Forget the darts. Shimna has its very own emerging young talent in Year 12 student Sam Hamilton who rode in his first horse race at the Down Royal course on Boxing Day. Having received his licence, Sam is now eligible to compete ‘under rules’. His debut was made all the better for being able to ride in his father’s colours before Mr Hamilton, a former amateur champion himself, takes up a prestigious new role with Horse Racing Ireland.
For the record, Sam rode in the Metcollect Met Recycling Pro-am race. While he did not make the winner’s enclosure this time, Sam guided his horse safely home for a respectable top ten finish, riding alongside a field of more experienced senior jockeys. The horse, appropriately named Tollymore, was well placed before falling behind in the closing stages.
Looking back on what was an exhilarating day, Sam said: “It was a great thrill to ride my first race in front of a big crowd at such a famous course. It was a privilege to ride alongside such dedicated and professional jockeys.”
Sam has made an impressive start to what he intends as a career in the racing industry. He has certainly earned his opportunity. Sam has been riding since the age of three, gaining valuable experience across Ireland, honing his skills in eventing, showjumping and dressage. He is an example of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.
We congratulate Sam and look forward to celebrating the first Shimna jockey to win the National in the not too distant future.