BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Other Sports: Horse Racing  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
Statistics
US Sport
Horse Racing
Snooker
Sailing
Cycling
Skiing
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Monday, 28 October, 2002, 14:25 GMT
Right place, wrong time

Adrian Maguire was the greatest jump jockey never to end up as champion jockey.

Appearing on the scene in the early 1990s, Maguire, tough, talented and charismatic, knocked out winners in a similar manner to that now displayed by the record-breaking Tony McCoy.

But a combination of injury and the appearance of McCoy meant that Maguire missed the champion's bus.

Republic of Ireland jump jockey Adrian Maguire
Maguire has over 1,000 career winners

Despite his achievements at the Cheltenham Festival, Maguire will always be remembered for his short-head defeat in the jump jockey's title of the 1993/94 season.

Ultimately, Richard Dunwoody, the holder, saw off Maguire, but only after a gargantuan struggle, with the advantage swinging first one way, then the other.

To illustrate the gap between the two, when Maguire partnered his first British winner, in 1991 aged 19, Dunwoody was 27, and possessed a series of Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and other big race trophies.

Maguire fan

I spent a bright June day flying with Maguire from an afternoon fixture at Stratford on to Market Rasen in the evening.

As our helicopter flew above Warwickshire, either rider could have won, though by the time we landed in Lincolnshire, Dunwoody's successes had made him favourite.

Then came two Market Rasen wins for the challenger, so, for the umpteenth time, anything became possible.

But Maguire finally ran out of ammunition, and Dunwoody won by 197 winners to 194, huge totals.

Recalling the flight home reminds me why I am such a Maguire fan.

Though drained and disappointed, he refused to be downhearted, insisting that his time would come, and that we should toast the moment.

Racing certainty

Aware that I regularly stayed with friends in his home village of Kilmessan, Co. Meath, Maguire suggested that we celebrate further during Irish Derby weekend, a few weeks later.

On arrival in the village, my rather impressed host indicated his phone lines had been buzzing with invitations for us to watch that night's Ireland v Mexico World Cup match in the local pub with the local hero.

A fine night was had by all, ending up in a Chinese restaurant in nearby Navan, into which we hungrily descended at goodness knows what time.

Adrian Maguire
Maguire rode his first winner in 1991

Inside the restaurant was an ornamental pool, full of coloured fish. Maguire, and his girlfriend (now wife) Sabrina, had with them their dog, named Muttley, who obviously fancied a swim.

The dog plunged straight into the water, much to the amusement of his owners, but to the consternation of the head waiter.

It seemed likely we would be shown the door.

But remember among our party was the greatest Republic of Ireland-born jockey of his era.

As soon as that was realised, waiters removed their coats, saucepans were restored to the stoves, and a feast was prepared.

And, to think, people wonder why some of us adore Ireland.

It is partly, of course, for the late night philosophy of restaurants in Navan and elsewhere, but even more for the country's ability to produce racing heros like Adrian Maguire.

Jump jockey Adrian Maguire announces his retirement

Top jockey quits

Profile

Cornelius Lysaght

Have your say

The winning post
Links to more Horse Racing stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Horse Racing stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales