Proud dad Des basking in sons' sporting glory

PROUD FATHER Des Jacob was not in Aintree on Saturday to see son Jacob ride Neptune Collognes to victory by a now in the Grand National.

But the Davidstown landscaper made sure to back the horse which came home by a nose at odds of 33/1. And his memorable sporting weekend was completed when youngest son Alan played his part for Enniscorthy RFC at scrum half in the winning of rugby's Provincial Towns Cup at Portarlington on Sunday.

'I am basking in reflected glory,' declared Des happily. He revealed that jockey Daryl did not have time to celebrate his momentous victory in the National Hunt showpiece. Instead, the winning rider went to visit his friend Noel Fehily in hospital, where he was being treated for a broken leg. The injury was sustained in a fall during the big race.

'It's a nice feather in his cap,' remarked Des of his son's headline grabbing success. The father, who has three sons and a daughter, recalled that the future jockey excelled at rugby and Gaelic games while growing up. But he was also drawn to the ponies owned by neighbour Peter O'neill at Money here.

Daryl was educated at St. Mary's primary school in Enniscorthy and later attended Kilkenny College though he made it clear to parents Des and Anne that he was more interested in horses than formal education. He shaped up well as a show jumper in his youth before an opportunity came to enter the world of racing during a gap year from school.

'We wanted him to carry on at school but it never happened,' mused Des, who now realises that the future big race star picked up valuable experience away from the classroom in places such as the Kildare yard of Dessie Hughes. A move to the UK followed in 2003.

Daryl Jacob now lives at Wincanton in Somerset, close to his place of work with leading trainer Paul Nicholls. He is due to marry his English sweetheart later this year.

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