Sunday 26 May 2019

Lynam out to make her mark after swapping Shakespeare for horses


Fledgling trainer Sarah Lynam with Tyrconnell after winning at Laytown last month. Photo: Racing Post
Fledgling trainer Sarah Lynam with Tyrconnell after winning at Laytown last month. Photo: Racing Post
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Other careers were flirted with but when she began to skip Shakespearean acting classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London to go to the races at Goodwood, Sarah Lynam knew she was destined for a life surrounded by horses.

Coming from good racing stock - she is the daughter of trainer Eddie Lynam - Sarah took the plunge to join the training ranks 18 months ago when many were going in the opposite direction, but the 30-year-old "didn't want to die wondering".

A love of the arts saw her study film studies and French in Trinity College and her parents were hoping she might veer in that direction but it's hard to fight your passion, even if others weren't best pleased.

"When she graduated from Trinity she said she wanted to have a word with me. I thought I was going to be a grandfather but it was worse than that - she wanted to be a trainer!" the ever-witty Eddie famously said last year.

It was a natural progression for Lynam, however, having served a distinguished apprenticeship under the tutelage of equine greats like Jim Bolger, Willie Mullins and Australian wizard Gai Waterhouse.

"You only really learn when you leave" has always been her mantra and she admits that taking holidays was never high on her wish list, instead she would spend summers visiting the likes of Aidan O'Brien and Johnny Murtagh to learn her craft.

When she returned to work under her father - known as 'Fast Eddie' - it coincided with a golden spell as brilliant sprinters like Sole Power, Slade Power and Anthem Alexander put his name firmly on the map and gave her a taste of the big-time.

Having idolised the late Henry Cecil growing up and having devoured his biography 'On The Level' several times, training was always on her radar and she got some early practice when "pony mad" as a child and devising training and feeding plans.

Her maiden year was quiet as she found her feet in the Dunshaughlin stables shared with her dad in Meath, but she has wasted no time this season with three winners - one of which was for her uncle Bryan - on the Flat since June.

Her first came in unusual circumstances as Lynam was in Royal Ascot for the success of Musical Jewel in Sligo on June 19 with Eddie deputising and providing commentary over the phone before he "went dumb about 100 yards out".

"Ascot was a good place to celebrate as the champagne was flowing in the car park afterwards and I was surrounded by friends of mine. It was crazy and it felt like I had an Ascot winner," Sarah says.

"Once you get the first winner, it's such a relief. People put their faith in you to train their horse and it's good to repay that. I'm really enjoying it and I'm being kept really busy. They're running really well and I've plenty to go racing with."

Lynam has "10 or so" in her care but she also has a keen eye for talent - she bought Grade One-winning hurdler Whiskey Sour as a yearling - and she hopes to leave her mark on the training ranks.

"I'd be a bit of a day-dreamer, I'd like to win black-type races and good races. I don't really think about having huge numbers, I'd just like to be a trainer that gets the best out of their horses," she says.

Irish Independent

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