with Dylan Hogan
Everyone might not admit to it, but everyone sets themselves
targets in this game. Mine is to reduce my claim to 5lbs this season and while
it’s never clever to look too far ahead, I’d hope that I'm well on my way to
I have four winners ridden since the season began so my overall tally stands at 12. Eight more and I'm down to 5lbs. I’m thankful for the support that I have been getting from so many owners and trainers and if that continues, it’s a realistic aim.
I’m with Kevin Prendergast on a full-time basis and I really couldn’t be happier with the way things are going. I have had loads of help in my career to date, but Kevin has been brilliant and I’m lucky to have ridden a couple of winners for him. He has given me plenty of support and I’ve learned so much from him. I feel that he’s always there for me and everyone in the yard, including Stephen Craine, Chris Hayes, Declan McDonogh and Gary Halpin have been great. Willie Supple was here when I first started and he couldn’t have been more helpful.
My late dad George first sat me up on a pony when I was a kid and my interest in horses developed as I got older. Fachtna Twomey and Lorna Casey trained just out the road and everything really started with them. I went up to RACE when I was 16. Niall Byrne, Paul Keating, Pat Malone and Barry Walsh were brilliant from day one. I rode in about ten pony races for Alan Kelly but I didn’t have much luck. I rode a couple of seconds and thirds but no winner, unfortunately.
I’ve ridden for 15 different trainers this season and much of that is down to my agent Ruaidhri Tierney. He’s definitely doing a good job for me, he’s busy and tells me that he’s first on the phone every day! I ride work for a number of different trainers, mainly when they bring their horses to the Curragh. I’m making good contacts all the time and that’s important too.
I rode my first double at Limerick at the end of April. It was a pretty big deal and I got a great kick out of it, nearly as much as my family did! Limerick is our local track and it was great that they were all there on the day. The Billy Fitzpatrick-trained Dandys Gold was my first winner that afternoon, in the first race on the card. I ride a lot of work for Billy who trains in Rathangan. Dandys Gold is owned and was bred by George Halford who I know well. It was great to ride a winner for them both.
My second winner that day came in the second race. It was Hailstone for another local trainer, Patrick Prendergast. I had ridden him to finish fourth at Cork a couple of weeks earlier and was delighted to get back on board. He was brilliant at Limerick and I made all the running on him to win. If only they could all be like that!
Pat Fahy is another trainer that has been very good to me and he’s great to ride for. My first two rides for Pat were winners, Head Turner at Tipperary in April and Micras at Clonmel at the beginning of the month. I’m always happy when Ruaidhri gets me on one of Pat’s.
Things are going well for my boss, too. There are some big weekends coming up and the yard has plenty to look forward to. Moonlight Bay was the very first winner of the season on the opening day at Naas and we are all looking forward to seeing how she gets on in the listed fillies’ sprint at the same track on Sunday. She is one of 12 entries for that and there are four previous winners in it. It should be a cracker.
Another filly to look forward to is the year-older Aneen which is on track for the 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh at the end of the month. Her half-brother Awtaad won the Irish 2,000 Guineas last season and to have one like him in the yard was pretty special. I hope he’s enjoying his retirement at Derrinstown.
And he’s probably as happy as I am. The season has started off great for me and who knows what the future holds. The aim is to keep banging in the winners and hopefully reach the target of reducing my claim. After that, anything else would be a bonus.
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