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One of Senegal’s Most Promising Jockeys

Fallou Diop, hopes to compete outside his country’s borders after winning the country’s top racing prize when he was just 17. He hopes to begin racing in France next year, realising a dream coveted by some of Senegal’s foremost riders. “It’s a passion in my family,” Diop said. “Since my grandfather, we’ve supported horses, then my father after him.” In villages like Niaga, where Diop lives, horse feed and supply shops line the main roads, and fields are dotted with men on horseback. Adorned with colourful ceramic tiles on a busy back street, the house Diop shares with 12 family members is getting a new roof thanks to the money from his winnings. Depending on the number of horses in a race, Diop can earn up to $600 per victory. Average monthly wages in Senegal were estimated at around $180 at the end of 2019. Diop’s success is a source of pride for his father, who spent much of his life driving a horse and buggy around Niaga. His older brother, who also hoped to be a jockey before a growth spurt got in the way, boasts of Diop’s achievements to visitors.