Kiwi O’Beirne back in the saddle

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Charlotte O’Beirne

Riding a winner five months after giving birth is not a bad feat, and that’s exactly what New Zealand jockey Charlotte O’Beirne achieved at Wanganui on Thursday.

The Central Districts apprentice guided the James Sweetensen-trained Liffey to a three-quarter of a length win in the Nga Tawa Diocesan School 1600, and O’Beirne was all smiles when saluting the judge on her return.

“It was very exciting, it is nice to be back,” she said.

“That was my second raceday back and my seventh ride since returning. It was good to get that monkey off my back.”

O’Beirne returned to ride track work in March after giving birth to her and partner Keil Collins’ son Harry in December and she said her employers Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard have been very supportive.

“I crept back into it (riding track work) in March, riding out of Johno and Hollie’s stable, which has been really good,” she said. “They have been fantastic in getting me going and helping me get fit.”

With former jockey Collins also working on raceday as an assistant starter, and plying his trade as a fencing contractor, O’Beirne said family have been a godsend when it comes to childcare.

“We have got grandparents on speed dial at the moment,” she quipped. “Harry was with my Dad yesterday, and Keil’s mum looks after him quite a lot.

“We have got quite a few people who are happy to put their hand up and babysit him.

“It allows Keil and myself to work. We are very lucky in that respect and I am very fortunate with the stable that I am in that they are flexible and help when they can.

“Luckily he is a pretty cruisy baby, he is quite used to being dropped off and being picked up again. We are very lucky.”

O’Beirne is happy to be back riding on raceday and is looking forward to the coming months, where she expects Thursday’s winner Liffey to improve.

“It was a really nice run from that horse on Thursday,” she said. “I think she is quite a progressive type.

“She has still got a bit to learn, she is still a bit green, but she is a horse that can go on with it, she is a very nice type. She is still about six months away, but she is a really nice horse.”

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