I train in Beechmount House in Rathkeale. My parents were there 50 years and unfortunately both of them passed away through Alzheimers. I bought it off my brothers and sisters after they did.
It’s a gorgeous place. We’ve 114 acres, proper good limestone land. We’ve great facilities. We’ve a lovely six-furlong all-weather Wexford Sand gallop, schooling hurdles and fences, all the walkers, all the modern facilities you’d need.
We’re in a lovely part of Ireland, very central to racing. Limerick is my local racecourse and we’re very close to Listowel and Listowel is very close to my heart after winning three Kerry Nationals there.
My parents were never really into racing. My father sold cars for a living and did very well at it. I started off in show jumping and branched into the racing game and I’ve been at it ever since.
Paula and I have four wonderful children. Two of the boys have done very well for themselves in racing. Emmet works in Ballydoyle and Conor shares himself between Gavin Cromwell and Willie Mullins. They’ve both done very well.
Kate works with me in the yard. She does all the bookwork and office work. Does plenty of riding out and mucking out as well. Erica is in childcare which she loves doing.
When Emmet won the Epsom Derby on Serpentine it was a wonderful day. To win one of those races once in your lifetime is very special.
Strangely Brown winning the Grade 1 four-year-old Champion Hurdle in Auteuil was probably the highlight of my training career. You’re always fortunate when you win a Grade 1.
We come out of Listowel most years with a winner and to win three Kerry Nationals was great. Ponmeoath won it twice for us in 2007 and 2008 with Paddy Flood riding. He was a gorgeous horse and actually ran in Listowel ten years in a row. He started off in a four-year-old bumper, his first ever run, when he was third. For a horse like him to stay sound was incredible and he was a wonderful horse for us as a family and for the owner Sean Curran.
Faltering Fullback won it then in 2012. It was his first time over three miles and that was purposely done. He only scraped in as third reserve but we always knew three miles would suit him. He was a 33/1 shot and Danny Mullins rode him on the day. We had Questions Answered in the race too who was first or second favourite and he finished second. That was a great day.
They have to have a bit of pace around Listowel to lie up early on. You want a good jumper and you have to have a bit of ability as well to win any of those good races.
The kids always remembered us going to Listowel on the Wednesday to watch the Kerry National when they were very small, so for their dad to win it later on was special. It’s been a lucky race for us. We’ve won it three times, been second a few times. We were first and second one years, first second and fourth another year, so it’s been a very lucky race. I’d always try to have a runner in the Kerry National but unfortunately we didn’t have one this year.
Listowel is a great festival and there’s no doubt that there’s been times it was kind of late when we got home. I loved it, to go into the owners and trainers bar and head down town after and meet all the wonderful people. It’s so enjoyable, a great social occasion and it is great that crowds were back this year. It’s very important to the people.
It’s very competitive in Ireland now and you have to sell horses to make the business pay but we are enjoying what we’re doing and it was great to be down in Listowel again.