In the coming weeks Stableeye will discuss the future of Irish racing and what trainers are doing to combat the changes in it. Stableeye will also discuss Irish trainers in general; starting this week with Michael O’ Callaghan, Jessica Harrington plus her daughter Kate and finally Michael Halford.
Firstly, the racing partners in Ireland are ageing; this means that with time will come change. The more established trainers in Ireland are pushing on and with that comes a new excited breed; waiting patiently for the spotlight to shine upon them. While people may be sceptical of change and new things I feel it’s not a time to be worried. In Ireland currently we are blessed with talent, whether that be horses, owners, staff or trainers. It may take awhile for them to bed into society but I feel that the racing public will appreciate these trainers in the future.
The first trainer Stableeye looked into was that of Michael O’ Callaghan. A trainer with a big heart and big ideas. While some 28 year olds would be worrying about getting old, Callaghan ponders over what some think impossible. Like a good scientist he balances the elements of racing on a fine tooth comb, too much in one direction can tamper his dreams; too much in another can cost him his livelihood.
As Arnold Palmer once said “the more i practise, the luckier i get”. This certainly applies with this man. He works hard everyday to lift his stable of the ground. His new thoughts on racing was before his time and HRI are only adopting some of these methods now. The open access to the yard, makes people feel on a par with him. It’s not to often seen in Ireland, but he is conveyed as an approachable trainer. The only flaw visible to the public eye with this masterful establishment is lack of a clear top level jockey. Now I’m sure this is not by choice and i do appreciate that, but one must feel if a top jockey was riding all the horses; how good he could be.
Secondly, Stableeye looks at Jessica Harrington and daughter Kate. People will agree she is probably one of the most likeable trainers in Irish horse racing. When you want experience, cool thinking, leadership and fearlessness you need look no further. You can say Conor McGregor can change disciplines, try training jumps and flat consistently for a living. It doesn’t matter if you gave a camel to this woman, she would find a race to win with it.
She’s a role model for people in general for sheer work rate and if for nothing else the way she goes about her work. She employs Colm O’ Donoghue and Puppy Power to ride for her, and to say their good is an under statement. An ex-Ballydoyle jockey with multiple big race wins gives her an competitive edge and Puppy doesn’t need an introduction after last years unbelievable performance.
Most people are now wondering why mention Kate if you weren’t discussing her, fear not public. Here’s where the training gets interesting. You’ve a top class amateur jockey, and a wonderfully charming woman to stand in as trainer. Older trainers have in times gone by not stood aside and let the new generations step in. This is not the case here, its important for Kate to experience training and talking to camera men and women, while Jessica can still advise her. The youth won’t know it all but they will learn overtime. You can be sure and believe that the Harrington name is going nowhere soon. The only underlying worry I would have is, I hope owners would support her in the change over.
Last but not least Michael Halford. While in the news lately for a spilt with his stable jockey Shane Foley, Halford has won many big races and is mister consistent. Nobody can blame Halford for spilt with his jockey or if they do they can’t see it from his point of view. When you’ve big owners comes big responsibility. The room for error decreases and in a game where margins are so tight, the smallest decision can win or lose a race. Halford along with staff have made the choice that if a top quality jockey is available he/she will ride the horse.
Halford from a trainers point of view is at a difficult junction in his career. Winners aren’t as enjoyable now, they are more of a must and big race winners at that. When he looks back on a career he can be thrilled, but i feel there is a emptiness inside of him for more big race winners. It’s no longer enough to be consistent, he needs to try and get winners on champions weekend and have a once in the lifetime sort of horse. I can assure the public that there is no better man to train a horse than him if it comes the way. In the case of a jockey, overall i feel like Foley will continue to ride winners but I feel the decision is justified.
Overall I hope the public get a sense of what these trainers are about and how Stableeye views them; as I’m sure does the public. I hope this article stokes a debate.
I would like to thank you all for reading and i appreciate the article being retweeted and follow me on wordpress.