Kildare jockey Robbie Dolan touched the hearts of the racing world with a fairytale first Group 1 in the Moet & Chandon Sprint Champion Stakes at Randwick.
The 25-year-old rode Profondo to victory in the $1m race, which was the pilot’s first top-level triumph since relocating to Sydney in September 2016.
Dolan couldn’t contain his emotions in a touching interview with Sky reporter Lizzie Jelfs.
“I don’t know what to say,’’ said a tearful Dolan.
“First of all thanks to the owners for keeping me on the horse today because they could have put anyone on him – I can’t even speak.
“I pulled the stick though, I panicked a little bit. For the owners to keep me on him today is a token of how nice a people they are.
“They deserve that as well. He’s a tricky horse to ride, it probably played into my hands of why I kept the ride on him today.
“Richard [Litt, trainer] has done an amazing job with the horse, to get him to win a Group 1 in his first couple of starts is insane. I was absolutely cruising at the 400 metres going past a Group 1 winner and nothing was catching me.”
Robbie’s late grandfather Peadar Matthews won two Irish Classics as a jockey, landing the Irish St Leger on Paddy Prendergast’s Arctic Vale and then the 2,000 Guineas on Linacre.
His father, Robbie, was a jockey for Dermot Weld and a key man at his yard.
“My dad sits up and watches every race I ride in, doesn’t matter if it’s bloody out in the country or in the city. He watches it,” said Robbie.
“He’s up there probably having a cup of tea now. I’d say the neighbours will know I rode a winner.”
Dolan enrolled at RACE in 2012-13 and earned his apprentice licence working for Adrian Keatley in 2015. A year later, he moved to Melbourne to work with trainer John Sadler.
Profondo’s trainer Richard Litt paid tribute to Robbie’s ride at Randwick having stood by the jockey despite criticism of his ride when beaten in the Gloaming Stakes.
“I’m so proud of Robbie,’’ Litt said.
“I rang him on Friday and said this is the last time I will talk to you before the race. You know what to do, you know what you have under you.
“Robbie is a wonderful person, a wonderful jockey, and he’s done a wonderful job there.
“He rolled outside the leader and I was about to have a heart attack but he knew what he was doing. He knew what the horse can do and he had great faith. We’re just very, very proud of him.” – Horseracing Ireland.
Pic: Robbie Dolan with dad Bobby and Mother Paula. (hre.ie).