Former ‘Donkey Derby’ jockey Billy Lee


Billy Lee - Donkey Derby fame - to Royal Ascot winner.

A MAN who boarded a bus in Dublin – with a donkey – could well have been heading to the ‘Donkey Derby’ in years gone by!

In respect of the Donkey Derby, a race of the ilk was run at Castledown: The Castledown Donkey Derby.

The race came under starters orders for two decades, the nuance and idiosyncrasies of Irish society in rural Ireland.

Jockey Billy Lee competed in the Castledown Donkey Derby, winning the race in 2002, under trainer and Grand National Red Rum fame winner, Tommy Stack.

Donkey boards bus in Dublin.
Donkey boards bus in Dublin.

Lee, who rode over hurdles in the early noughties, was successful at Haydock Park on Wanango in a Listed hurdle race.

Born in Ballingarry, County Limerick, Lee, who rode in the Castletown Donkey Derby in 1994, has carved out a career within Flat racing.

Lee won his first Group 1 on Fiesolana, trained by Willie McCreery, in the Matron Stakes at the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown in 2014.

Lee rode Royal Ascot winner Settle For Bay, trained by David Marnane, in the Royal Hunt Cup Handicap in 2018; also having been victorious on 2013 Britannia Handicap winner Tumu, trained by Joanna Morgan at Ascot.

During August, Lee has returned to the winner’s enclosure on a plethora of occasions, including Master Matt at The Curragh; and at Leopardstown on Drakensberg and Miss Jabeam.

Lee was also successful at Naas, under 40-1 winner Thou Art Peter; Celtic Beauty and Raven’s Cry. And on board One Cool Poet (twice) at Galway.

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