What was your childhood ambition? Not to grow too tall.
Growing up, who was your sporting hero? Ryan Giggs
Do you have a mentor? No
What sparked your love of racing? Florida Pearl. His distinctive white blaze and red colours on Richard Dunwoody really caught my imagination.
What horse put you on the map? Cousin Vinny winning the Champion Bumper in Cheltenham when I was 18.
Who is your favourite horse? Hurricane Fly for his tenacity and refusal to go quietly into the night. Mickos Dream when I was younger, his versatility was astounding. He won a Thyestes over three miles but also a Grade 1 over two miles.
What was it like to ride in your first race? Dark! It was the last race at the last meeting before Christmas and I wore the cool tinted goggles. I didn’t see much!
How long does it take to learn race-riding tactics? Basic tactics can be learned relatively quickly, if you have someone sensible explaining things to you. But you learn other things slower. Different tracks, different times of the year and types of ground, different distances, different types of races. It can take years to perfect everything and even then you’ll always be changing them over time.
Describe the feeling of riding your first winner? Relief. “I won’t die without one.”
What is your most memorable racing moment? Florida Pearl winning his fourth Hennessy Gold Cup aged 12. They said it couldn’t be done.
What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland? I love riding at Leopardstown. It’s a big galloping track and very fair. The back straight on the chase track is a wonderful sight.
If you weren’t a jockey/trainer what would you be? English and history teacher.
If you could ride/train one horse, what would it be? There isn’t a horse alive that would touch a 100% right Douvan.
How do you cope with pressure? Concentrate on what you need to do. Don’t over-think things.
What mental preparation do you do for the big days? Good sleep is key. Walk the track, know the form of other horses. I visualise a race and different scenarios that might happen so nothing should surprise you.
How do you stay motivated? Think of something you haven’t done yet and aim for it.
How do you deal with dips in form? Experience teaches you to stay level.
Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment? Nou Camp. 1999. Jumped up and down on the couch for an hour.
Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation? Palio is about an Italian horse race in the streets of Siena.
What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate. Mint Lindt and/or Nutella preferably.
Desert Island discs. Name your three favourite songs? Power by Jay Z / Kanye West, D’you Know What I Mean by Oasis, Song 2 by Blur
What person do you admire the most and why? Ruby Walsh. Incredible he never dyed his hair.
Favourite dinner? Lasagne, no bowl and no salad, at the Lord Bagenal
Where is your favourite place to go on holidays? I loved Memphis, Tennessee. Very different, lots of types of music and people. Just cool.
What ambitions do you still have? I need to win the Connacht Hotel Amateur Riders Handicap at the Galway Festival, the Kim Muir and the Foxhunters in Cheltenham and Aintree. I’ve been second in all four.
What is the hidden gem of your home county? Brennan’s shop in Leighlinbridge. The nearest to Narnia you’ll find.
How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions? Eating Easter Eggs! I intend to try every type while I can. Wispa is tops so far.
If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be? Don’t get it.
If you were to go back to when you were 20 years old and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? Follow Aubrey McMahon In Galway.
Favourite saying/quote? One does not simply walk into Mordor.