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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Philip Enright

Philip Enright pictured at Cork Racecourse in his first season riding back in 2007Philip Enright pictured at Cork Racecourse in his first season riding back in 2007
© Photo Healy Racing

Hitting the 30-winner mark on Sean Says for Rodger Sweeney at Punchestown on Wednesday was very pleasing, as it matched my previous best ever total. To do that with so much of the campaign left was great and hopefully I can build on that further by the end of the season at Punchestown.

It has happened thanks to the support of a lot of important people, but none more so than my parents.

We don’t come from a racing background at all. I learned to ride at Kennedy Equestrian Centre in Tralee. It was show jumping first but then I spent some time with Tom Cooper and was bitten by the bug. The trainer, Michael O’Callaghan was there at the same time. Bryan was only a young lad.

Tom was very good to me and I learned a lot but my parents, Marian and Paudie, allowed me to follow the dream. I left school after third year and while they weren’t happy, they backed me. My mother drove me into Tom’s at six o’clock every morning. So I feel like now I am repaying them and that’s nice.

Ken Whelan, my agent, is another who deserves a lot of credit. He is working hard for me and getting me plenty of rides. I am having my busiest year ever which is a testament to Ken.

I had only one winner when Robert Tyner gave me a job. That was 2006. He gave me a lot of opportunities and it was great to win the Pierse Hurdle for him on Spring The Que fairly quickly. That gave him confidence in me. He’s a very good trainer that has winners every year and he has always backed me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.

Thankfully, a lot of trainers around Cork and Munster started using me from that. The likes of James Dullea, John Joe Walsh, Eoghan O’Grady and Eddie Cawley. The last couple of seasons I’ve broadened my contacts and have a nice link with Edward O’Grady as well. I’ve been lucky to ride for lots of trainers.

Preists Leap was an important horse for me in terms of profile. I got the ride on him in the Thyestes Chase when Conor O’Dwyer couldn’t make the weight and he put me forward to Tom O’Leary. That was good of him. We won and then we repeated the win the following year. We also completed the Aintree Grand National twice.

Westerner Point, who is trained by Eoghan O’Grady, was important too and I won two Tim Duggan Chases on him.

I have three Grade 3s and two Grade 2s and you’re always dreaming of those big wins. The win in the Hilly Way on Days Hotel in 2012 for Henry de Bromhead was probably one that got me into the spotlight. I’ve ridden plenty of winners for Henry too. I won twice on Special Tiara, who was the best horse I ever rode, going on to win a Champion Chase.

I am lucky I can do 9-10 easy enough which means if there’s a better handicap, you don’t lose a ride because of weight. And sometimes, you can come in for a spare ride and if that wins, it opens up another door.

I ride in a lot of schooling races, and get myself out there a lot. You’re always hoping to come across a superstar. That’s the dream. But until that happens, the main aim is to stay fit and ride as many horses as possible. Hopefully then, the winners will keep coming.

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