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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Alice Power

Alice pictured at Cork after riding her first winnerAlice pictured at Cork after riding her first winner
© Photo Healy Racing

I'm from Lemybrien in Co Waterford and I started off on ponies, hunting and fun rides. My brother and I would race each other on the ponies. My mam and dad were very good to my brother and I as they brought us around all the hunts and all the fun rides they could. My mother and father both rode in point-to-points and trained horses. My mother's mother and father also rode point-to-points and my father's dad bred horses and trained greyhounds, so I was born and bred into the game. From the age of three, mother had me sitting up on racehorses at home, and I had a big smile on my face and absolutely loved it from day one. Sitting on a horse was what I loved. More or less I always wanted to be a jockey when I was growing up. I started riding out at home at the age of 14. My father (Walter Power) had maybe 15 horses in at the one time, training them for the track and point-to-points. It was a busy yard and, the same as anyone who grows up in a racing yard, you pick things up very quickly particularly watching my parents breaking horses, riding pieces of work and the training of racehorses. Basically the horsemanship of it all. It was a great grounding. When I went into transition year, I went into John Kiely's and Henry de Bromhead's and that was where I really got the bug for it.

John Kiely is local to me at home and Henry de Bromhead is only half an hour away. My father actually called John Kiely when I was in transition year and asked him if I could go in there for my work experience. John was very obliging and said no bother at all. I went in there once a week for the next four weeks while I was in school. I learned a lot from John and picked up a lot in there. It was the same with Henry de Bromhead. My father would have known Henry, so he called him and said the same. I went into Henry's and I loved it in there. I kind of learned the hard way as I got run away with quite a lot! It was a great grounding as Henry and John are top-class trainers. I stayed in Henry's on my weekends from school for a couple of years and I could see the improvement having learned the hard way. I pushed myself to get stronger. I spent a year with Joseph O'Brien as well, every morning, when I finished school. Now I go into Joseph O'Brien's on Sunday mornings. It is top-class facilities and so many people have trained winners off that Owning Hill gallop. It is an amazing gallop that Joe Crowley built and they are always building onto the facilities there. It is an amazing set up and an amazing place to be. You'd learn a lot from just looking at the Flat lads. I'm trying to polish myself up. Obviously, I have a long way to go and I'm working on it, trying to make myself more stylish and be stronger in a finish. You'd also learn a lot from talking to Joseph. I love going in there on a Sunday.

The last point-to-point season I was with James and Ellen Doyle - point-to-point trainers in Wexford. That is where I really polished up my schooling as we did a lot of schooling up in Wexford. That was great experience for me in the last point-to-point season. At the minute, I am riding out for Paul Kiely in the mornings, and Paddy and David Kiely in the evenings. I started working for Paul in September last year, just before the point-to-point season started. That's my main role and then I go to Paddy and David in the evenings when I can. Paul lets me school a lot, we go to Boulta and Glencairn (schooling gallops) and he has great facilities at home. He has a ring at home with two EasyFix hurdles on the two sides of it and poles and a great gallop. The young horses do a lot of schooling there and then they will progress into Boulta and Glencairn. He is very good to me and looks after me. He puts me up on everything schooling, you have to keep schooling to keep your eye in. I love it in there.

Thedancingfarrier and Alice Power (right) win the Longines Fegentri Handicap HurdleThedancingfarrier and Alice Power (right) win the Longines Fegentri Handicap Hurdle
© Photo Healy Racing

I was third on my own horse, Dr Robin, on my point-to-point debut at Quakerstown in April 2022. My grandmother sent him over from Wales because the trainer Evan Williams is my uncle. The horse was in Peter Bowen's and he was giving him away. He has been giving me great experience ever since. It would be an option at some stage to go over to Evan. At the moment I am happy where I am as Paul is very good to me and I'd like to remain in Ireland for now. A definite goal of mine is to ride a point-to-point winner. I'd actually like to win a lot of point-to-points. Hopefully, this first track winner winner, Thedancingfarrier in a qualified riders' handicap hurdle at Cork last week, will kind of get my name out there for outside rides. I'd love to keep the ball rolling between the flags and on the track. My uncle obviously rode point-to-points before he trained and point-to-pointing is where my roots are. Obviously, the winner on the track is great because everybody can see it and it is exposure.

It is hard to put into words my first winner on Thedancingfarrier. I suppose the first emotion was relief after nearly 30 rides as you're thinking will you ever get the winner. Paul had that race in his mind for a while and John Gleeson won that race on him two years ago off a mark of 101, but he was 87 when I won on him. The thrill afterwards was amazing - my mother and father were there. Paul was there and his brother Tommy Kiely was there leading him up, he bred the horse and he is a farrier so he shoes the horse and rides him out quite a lot. He absolutely loves Thedancingfarrier. Paul's father Jock was there as well. It was a great buzz and, please God, it keeps going. I'd go anywhere for rides and any outside rides I can get, I would be delighted to get. Hopefully, that winner might open a few doors for me and people can see that I can do the job. The goal is to get as many rides as I can and then winners. I would be open to doing more schooling for trainers as well. Obviously, my base is with Paul, but I could do evenings or maybe one day a week elsewhere to school for other people. I'm in Paddy and David's and, if somebody else needs me, that would be no bother.

I love the Irish racing industry. I couldn't see myself doing anything else. You really have to love horses to be working in the industry, we all know that with the weather and it being an outside job. Working with animals is not always easy, but I couldn't see myself doing anything else at the moment. I love it and it is like a big family.

Alice was in conversation with Michael Graham

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About Michael Graham

Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.

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