F EATURE JONJO O’NEILL SR. & JONJO O’NEILL JR.
Carrying the name of a horse racing legend brings with it extra attention and expectation. However, there is currently nobody cooler in the saddle than Jonjo O’Neill Jr. The two Jonjos
A proud dad – and now boss – sits with a wry smile when asked to talk about his namesake and son: “We didn’t really think of the potential pressure when we named him! I never really expected he would become a jockey.” Jonjo O’Neill Jr. jumped onto the racing scene in 2015 when, as a fresh-faced 17-year-old, he had his first winner under rules. “The name does bring scrutiny but I have never really felt the pressure. I’m one of five from dad and none of the others, apart from AJ (Anthony Joseph, the youngest child of Jonjo and Jacqui who assists Jonjo Sr. with the training and holds an amateur
licence), are really involved in the sport. So it wasn’t like I was born to follow in my dad’s footsteps so to speak. I was never pushed into it at all. Luckily now that I have had a small bit of success, it’s quite nice that we do have the same name and it’s a privilege to carry it on.” Acknowledged with a chuckle, Jonjo Sr. adds: “There was never any pressure. I am delighted he did choose this path though. All I had ever said to themwas whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it like I do and you give it your very best shot.” As with many jump jockeys, injury risk is high, and for Jonjo Jr. a string of injuries hampered any consistency
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