Sweeney relishing new challenge as he heads to Prague for weekend
Fergus Sweeney takes up a new challenge this weekend when he represents Ireland in the third European Jockeys' Cup in Prague.
The event proved hugely popular last year, with an estimated 7,000 spectators assembling at Velka Chuchle racecourse to see Czech champion Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, representing his native Kazakhstan, carry off the €5,000 prize ahead of Czech and Spanish champion Vaclav Janacek and international star Gerald Mosse.
Murzabayev returns to defend his crown in an event which has attracted leading riders from all over Europe, including Vincent Cheminaud and Thierry Thulliez from France, Antonio Fresu from Italy, and Panagiotis Dimitsanis, who has been Greek champion for 18 of the last 20 seasons.
Sweeney has six rides on a nine-race card and is looking forward to the event.
He said on Friday: "Gary Hind rang me to see if I'd like to represent Ireland and, as I had nothing important to keep me at home this weekend and had never been to the Czech Republic, I jumped at the chance.
"I don't know a lot about it, but I believe it's settled on a points system and I've got rides in six races. I think the competition itself is over seven races, and the other two races on the card are for local riders only."
He added: "I always enjoy riding abroad and I've ridden winners all over Europe, as well as in Barbados and Dubai, but this will be a new challenge and should be an interesting experience."