Moyross Youth Academy graduate and apprentice jockey Wesley Joyce will take Johnny Murtagh’s first lap at Dundalk

Wesley Joyce will make his first tour for legendary trainer and jockey Johnny Murtagh this afternoon at Dundalk.

The 18-year-old works at the Murtagh yard as an apprentice after graduating from Moyross Youth Academy and the Racing Academy and Center of Education (RACE).

He will partner with Misterio in the opening race at Dundalk, the five-stadium Handicap at 4pm.

Speaking ahead of the race, Joyce said: “I went to RACE and got an internship here at Johnny’s. Then Covid came in and I had to come back. Then Johnny called my mom and me. said there was a house here in the yard if I wanted to go up.

“The next day I moved. It’s nice to work here. The boss is nice, everyone is nice in the yard.”

Murtagh added: “I remember my first outing like it was yesterday. Very nervous going to Phoenix Park with Jimmy O’Neill. I walked in, Dave Fox the valet took care of me. He gave me everything.

“I’m trying to tell them it’s going to happen very, very quickly. It’ll be over before you know it.

“For me, you need 15-20 rides just to get to the heart of the matter – get the beat, see how fast it all goes.”

On Joyce, Murtagh said: “He rides really well. He’s kinda natural. He’s very natural on a horse. Horses love him, but that’s the next step now.”

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Irish and Munster rugby star Keith Earls was among those who wished Joyce good luck ahead of the race.

He tweeted: “It’s great to see good luck Wesley.”