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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Shane Crawley

Shane CrawleyShane Crawley
© Photo Healy Racing

I may be in the minority among National Hunt trainers at the moment, but the way things have been going for us lately, I am definitely not in any hurry to see buckets of rain.

Thereisnodoubt was great at Clonmel and that was our third winner of the season from just 17 runners.

He did it well, winning by nine lengths. We were confident enough going on his work at home and looking at the opposition.

He was running well on his first run for me in Thurles at the end of November when he fell at the third last, so we just put a hood on him and Eoin O’Connell got on well with him. The five-pound claim helped too and he’s good value for that. He’s a nice, quiet rider.

I think we’ll put Thereisnodoubt into another handicap with similar enough conditions, trip and ground hopefully, and see what he can do.

Three winners matches our best tally from 2015-2016 and while it won’t be easy, it would be nice to get another one or two on the board. We know how difficult it is, it is very competitive but I can’t worry about everyone else, only our own horses.

And thankfully, they are running well at the moment. Two out of our last three runners have won, with Breesy Mountain winning an Opportunity Handicap Hurdle ridden by Danny Hand on New Year’s Eve at Punchestown.

So while things are going as they are, I wouldn’t be desperate for anything to change, with the weather or anything else.

Sassy Diva, who is my own and is a homebred, has been second twice in the last few months, most recently in a listed novice hurdle at Thurles just before Christmas. She just keeps coming up against a good one each time. We’ll see what mark she gets and we might go for a handicap.

In the black-type mares’ races, you’re coming against the same ones each time but if you were placed in a black-type race you’d take it all-day long. She’s there for a bit of fun really and will hopefully make a nice broodmare.

Breeding is how it all started. We have three mares at home including Sassy Diva’s mother, Regal Spirit, and Cashelard Lady, a homebred who gave me my first winner in a Wexford bumper in October 2015 and is in foal to Mount Nelson at the minute.

My dad, John, got a few mares a few years ago and all we were getting was fillies, so what could you do only train them? That was five years ago, when you couldn’t dream of bringing a filly to the sale so that’s why I took out a licence and took it from there.

Some of them are coming through now and I have to say I’m enjoying it. It’s extremely competitive, of course it is, but you just do your best and if you can’t enjoy it when things are going well, you never will. It’s something you’d like to have a real go at but we’ll take it as it comes.

I ride work and I have Eoin, Donagh Meyler and Keith Donoghue coming in too. Skryne Gallops are only up the road and that’s a big help, as I am renting Tommy Carberry’s yard. Pamela Carberry has been very good to us. If we come up with a Bobbyjo we’ll be happy!

Lisadell Equine Hospital are vital in making sure the horses are healthy or identifying what the problem is if they’re not, while Andrew Mahon is my farrier and has been a great help.

There were no horses in our lives at all until Dad bought the odd mare a few years ago. After I did the Leaving Cert I spent a year with Evan Williams.

I was only 21 when I got the licence — I’m 26 now - but you go around with your eyes open. The best way to learn is when it hits your own pocket and that’s how it is when they’re your own horses.

We have 10 horses in total, six running and four homebred youngsters that have just turned four and will most likely be eased into it on the track. We have a few more outside owners now though. The lads in the Who What Why Syndicate that own Thereisnodoubt have two with us, I have Reine Fee for Paddy McKeon. It’s only a handful but they’re good lads.

I am not making any long term plans. I’ll take it as it comes. If they’re fit and well, and the ground is right, the horses will run. I’ve never been afraid to run them in big races before. You’re always going to come up against the big boys and girls, wherever you go. At the end of the day you’re in Ireland. You can’t be moaning about it. If the horses are ready, I’ll run them and we’ll see how it goes from there.

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