Name: John ‘Shark’ Hanlon
What was your childhood ambition? To be a cattle dealer
Growing up, who was your sporting hero? Eddie Keher, the Kilkenny hurler
What or where is your happy place? On the gallop watching the horses
What sparked your love of racing? The Mullins family, my neighbours
What horse put you on the map? Shaimaa – my first winner at Cork Racecourse on April 9th, 2007
Who is your favourite horse? Hidden Cyclone. He was the star of our yard for a long time and a brilliant horse for his owners, the Mees. I had him since I bought him as a three-year-old store. Over his career he ran 48 times, won 17 races and finished in the first four on 37 occasions. He retired as a four-time Grade 2 winner and a dual Grade 3 winner. He also was an excellent second in a Galway Hurdle and to Dynaste in the 2014 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He earned nearly €800k over his career.
Describe the feeling of training your first winner? I thought it would never happen, so when it did the feeling was unbelievable.
What is your most memorable racing moment? 14 September 2011. We won two big races at the Listowel Festival. The Guinness Kerry National with Alfa Beat and the bumper with Murchu, the last race on the card that day. Magic!
What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland? Fairyhouse
If you weren’t a trainer what would you be? A cattle dealer
If you could train one horse, what would it be? Envoi Allen who is with Gordon Elliott. I’ll have to speak nicely to him.
How do you cope with pressure? Head down and stay going.
How do you deal with dips in form? Go back to the drawing board.
Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment? Kilkenny’s All Ireland hurling finals.
Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation? I would be loyal to Coronation Street.
What is your guilty pleasure? Ice cream in all its forms.
Desert Island Discs: name your favourite three songs? I am a massive Christy Moore fan so any three of his songs would keep me happy.
What person do you admire the most and why? Willie Mullins, he is a genius, like his father.
Favourite dinner? Roast beef and mushy peas.
Where is your favourite place to go on holidays? I love Killarney.
What ambitions do you still have? To keep training plenty of winners.
What is the hidden gem of your home county? Langton’s in Kilkenny. Not very hidden but a great spot.
When you think of your home, what immediately springs to mind? My two sons, Paddy and Sean.
How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions? Lots of painting around the yard.
If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times, what would it be? Stay safe
If you were to go back to when you were 20 years old and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? If you mind your own business, you’ll always have a business to mind.
Favourite saying? Drive on.