Homeless Darryl Breslin fulfils his jockey dream

Darryl Breslin Darryl Breslin is a "quick learner" and a "lovely little rider"

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A teenager who was once homeless is now aiming to become a champion jockey.

From living in a hostel in Manchester to riding with some of the the best in the world in Newmarket, Suffolk, Darryl Breslin's life has undergone a massive change in just a few months.

"I want to go all the way, I want to be a winning jockey. That's my dream," he said.

The 19-year-old's path in life took a sudden twist while he was staying at the Copperdale Trust, a hostel in Wythenshawe.

Quiet and shy, he openly admits to not being able to hold a conversation when he first came to the hostel.

"I spoke in monosyllables," he said, "but as time went on I gained confidence.

'Quick temper'

"Then I was given the chance to attend lessons at a local riding school. I don't like turning stuff down without giving it a go, and now I'm here," he said from the track at the British Racing School in Newmarket.

It was through Julie Birrane at Urban Riderz, a local riding school in Manchester, that he began to understand horses and the art of riding.

She said: "I noticed straight away - he was small, light, the ideal size for a jockey.

Craig Benton, training operation manager at British Racing School Craig Benton said Darryl had a natural ability for the sport

"He was also a lovely little rider who picked things up very quickly," she said.

The patient and loving way he handles the horses is a far cry from what he was like when he was younger.

"I had a temper, a very quick temper and I would often get into fights and get told off."

It was only when he was taken in by a foster family in his early teens that he started to calm down.

"My foster mum really helped me and I got better and better.

"But it was the low confidence I had, not knowing what was I going to do, where I was going to go, what I was going to be that made me more aggressive."

Compared to the other riders in the world-renowned racing school - which has seen the likes of Seb Saunders and Amy Weaver learn their trade - he is a novice.

"I'm just learning at my own pace. I know I'm a fast learner with practical stuff."

Craig Benton, training operation manager at the school, agreed: "The sky is the limit for Darryl," he said.

"He's got the drive and the ability - he could be anything. Now the ball is in his court.

"He's got all the basics right, a lot of things that come with time such as balance, natural feel, he's still lacking but all these are things that can be developed at a later stage.

Anne Panks, Anthony Baker, Darryl Breslin, Terry Panks and Nathanial The Panks welcomed and encouraged Darryl to follow his dream

He will finish at Newmarket in the new year, and go back to the Copperdale Trust, before he starts work at a yard.

Anne and Terry Panks, who have run the Copperdale Trust for the past 30 years, said they were "so proud" of him.

Through the couple, Urban Riderz and the charity Barnado's, enough money has been raised to pay for him to go to Newmarket as well as basic equipment like jodhpurs and riding boots.

Mr Breslin said: "I want to go all the way, that would be a dream.

"But I would be happy with a good job and being able to give any kids that I have a better life too."

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