| 13.2°C Dublin

Solicitor takes silk to lead field at Cheltenham

MEET the Dublin solicitor on course to be a front runner at Cheltenham, where she will compete as a jockey.

Grainne Loughnane (27) works as a solicitor from Monday to Friday, but manages to combine her busy legal career with her passion for horse-riding.

To date, Grainne has had about 30 rides as an amateur jockey, and she is particularly looking forward to Cheltenham where she will compete in the St Patrick's Day Derby.

"I can't wait. It is a once in a lifetime experience. To get an opportunity to ride at Cheltenham is what dreams are made of," she told the Herald.


Originally from Castleknock in Dublin, she has worked with Walsh & Co as a general practice solicitor at Dublin Street in Dundalk for the past three years.

Grainne, who now lives in Co Meath, said: "It will be competitive, because everybody dreams of having the winner at Cheltenham."

She will be taking part in the 1.5 mile race at the world famous racecourse.

"There will be four Irish riders in that race altogether," she said.

The search for the ideal horse to take her there began two years ago, and she came across Newmill, who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2006 at the festival.

Having competed together several times over the past two years, Grainne said that she is confident that Newmill will live up to his form over the famous track at the St Patrick's Day Derby.

It is a charity event, so all the riders have to fundraise £5,000 (€5,800) each for Cancer Research.

Grainne has some fundraising events organised already, including a charity ball next month, and is hoping to exceed that target as it is a very worthy cause.

Grainne has been a keen horse rider since the age of 12.

"I took horse riding lessons with my confirmation money and that was it.

"I then got a pony when I was 15," she said. She then began racing when she was 20.

Grainne is organising a black tie charity ball on February 23 in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.

Contact grainneloughnane@yahoo.ie for tickets, or make a donation directly to www.justgiving.com/grainneloughnane.