• In the Stables with Sean Davis

    It’s all change for me this week as I’ve just started a new job. I got a great grounding on the Curragh with Michael O’Callaghan but on Monday I started with Ger Lyons and its pretty exciting to be honest.

    Michael was very good to me. He showed remarkable patience when I was first starting out. As did Shane Kelly! Shane was great. I learned so much from them both. I’m far stronger these days and I feel that I’ve come a long way in a relatively short space of time. It’s only a little over 16 months since I rode my first winner and I can’t believe the improvement I’ve made. But the trick is to keep improving, every jockey must keep up with the times. 

    Ger’s set up is fantastic. It’s a bigger yard and its packed with quality horses. I’m riding work with a lot of jockeys and that can only help me in the long term. The routine here is obviously very different to what I’m used to. On the Curragh, the horses warm up on the way to the gallops but here Ger has a massive arena to get them started in the mornings. It all works so well. I’m only 15 minutes from home here so I’m back living with my Mam and Dad for the moment. 

    I hope to round off the season on a high. I’ve had a good year, it’s all gone better than I could have expected. I rode five winners last season but I lost a couple of months with an injury I picked up at Limerick in June just as I was getting going. 

    This year’s plan was to ride ten winners and when I got to ten, I aimed for another five which will see my claim cut to 5lbs. One more winner and I’m there. And all my targets will have been achieved for 2017. I’m four winners behind Oisin Orr and Ana O’Brien in the apprentice title race and I’ll give that everything. It will be very tough though. But you never know. Maybe next time. 

    Nothing this year has topped my win on Maudlin Magdalen in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ´Northfields´ Handicap at the Curragh on Longines Irish Champions Weekend a little over 12 months ago. That was huge. She was out of the handicap and I could claim and Donal Kinsella gave me the chance. I had never sat on her before but I saw that horses that day had been winning from the front so I sat second to my good pal Gary Halpin who went a good gallop up front on Breathe Easy. We finished up first and second and the others never got to us. 

    This season, the highlight so far has been the two winners I rode at the Galway festival. I got great publicity out of it, Michael’s Perfect Soldier was the first winner for his racing club and there was some atmosphere in the winners’ enclosure afterwards. It was a great day for all the owners. 

    Harry Rogers was brilliant to me in the very early days and was using me after I’d only had a handful of rides. It meant a lot to me to win on Remarkable Lady at Ballybrit, it was my second win on her this year as we had won at Navan back in May. Two nice pots as well. It was brilliant that Andrew McNamara interviewed me for RTE afterwards and Luke Harvey had a chat for Attheraces. 

    I looked up to Gary Halpin when I was starting out and in many ways the winners at Galway were like following in his footsteps. I had seen him win big races like the Topaz Mile and all the success he’d had on the likes of Beau Satchel and I could hardly believe it that now I was riding winners in front of some of the biggest crowds of the year. 
    Tom Dooley is a right horse and Richard O’Brien has done some job with him. I won three races on him during the summer and got a great kick out of it. He had got down to the right mark and was suddenly in the form of his life. The first time I won on him, I beat Gary who was riding another for Richard. We had travelled up to Roscommon in the car together and there wasn’t much talk on the way home! 

    Sean Mahon trains locally to us at home and that’s where I first got involved with horses when I was 13. Myself and Gary spent loads of time with him before I headed off to RACE and my younger brother Daire has followed the same path. He only got into the horses when I got going and now he’s just about to start off in Jim Bolger’s. Like me he is quite light and that will be a help to him.

    Gordon Power will be of great assistance to Daire in Mr Bolger’s. Gordon has helped me along for a few years now and I’m in regular contact with him. He is a great man to chat to about your rides and your riding style. He’s helped me with everything from technique to race riding and planning. 

    You’re always learning and I hope a winter in Dubai will stand to me too. I’m heading to the Middle East early next month and linking up with trainer Satish Seemar. It is a fantastic opportunity and one I couldn’t pass up. It will be another great new experience.  

    This season really has been the stuff of dreams. It started well with a winner at the end of March and I’ve had a good run of it ever since. And hopefully there will be a winner or two more to come before the curtain comes down. 

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