Dobbin Adds to Honours Gained by the Pony Class ; NEW FACES FOR '95: A Stylish Graduate of Ireland's Riding Academies Has Established Himself at Greystoke. Greg Wood Reports `Gordon Richards Knows What He's Talking about and for Him to Offer Me a Job Is Enough for Me to Feel Good'
Wood, Greg, The Independent (London, England)
The search for the next British-born champion jumps jockey may soon seem as fruitless as the quest for the Ashes. This season's three leading riders, Richard Dunwoody, Adrian Maguire and Norman Williamson, are Irish, and potentially top-class joc keys are emerging from across the water so frequently that it no longer feels like mere co-incidence.
Tony Dobbin is the latest product of this stream of talent to make his mark in Britain, and he offers a possible clue to its source. Like Maguire and many others before him, he acquired a taste for competition in childhood, on Ireland's pony-racing circuit, an experience which he believes was invaluable.
"They've all done it, Mark Dwyer, Charlie Swan, Declan Murphy," Dobbin says, "and I've actually ridden in pony races against Adrian Maguire. It's a great beginning, it gives you a big head-start."
It is a mark of the pony-racing circuit's depth and competitiveness that it could bring together Dobbin, from Downpatrick in County Down, Ulster, and Maguire, who grew up in County Meath, in Ireland's eastern province, Leinster. Maguire was, and remains,a phenomenon - even as a child, Dobbin reports, no-one dared to take his ground - but Dobbin, a year younger at 22, has made significant progress this season on his own road to the top.
To clear the forbidding obstacle which separates the promising riders from the elite, a young jockey needs either a good job, a good horse or a big win. Dobbin has all three, having taken the Hennessy Gold Cup in November on One Man for the trainer who retains him, Gordon Richards.
The simple fact that one of jumping's finest trainers was prepared to offer Dobbin a job says much for the Irishman's potential, and the significance of the move is not lost on him. "That man knows what he's talking about," he says, "and for him to offerme that job is enough for me to feel good about. …