Old jockey holds firm against younger competitors
Claude Adolphus McDonald, a 70-year-old jockey, had the spectators at the Top Hill Donkey Race running on to the main road to cheer him on as he rode Long Distance Stulla to victory in a number of races.
As one of two jockeys in the same age range, McDonald proved that the younger jockeys were no match for him, well, not until it was time for the final four to compete.
McDonald told THE STAR that even though it is not his first time racing, he only took up the challenge this year because another jockey, who was expected to ride the six-year-old donkey, did not show.
"I never plan to ride no donkey this year, and I don't plan to next year. But if them want me to come back, I don't have no problem racing again," said McDonald.
Donkey-race lovers, who came in their numbers, were duly entertained as the sprightly old man completed the races with ease.
"The expressions and the emotions like pain and determination of both the jockeys and the donkeys make it more interesting," said one Top Hill resident.
Albert O'Connor, who participated in one of the races against McDonald and lost, said: "I was being cautious as I watched his donkey."
O'Connor fell off his donkey, Fast Car, last year as they approached the bend, and for fear of repeating that incident, he 'pulled back' at the reigns. He told THE STAR that he knew that he would not come out on top.
Another jockey, 20-year-old Stephen Harrison explained that for him, it is more about the fun and excitement of the race. "It's not about the win. This makes two years mi racing and I don't do anything special to prepare like the experienced jockeys," said Harrison.
Meanwhile, McDonald said that he is not the healthiest man of the lot.
"I eat everything, but before the donkey races it best to leggo off the heavy food that the young bwoy dem a eat," he said.
Instead, he snacks on crackers, as he said: "Crackers make you lighter fi the donkey carry you."
But in the end, Long Distance Stulla did not beat his main competitors - Star Bwoy and Bullet - when they took on the 200-metre asphalt track.
Despite crossing the line first in 2016, Long Distance Stulla only finished in third place this time around. A last-minute entrant called Nolen placed second, while Star Bwoy held firm in the first place position for a second year.
"It look like Long Distance Stulla did start feel tired," said Braisford, the owner of Long Distance Stulla.