Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 25 April 2017

nurse ryan injects life into my training career

Anybody who picked up the paper on Monday and saw that Martin Hassett trained his first winner at Ballinrobe the day before, after only taking out a licence in April, might think I've just blown into the game. That couldn't be further from the truth.

We have a family-run operation here at Killenaule and we've been at horses all our lives. I've been an employee at Coolmore Stud Farm, where my brother Michael also works, for the past 22 years.

Michael previously spent 15 years with Vincent O'Brien during the glory days. Our brother Paddy, an ex-jockey, has spent most of his working life at Edward O'Grady's.

All three of us chip in with the horses here at home and what trainer wouldn't be glad to have a couple of fellows with that kind of experience by his side?

Michael's son, who rides as an amateur, helps with the riding out, while my wife Deirdre does the books -- she tells me when to stop spending money, or when I might be going crazy!

The final and most significant part of the jigsaw, though, is that Paddy's son Shane has moved back home. Shane was champion conditional jockey two seasons ago.

When he tells you something about a horse, you listen. Two weeks ago, he told me that all Nurse Ryan had to do was turn up on Sunday and she would win. When the mare's owners came into the parade ring before the race at Ballinrobe, he just greeted them and said that she'd win. He wasn't half right.

Although we have about eight horses in here at the moment, Nurse Ryan is the only one in training as such, so for her to collect when the money was down was a huge boost.

To get any horse to the races, let alone win with it, is a feat in itself, and it's really satisfying to have a winner on the board so soon after taking out the licence.

Truth be told, Nurse Ryan is one of the reasons that I decided to take it out. Her part-owner Yvonne Ryan, who also works at Coolmore, bought her as a foal to sell on.

However, twice Yvonne took her to the sales and twice she didn't shift, so she has been at my yard now for nearly five years.

While I broke her in last year, she was a little backward then, but she has come on no end since coming into work this year.

When you think that she failed to sell on two separate occasions, it's a great end to the story to have won with her. We all got a great kick out of it and, although I don't drink myself, I know the lads had a few to celebrate in Killenaule on Sunday night.

I rang the two boys early on Monday morning because I thought they might be a bit shook up but, as Paddy said, it's easy to get out of bed the day after you've had a winner.

Damien Garvey, who shares the ownership with Yvonne, has a pub in Roscommon and I gather he had a full house, too. That's what it's all about.

Listowel could be on the agenda for Nurse Ryan now. She is fine after the race, so it would be great to get another day out with her if the handicapper gives her a chance.

As for the operation here, the plan is to build it up steadily. We are only at it a couple of months and all we want is for it to break even this year. However, if we got a couple more of the right type of horses we would take them and try to do the thing right.

We are not looking to take over the world, or even the horse racing world for that matter, but we think this is something we can do. We'll certainly give it our best.

Because all of us have other jobs, we could start here as early as 5.30 in the morning, and I'm usually on feeding duty at 9.0 in the evening. That doesn't bother us at all.

Between us, we do whatever is necessary to get the horses done, but it all revolves around the day job. Right now, it's the day job that is keeping the whole thing going -- if that goes, so does the rest of it. Simple as that.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie

Irish Independent

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