CAFRE Enniskillen student wins prestigious amateur racing title

Date published: 16 November 2016

CAFRE Enniskillen student Alice Kavanagh has won a prestigious amateur horseracing title, helping raise more than €120,000 for Irish Injured Jockeys in the process.

Alice pictured with Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen in the racing simulator room during the Minister’s recent visit to CAFRE Enniskillen

The Corinthian Challenge is a three race series for the 12 best amateur jockeys on the island. Participants commit to a six month training and fitness programme while also raising funds for the Irish Injured Jockeys charity.

Alice, 23 and originally from Kildare, made the cut from a large pool of applicants and set about raising the funds needed to take part through a range of methods ranging from corporate sponsorship to donations from family, friends and the wider community.

The three races took place between May and October at three of Ireland’s top racecourses, at Naas, the Curragh and Leopardstown. Having finished fifth in Naas on Yellow Emperor, Alice went on to win at the Curragh on Vivat Rex and rode the same horse to fourth place at Leopardstown.

In doing so she secured enough points to take the title of 2016 Corinthian Challenge Champion, while helping the 12 participants smash their original fundraising target of €100,000 for Irish Injured Jockeys.

Speaking about the experience, Alice said: “I have had a lifelong love of horses and equestrianism and winning the Corinthian Challenge is the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment.

“The aim of the challenge is not just to raise funds for the Irish Injured Jockeys charity, but also to highlight the vital work the organisation does to help jockeys who sustain injuries while racing.

“To make the top 12 and gain entry to the race series was hugely satisfying; to come out on top overall is far beyond what I had initially hoped to achieve.

“I have met so many lovely people and raced on some of the best racetracks in Ireland and am so grateful to have had this amazing opportunity.”

Alice also acknowledged the role of CAFRE’s Enniskillen campus, where she studies equine management: “I am greatly enjoying my studies at CAFRE Enniskillen. The staff and facilities there are brilliant – having access to the riding simulators has been invaluable in my training and maintaining the fitness required to compete.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped me during this experience and all those who have donated to what is a very important cause.”

Director of CAFRE Martin McKendry has congratulated Alice on her achievement: “I am absolutely delighted to see Alice secure the Corinthian Challenge and help raise so much money for Irish Injured Jockeys. Equestrianism is Alice’s passion and her dedication is plain to see. Alice is a credit to herself and to CAFRE – well done!”

Alice’s Just Giving page is still open for donations: 

Notes to editors: 

  1. The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) is part of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). More on CAFRE Enniskillen on their website.
  2. More information on the Corinthian Challenge is available on their website.
  3. The Irish Injured Jockeys website
  4. Follow us on Twitter: @daera_ni 
  5. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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