Saturday 21 April 2018

Roicead and Barack lift spirits to new high since return home

Roicead's win at The Curragh last Sunday was my first since relocating from Lambourn. I am based in Pollardstown now, so The Curragh is home territory. The result was especially significant because when my main patron, Michael Daly, sent me Roicead, he requested that it win first time.

After Willie Supple breezed the horse up the Old Vic gallop on Saturday, he told me that he was absolutely perfect. It's not often a jockey will tell you that and my response was that all Roicead needed now was a proper ride on Sunday. "That's right," Willie replied.

When Michael rang on Sunday morning, I told him that everything was 100pc. He was shocked that I hadn't begun to kick for touch by then, but the horse was flying.

He backed him all the way in from 33/1 to 18/1. When the price got to 16/1, he refused to have any more on -- he thought the price was gone! Thankfully, everything went to plan as Roicead held on by a short-head for Willie.

Michael has been contributing to the racing and bloodstock industries for a long time. It is he who set up the business operation here at Fenway House, all of which costs a lot of money to maintain, so it's important that he gets something back.

That night, I had an enjoyable evening at home with my family. I am from Crumlin originally and had invited everyone round some weeks ago. It was a lovely way to finish off the day as it was the first time that we all got together since I returned.

Because I feed the horses myself, Monday was due to begin at 5.30 so I was in bed by 9.30. Training winners is all I think about and early starts are the norm.

The boost in morale was palpable on Monday morning. Starting time for the lads is usually 6.20, but they were in by 6.05. That's what a winner does. They all had a few bob on at 25/1, so there was definitely a spring in the step.

I was even more lifted by Monday's events in Moneygall and Dublin. It has been a great couple of weeks for our country, and Barack Obama is someone who speaks my language. A bit like him, I am of the belief that if you really want something, regardless of what it is, if you want it bad enough you will find a way to achieve it.


The business of training had become very difficult for me in England. I have always loved training racehorses -- that is not a pressure I ever have to contend with -- but the difficulties involved with trying to get some owners to pay or waiting to see if a cheque would clear so you could pay the farrier or whatever, certainly became a burden.

Walking into the yard in Lambourn of a morning, or onto the gallops, was like walking into Tir na nOg. However, when you'd walk into the office, the reality of the situation, and the struggle to keep the ship afloat, was a consuming pressure.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me was on January 4 at Kempton. I ran a horse, owned by some very good owners, that had been off for 22 months. He finished second, earned a mere £284, and got put up 5lbs.

I knew then it was time to try something different. Michael was keen for me to train a bunch of horses for him, but not for that kind of money in England, so we arranged for me to come back. I moved in to Fenway House on March 3.

Life is much different for me now. My fiancee Angela, who is English, adapted a lot quicker than I did to our new situation but I am gradually coming to terms with it, while the goal of training winners remains unchanged.

To me, that is simply all that matters, which is why I got slightly carried away in the parade ring on Sunday after Roicead won. Oliver Brady might think I am trying to steal his thunder but, to me, every winner is precious. Roll on the next one.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out

Irish Independent

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