Burke hoping to breathe life back into riding career

Jonathan Burke jumping on Acapella Bourgeois

Jonathan Burke has been provided with a golden opportunity to breathe life back into his career after Charlie Longsdon announced the rider as his new stable jockey.

Formerly retained by Alan and Ann Potts, the Cork native vacated that position last autumn and in doing so sacrificed the mount on subsequent Gold Cup winner Sizing John.

A multiple Grade 1-winning rider who has partnered horses such as Apple’s Jade, Sizing Europe and Sizing John to big-race successes, Burke’s career has been blighted by injuries in recent times but he has admitted the Longsdon job will provide him with a "fresh start."

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Burke, 21, said: "The last year and a half has been tough for me on a personal level because I just haven’t managed to get a clear run with injuries but touch wood I'm in great shape at the moment and feel brilliant. This is an exciting opportunity for me and hopefully it will provide me with a fresh start."

Burke returned to the saddle this month after spending four months on the sidelines nursing a shoulder injury. That latest injury came off the back of a torturous 2016 where he fractured vertebrae and his fibula in separate falls.

"For a number of seasons Noel Fehily was our stable number-one rider but he had other commitments and for the past three years we've used the best available," said Longsdon, explaining the appointment

Jonathan Burke

"While we've had a fantastic time going down that route I felt there was a need for some continuity in the yard as we sent out 51 winners last season but also had too many seconds for my liking – they were not beaten that far and if the jockeys had known the horses better they may have won.

"I spoke to Johnny last week to sort everything out and as we all know he's a very talented young rider who is very keen to get his career back on track as he'd been freelancing in Ireland – I'm confident he'll prove a big asset to the yard in the short and longer term.

"I've phoned all the owners and explained the circumstances to them and they're all happy and pleased that Johnny will be riding their horses and confident that he'll be a big success and that it represents a positive and very exciting start to a new journey for all of us."

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