Trainer, Denis Cullen
What was your childhood ambition?
To be a jockey
Growing up, who was your sporting hero?
Do you have a mentor?
Michael Halford always been good for advice
What or where is your happy place?
In a race on board, or feeding/herding stock on the farm
What sparked your love of racing?
Charlie Swan – He was my neighbour
What horse put you on the map?
Inis Meain really got the ball rolling for me
Who is your favourite horse?
What was it like to ride in your first race?
Bioux Prince at the Curragh July 2003 for the boss Michael Halford, very exciting
How long does it take to learn race-riding tactics?
You never finish learning but only comes with experience
Describe the feeling of riding/training your first winner?
Riding my first winner was huge as you just start to dream from there. Training very different but probably equally as good - a lot more work goes in
What is your most memorable racing moment?
Riding /training winner at Galway festival for my mother and family was a great week and one I will never forget
What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?
Galway, atmosphere is second to none
If you weren’t a jockey/trainer what would you be?
A farmer. I still try to do a bit when I can, especially now
If you could ride/train one horse, what would it be?
How do you cope with pressure?
The older you get the more you realise it’s just another race. Pressure has good points too, brings us all up a gear
What mental preparation do you do for the big days?
I like to run or swim. I find it a great break away and come back with a clear head. I feel good after exercise and it helps me to think clearer
How do you stay motivated?
I suppose racing is a drug and winning you just want more and more and to keep improving all the time
How do you deal with dips in form?
Dips in form gets easier the older you get. I used to get down about the bad days, but you learn to deal with it. I try to identify if there is a problem and keep driving on
Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?
Tipperary winning the All Ireland in 2010 and stopping Kilkenny in their drive for five!
Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation?
What is your guilty pleasure?
I’ve a very sweet tooth. Probably cost me being a Flat Jockey!
Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?
Bruce Springsteen - Tougher Than the Rest; Bruce Springsteen – The Rising; Coldplay - Charlie Brown
What person do you admire the most and why?
My Mam and Dad
I better not bite the hand who feeds me most but roast beef by Mary Hogan
Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?
I really enjoyed Croatia (Dubrovnik) last summer
What ambitions do you still have?
We have the numbers now, but I want to keep building quality and win a Classic one day
What is the hidden gem of Tipperary?
I am very lucky to be surrounded by Lough Derg, Garrykennedy, Dromineer and Terryglass. On a summer day, they don’t get much better
When you think of your home what immediately springs to mind?
Great banter, cattle, tillage, machinery.
How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions?
I am very lucky to have been kept busy here with maintenance jobs around yard and helping on home farm
If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be?
We have a roof over our heads, these times will pass. Protect the vulnerable and 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?
Rome wasn’t built in a day - I wanted everything to happen overnight
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!
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