It's a family affair for the Faheys
HOW Pride Of The Artic will fare in Sunday's Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse is hard to predict, but he deserves to take his chance.
To be able to say that about a horse in my yard here in Monasterevin is immensely exciting.
It's little more than two years since I had my first runners on the track, and he will be my second runner in a Grade One.
The first, Shop DJ, was runner-up to none other than Sir Des Champs at Punchestown in April. That was no mean feat, but the prospect of going one better this time round has everyone counting down the hours.
Pride Of The Artic wasn't as good as Sunday's opposition over hurdles. However, he has won four on the trot over fences, so he is far more experienced than most of them.
Things have really come together for him over the last 10 days. He missed the last Punchestown meeting because he was a bit sore on his neck, but, to be honest, that might have been a blessing in disguise.
I took him to the Old Vic gallop on the Curragh on Tuesday, when he floated through his paces under Andrew Leigh. Shop DJ also worked nicely ahead of her first start of the campaign in Sunday's mares' handicap chase.
She has been a loyal servant and is as fit as we can get her, but she does tend to need her first run every season. The trip to headquarters is part of our daily routine.
We start at 7.0am, ride one out at home and then take a lot up the road to do a fast bit. Once we get back, we have the tea and then start going through the rest of the lots.
Andrew, who has been superb in getting the front-running fractions right on Pride Of The Artic and getting him jumping fluently, comes in to ride the serious work. When he's not there, his sister Ber, who also happens to be my wife, is an able deputy.
Ber rides out three or four lots a day and does all of the office work, so she has been pivotal in the yard's success over the past couple of seasons.
Whereas before we were just a breaking-in and pre-training stable, when the boom collapsed, we got left with a few horses, which accelerated my decision to join the training ranks.
At the moment, I have about 15 for the track and 35 riding out in all. Despite the way things are in the economy, we are lucky to have developed a tremendous foundation of owners and a month rarely goes by when we don't get approached by new clients.
With three other brothers training, there is a high concentration of Faheys in the business. Myself, Jarlath and Seamus share the same gallop near our home place, but we all sail our own ships and it would be very seldom we run into each other on the gallop – we keep out of each other's way!
Paul trains up in Nurney, though his priority is the farriery business that he runs with Tommy, another brother.
Then there is Brendan, who helps me out in the yard and is the proud owner and breeder of Pride Of The Artic.
Here's hoping he'll be the one sporting a big grin in the winner's circle on Sunday.
For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie