into the people behind the challenge along with series news and updates.

Our third rider to get the leg up in The Irish Field is Michelle O’Brien from Cork.

Michelle grew up around horses and has ridden from an early age going to point-to-points, riding club to riding out their own racehorses.

Passion for horses

Michelle’s father held a restricted National Hunt licence for several years and there were always horses at home. She never lost her passion for horses and loves nothing more than looking after her retired racehorse Cloudy Morning, who gave the family many great days out and is still galloping around the fields.

An engineer by profession, this lady has put a great deal of time into riding out and training for this challenge around work.

Michelle is riding out two mornings a week at Terence O’Brien’s. This has been fantastic balance for her, as her day job as a project engineer in the pharmaceutical industry can be demanding.

She is also a busy mum to 11-year-old Cathal, who will be cheering her at all three race meetings that are set to take place.

Michelle is passionate about all thing’s horses, especially welfare. Michelle is a former Director of the Irish Horse Welfare Trust. The trust was set up to help with the plight of neglected horses in Ireland.

It was established to provide a dedicated centre that is equipped for dealing with the rehabilitation and rehoming of equines.

Speaking about the series, Michelle commented: “I feel very fortunate to be able to participate in this year’s Corinthian Challenge horse race charity series.

“The fund does a tremendous job by raising funds to provide enhanced help, care, and support to jockeys, past and present, when in need.

“I hope that my efforts in raising funds for the charity will help in some way. I know I would regret this forever if I did not take the chance to ride at these great tracks over the next few months.”

Knowing that she is facing a huge challenge, Michelle is eager to begin racing and training has already begun.

As an avid racegoer, point-to-points and the track, she really loves the excitement of race day and the anticipation of how things will work out, we are looking forward to seeing how Michelle and the rest of the challengers get on during their first race next weekend.


To stay up to date on all things Corinthian Challenge Charity Race Series related, visit corinthianchallenge.com or follow IIJ and the Corinthian Challenge on social media.

To help Michelle O’Brien specifically on her fundraising quest for this worthy cause simply visit www.corinthianchallenge.com and follow the links to her official Just Giving page.