Both on the flat and over jumps, Ireland's jockeys are among the best in the world riding the best horses in the best races, and achieving the finest victories through peerless horsemanship and often raw courage and determination. Now, top racing journalist Brian O'Connor profiles twelve of the finest jockeys currently riding Ireland six from the flat, six from the National Hunt. His subjects range from the ageless maestro Michael Kinane (victorious in the Derby yet again in 2009) to Tony McCoy, perhaps the most single-minded winning-machine ever to have sat astride a horse, whose will to keep riding winners, and to squeeze that last drop of energy out of a horse to propel it first past the post, know no equal. Here, also, are engaging characters like Barry Geraghty, mercurial talents like Timmy Murphy, and one of the best women jockeys anywhere, Nina Carberry, who is not only continuing a great family dynasty but competes on equal terms with the best of the men. Increasingly it is Irish jockeys who are piloting the winners at all the great racing occasions witness Ruby Walsh's stunning succession of winners at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival.
Through revealing new interviews Kings of the Saddle seeks the reasons for this Irish pre-eminence in the upbringing, the apprenticeship and riding careers of these twelve great sportsmen and women but also in their own individual characters, full of tenacity, determination and, above all, immense natural riding ability. Witty, droll, drawing on an intimate knowledge of the racing world, Kings of the Saddle is a fascinating, instructive and engrossing insight into horsemanship at its finest. Ireland's finest jockeys currently riding - twelve studies in the finest horsemanship On the Flat: Michael Kinane, John Murtagh, Jamie Spencer, Kieren Fallon, Pat Smullen and Kevin Manning. Over Jumps: Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, Tony McCoy, Paul Carberry, Timmy Murphy and Nina Carberry. Brian O'Connor is Racing Correspondent of the Irish Times. His previous book is Add A Zero. He lives near Dublin.