Tommy Brett riding Grey Habit at Fairyhouse last week
©© Photo Healy Racing
It was a great relief to return to the winner’s enclosure last week after a long absence, thanks to Grey Habit for Paddy Meany in the Your Clubs Fundraise @ fairyhouse.ie Enquire Today Handicap Hurdle.
It was last August when I had my last winner, Multiviz for Shane Duffy in Tramore, so it was badly needed. It was tough, it is hard to get rides the way it is going. But it is great just to make the most of it when you get them.
You just keep your head down every day. Ride as much work for as many people as you can. You are doing it for the love of the sport really. You just hope a horse will come around and the trainers you are riding for, that their horses will come into form. It is just a matter of keeping your head down and working away.
My agent Ken Whelan is great. I can ring Ken whenever I want. I started going into Shane Duffy at the end of last summer and had a winner for him straight away. Shane’s dad Paddy has been around racing a long time, a lot longer than I have. They would always be giving you advice.
Shane is great supporting me now and giving me whatever he can. I think he has a nice bunch of horses for the spring into the summer. He mightn’t have many running at the moment but going into the spring and the summer you will see his horses coming out and hopefully he will have a few winners as well.
I was hopeful going to Fairyhouse about Grey Habit. You never really know with them but the heavy ground was to suit. You knew going out there was plenty of pace. Everything fell her way on the day. She might have got her ground once before as she ran a cracker in Cork. That was the first time she has got it since. We were hopeful going out that she would run well and it was great for her to win.
It was great for the Meanys. They do the work with her most days, ride her out. When I was with Mags Mullins, I used to go into them a bit. It was great to get a winner for them.
The biggest challenge is getting rides but everywhere I went in they have been great to me; they have given me as many rides as they can. I have been with John Ryan a long time. I don’t go in to him riding work as much as I used to but I still go in a bit. I was with Mags Mullins last year, herself and Danny were very good. I am at Peter Fahey’s now and Peter is giving me what he can. Hopefully something might come up out of that because he has some lovely horses.
I have the likes of Kevin Sexton to be riding out with every day. You are in there twice a week and you are schooling good horses and you are up in the Curragh doing plenty of work. Every time I go in I am sitting on a nice horse. I rode work on Soviet Pimpernel once before he won his bumper. With all the young horses that are there, whether they are going point-to-pointing or to the track, they have to be schooled. We do plenty of that, plenty of going to the Curragh. You know they are nice horses. It is great.
I go into Shane Duffy a few afternoons a week, Peter Fahey’s a couple of days, Jimmy Barcoe’s and I go into John Ryan’s whenever I can as well. I am always open to going riding work. I don’t mind travelling anywhere, if anyone ever likes me I am only delighted to travel up to the Curragh or wherever, that’s cool.
My mother and father wouldn’t have been into horses when I was growing up. They would now. One of my cousins, Shane Ryan rode winners in England on the flat before he got a bit heavy but is still riding. His brother Marcus is actually training horses in Kentucky.
Other than that I kind of stumbled into it when a friend of ours got me into hunting. I used to live beside Billy Harney. When I was 12 or 13 I went over there and was riding out before school and on my holidays up until I was 16 when I got the licence and moved to John Ryan’s. He is another neighbour.
Every winner gives you such a buzz and you can’t wait to get the next one. Sometimes you have to wait, keep waiting, and you might think when will the next one come? But when it does you really do appreciate it and it just gives you that boost to stay going, keep your head down and hopefully you will get a few more. Someone might notice you somewhere along the line, and hopefully you will get another one quick again, it would be ideal. But I am putting in plenty of work. And with a little bit of luck I will put a few together now.
I have a ride in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle at Gowran Park tomorrow on Brawler for Peter. Soft ground would give him a good chance. He’s a nice horse and to get the leg up on him is great.
To have a winner on Thyestes Chase Day would be great. It would put you in the limelight, especially following on from last week's winner. Brawler won two starts ago in Fairyhouse for Aine O’Connor but was a bit free early on at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. He is off a nice weight so should run well.