Date of birth: July 17, 1972
County of origin: Kildare
First winner: Annsfield Lady (PJ Finn) Dundalk, August 10, 1988
Significant horses (Selected): Anthony Van Dyck, Capri, Highland Reel, Was, Beckett, Imagine, Santiago, Soldier Of Fortune, Frozen Fire, So You Think, Cape Blanco, Septimus, Peaceful, Halfway To Heaven, Misty For Me, Dylan Thomas, Seventh Heaven, Galileo, Brave Anna, Crusade, U S Navy Flag, Again, Minding, Beckett, Power, Pedro The Great, Caravaggio, Diamondsandrubies, Rhododendron.
Assoc. Trainers: Aidan O'Brien
Did you know?
From Donore, Caragh, County Kildare, James Anthony Heffernan, better known as Séamus, is undoubtedly one of the most successful Irish jockeys of all time. His first introduction to horse racing came at the stables of Arthur Moore and with PJ Finn, but he served his apprenticeship with Jim Bolger. He shared the title of Champion Apprentice with Daragh O'Donoghue in 1994 and finished runner-up to Pat Smullen in the same championship the following season.
He first linked up with the Aidan O'Brien stable in 1996 and has ridden an array of big-race winners for Ballydoyle. His first Group 1 success came on the O'Brien-trained Beckett in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September 2000 and his first Classic victory was on O'Brien's Imagine in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the same course in May of the following year. Mount Nelson was his first Group 1 winner outside Ireland in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in 2006.
Séamus won the the Epsom Oaks on Was in 2012 and the Epsom Derby on Anthony Van Dyck in June 2019. He scored his first win at the Breeders' Cup when taking the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf on the O'Brien-trained Highland Reel at Santa Anita in 2016.
Séamus has enjoyed big-race success closer to home with Soldier Of Fortune (2007), Frozen Fire (2008), Capri (2017) and Santiago (2020) in the Irish Derby. Imagine (2001), Halfway To Heaven (2008), Misty For Me (2011) and Peaceful (2020) are his Irish 1,000 Guineas winners. He landed the Irish Oaks on Seventh Heaven in 2016 and the Irish St Leger on Septimus in 2008.
Cape Blanco in 2010 and So You think (2011) both brought him Irish Champion Stakes success and he has also enjoyed numerous other Group 1 winners in Ireland, Britain, France and America.