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InterviewChris Hayes

Chris Hayes: 'They said she had to be a lay because I was on her - and that really riled me up'

David Jennings finds the jockey in candid mood as he prepares to partner superstar filly Tahiyra on Saturday

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David JenningsDeputy Ireland editor
Chris Hayes: hopeful Azazat will outrun her double-figure odds in the Irish Oaks
Chris Hayes: says the superstar filly Tahiyra is the best he has ever riddenCredit: Alex Pantling

You would swear Chris Hayes has placed his hand on the Bible and taken an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The outskirts of the parade ring at Navan on a sticky September afternoon is the courtroom in question as the jockey gives evidence ahead of the rechristened Irish Champion Festival where he will once again team up with Tahiyra, the filly who has shone the spotlight on him all summer.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs. I've worked hard to get to where I am but let's call a spade a spade, I'm punching above my weight the whole time," the 35-year-old says of a career which includes winning 51 Group races, nine of them at the top level.

"I was never allowed to get carried away. I've gone from Kevin Prendergast to Andy Oliver to Fozzy Stack to Dermot Weld. None of those lads will ever put you on a pedestal. They would never let you think you were the bee's knees and I think that has actually stood to me because you have to have that bit of self-doubt. Otherwise you're never going to improve."

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Published on 7 September 2023Last updated 08:05, 8 September 2023