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    Dane O'Neill Retires from Racing After Struggling with Injuries
Dane O'Neill Retires from Racing After Struggling with Injuries
Dane O'Neill. Source: britishchampionsseries.com

Dane O'Neill Retires from Racing After Struggling with Injuries

Dane O'Neill has made the decision to retire after being unable to sufficiently recover from injuries sustained in a fall at Wolverhampton in July. O'Neill, who is 48 years old, began his riding career in 1992 and had a long association with Richard Hannon Senior. He later became the stable jockey for Henry Candy and then took on the role of second jockey to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum behind Paul Hanagan in 2012. When Jim Crowley replaced Hanagan in 2016, O'Neill remained in the position. Although he often rode the second-string horses in major races, he had the opportunity to ride many exceptional horses that carried the well-known blue and white Shadwell colours.

During his career, O'Neill achieved notable victories, including winning the inaugural Commonwealth Cup on Muhaarar, the September Stakes on Mostahdaf, and guiding Baaeed to his first two wins. However, due to the fall, O'Neill suffered seven broken ribs and a fractured T6 vertebra. Despite making efforts to recover, the injuries have not healed sufficiently. O'Neill explained that there is a significant gap between the vertebrae, and although some filling has occurred, it is mainly scar tissue, making it vulnerable to further impact.

On a positive note, O'Neill mentioned that once his injuries stabilised, he experienced minimal pain and was leading a normal life. He expressed gratitude for the 32 years he devoted to his career, acknowledging that while it was not the ending he desired, it represented a substantial portion of his life. O'Neill reflected on his three jobs throughout his career, starting with Richard Hannon, then becoming Henry Candy's stable jockey, and finally joining Sheikh Hamdan's team. He expressed appreciation to those who supported him, including Henry Candy, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikha Hissa.

O'Neill reminisced about the horses he rode, highlighting the exceptional speed of Battaash and the significance of winning the first Commonwealth Cup on Muhaarar. He also mentioned his experience riding Mostahdaf and Mohaather, emphasising the latter's exceptional performance in the Summer Mile.

Regarding his plans, O'Neill stated that he is uncertain about what he will do next but expects to remain involved in the racing industry in some capacity. Racing has been his sole profession, having left school at the age of 16, and he intends to continue his involvement in the sport.

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