Top jock, Kevin Manning in the hot seat

Experienced jockey answers the questions

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Top jock, Kevin Manning in the hot seat

Kevin Manning, the longest serving jockey in Britain and Ireland

The vastly serving flat jockey Kevin Manning is the longest serving jockey in Ireland and Britain and he is on the hot seat for this week.

What was your childhood ambition?
I always wanted to be a jockey;

Growing up, who was your sporting hero?
Lester Piggott – a genius

What or where is your happy place?
Home, working on the land or in the garden.

What sparked your love of racing?
Going racing from a young age with my father.

What horse put you on the map?
Noora Abu. We won eight races together including the Grade 3 Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown in 1987.

Who is your favourite horse?
It’s too difficult to choose just one, I have been fortunate to ride some very good horses.

What was it like to ride in your first race?
My first ride was at Fairyhouse on a horse called Rathbride. I was both nervous &and excited beforehand. It was all over in a flash and a great day.

How long does it take to learn race-riding tactics?
You are always learning and will be until the day I stop.

Describe the feeling of riding your first winner?
It was Keynes at the Curragh, a huge relief to have ridden my first winner you think the day will never come. The memory remains fresh in my mind to this day.

What is your most memorable racing moment?
After winning the 2004 Hong Kong Cup aboard Alexander Goldrun, hearing Amhrán na bhFiann played in front of a crowd of 90,000 in Sha Tin Racecourse was pretty special.

What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?
Leopardstown

If you weren’t a jockey what would you be?
A farmer

If you could ride one horse, what would it be?
New Approach as a four-year-old

How do you cope with pressure?
I keep myself busy, a little bit of pressure is good as it keeps you sharp.

What mental preparation do you do for the big days?
Pretty much the same as every other day racing, tick all the boxes and cover all angles.

How do you stay motivated?
I’m always hoping that I will find another Group one horse.

How do you deal with dips in form?
You get used to it in this game but that still doesn’t stop me pulling the hair out of my head at times!

Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?
Dublin’s five-in-a-row. Up the Dubs!

Can you give us a Netflix/ film recommendation?
I Went Down with Brendan Gleeson

What is your guilty pleasure?
Scots Clan sweets.

Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?
I Walk The Line -Johnny Cash; The Gambler - Kenny Rogers; Born In The USA - Bruce Springsteen

What person do you admire the most and why?
My parents, they worked hard to give myself and my siblings a good start in life.

Favourite dinner?
My wife Úna’s roast chicken with all the trimmings, always good.

Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?
Cruising on the Shannon is hard to beat.

What ambitions do you still have?
I have many but one in particular is to win 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh as it keeps escaping me.

What is the hidden gem of Kildare?
Kildoon Woods, a lovely place to walk with the dogs.

When you think of your home what immediately springs to mind?
A great place to unwind & relax.
How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions?
I am still busy riding out and working at home on the land

If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be?
It’s tough for everyone but it will get better.

If you were to go back to when you were 20 years old and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Life is too short to worry about the small things.

Favourite saying/ quote?
‘That’s more of it now’