• In The stables with Sean Corby

    It was great to be among the winners on Friday night and I suppose it was only appropriate that my first one back would be at Dundalk. I’ve had great luck there from the start of my career and hopefully there will be plenty more winners in the months to come.

    I only started with Joseph O’Brien on the previous Monday and I could hardly believe that I’d be riding a winner just five days later. There was a bit of panic on Thursday morning when Joseph told me I’d be riding Ligeti as I hadn’t fully finished applying for my licence. But the girls in the office at Piltown couldn’t have been more helpful and they sorted things out with Richard Hayden in the Turf Club in plenty of time for me to ride at the meeting.

    I’m pretty familiar with Dundalk and have enjoyed plenty of success there. I rode the first winner of my career at the track in March of 2014. I was with Michael Halford at the time but it was Jimmy Lambe who gave my very early winners. Boughtforasong was the very first of them and exactly a week later I got a second for Jimmy on a horse called Revolution. Four of my first five wins came on the all-weather and only a winner at Leopardstown broke the sequence. Not a bad way to start off as a 16-year-old!

    In all, I rode 38 winners on the Flat in Ireland, 12 of them at Dundalk, and seven in Britain before I decided to give the jumps a go. I was just beginning to struggle with my weight a little and at the time, it was definitely the right road to go down. But I had some great days before heading off the England with nice back-to-back winners at the Galway festival in my first year including a premier handicap win on Tony Martin’s Artful Artist in front of a huge crowd on the Friday night.

    I spent a little under a year and a half with Neill Mulholland and he was very good to me, giving me plenty of rides and ten winners, all over hurdles. The biggest probably came one day at Ascot and I just missed out on one at Cheltenham where I finished second. I had a handful of rides over fences but no joy.

    But my weight has come back right and it only makes sense to revert back to what I know best. I’m back in a position to give the Flat another go and with Joseph O’Brien, I’m definitely with the right man. I’ve got Shane Foley to thank for the link-up, he had a chat with Joseph and told me to give him a call. I lived with Shane when I was first starting off and I’m back with him now in Kildangan. It’s only an hour to Piltown in the morning and the commute is no bother. When the winter comes, I might think of basing myself a little closer to Joseph’s. Shane’s girlfriend Lorraine probably won’t want me to go but it might make sense when the weather turns against us.

    Joseph’s set-up is unbelievable. There are horses everywhere, every type you could imagine, from chasers to two-year-olds. There is a lot going on. It’s all very organised, everything runs so smoothly and everyone knows their job.

    The size of each lot is pretty mind-blowing. There could be 30 or 40 pulling out at the same time, 20 is the maximum I would have seen before. But you get used to it pretty quickly. I probably ride out five every morning. Kick-off time is at seven.

    Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would have a winner ridden for Joseph already. Heading to Dundalk on Friday, I thought Ligeti had an each-way chance. He was never out of the first two at the track and certainly knows his way around. He got in nicely from a wide enough draw and we sat about fifth all the way around. That was the plan and when I pulled him out at the top of the straight, he picked up pretty well. They were spread across the track late on but we lasted home quite well. It’s a long way home at Dundalk but having such a willing partner, one that will stick their neck out for you, certainly helps. Ligeti carries some very famous colours and it was great to get a winner in them at the first attempt. It should help get me noticed.

    And I suppose that’s what it’s all about. It’s not as if I’m starting again. I never stopped riding winners, it’s just they were in a different country. My time in England allowed me get my weight back down so it makes sense to turn my attention back to the Flat. A few more Ligetis and I’ll be well on my way. 

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