Jonjo O’Neill continues to enjoy one of the most successful careers in horseracing. As a jockey and dual-purpose trainer he has reached virtually every height this great sport has to offer, along the way overcoming adversity, including beating cancer. Through all of this, his love of horseracing, his affinity with horses and thirst for success has never changed.
Jonjo O’Neill was born on April 13th 1952 in County Cork, Ireland. His boyhood ambition was to become a jockey and after leaving school he began an apprenticeship with Michael Connolly. In 1970 he rode his first winner when Lana dead heated at the Curragh.
In 1977/78, he broke the record for most winners in a season. His tally of one hundred and forty nine beat the previous record (held by former champion and one of Jonjo’s closest friends, Ron Barry) by twenty four. The following season, he claimed the Jockeys’ Championship for a second successive time.
Jonjo was a hugely popular figure as a jockey. In a career spanning 16 years (between 1970 and 1986), he notched up 901 winners, and secured a reputation as one of the greatest jump jockeys of all time.
Jonjo is widely remembered for riding Dawn Run, the only horse to win the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He also had a wonderful partnership with Sea Pigeon, on whom he won the Champion Hurdle in 1980.
Jonjo O’Neill is one of racing’s outstanding National Hunt trainers.
His career as a trainer began in 1986, the same year he was also diagnosed with cancer. With trademark determination, he battled and overcame Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Based at Penrith for 15 years, he moved to Jackdaws Castle, near Cheltenham, in 2001.
He remains the only person to register a seasonal tally of 100 winners as both a jockey and trainer. Additionally, he is the only person to ride and train a winner on the Flat, and over fences and hurdles at Ascot.
Currently in his 19th season at this state-of-the-art Jackdaws Castle, Jonjo has joined an elite band of trainers with 2,000 winners, among them 26 Cheltenham Festival successes and, famously in April 2010, the Grand National at Aintree with Don’t Push It and 2012 the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Synchronised.
Set in 500 acres of glorious Cotswolds countryside just 25 minutes from Cheltenham Racecourse, Jackdaws Castle is arguably the finest training facility in British jump racing.
With three grass gallops, two all-weather gallops of five-furlongs and one-mile, outstanding schooling grounds featuring series of hurdles, brush hurdles and regular chasing fences, an equine swimming pool, an indoor school and an equine solarium, your horses will experience the very best care from our passionate and talented team.