As Richie Killoran was in the saddle on the last occasion we had a 29th April winner, on Lord Gunnerslake at Huntingdon a decade ago today, it feels an appropriate time for our next ‘Where are they now’ segment.
How did you start off in racing?
I joined the Irish Racing Academy (RACE), where I was in the same dorm as Brian Hughes, who remains a very good friend. His career trajectory remains a little more impressive than mine!
My first job in the UK was with Andrew Balding, but I became a little too fat for the flat, so I switched to National Hunt and joined Nicky Henderson’s.
When did you start coming in to Pant Wilkin?
Too long ago to remember exactly, but I know it took Tim a little while to give me any rides. The first winner I rode for the yard was Flying Grey at Newton Abbot in August 2008. I was coming in once a week for a good while from then on, all the way through until my final couple of rides, which were both for Tim up at Hexham. Unfortunately I had to sign off with a second!
What was your favourite horse?
That’s an easy one…Little Shilling (pictured). He had run 16 times without winning, but he became a winning machine and won his first six for Tim and owners Optimum Racing, all within the space of 35 days. I was on board for five of those wins, and added another on him the following season – off a 48lbs higher mark than when he started. I also had a real soft spot for Hawkhill – I only rode him once (and won), but he was such a tough horse.
I’d had a decent season in 2011-12 with 26 winners, but the following season was a struggle and by 2013 I had decided to hang up my boots. I had been thinking for a little while about what might be next (I had plenty of time to do so while riding in the 1000km Mongol Derby in the summer of 2012) and when I did stop riding, I learned the ropes in a new career in asset management for a couple of years.
I moved on to CCLA Investment Management in 2017 and have been there ever since, qualifying as a Chartered Financial Analyst last year. We manage over 10 billion for various charities and organisations in the UK and my role involves analysing stocks and advising the portfolio managers on what we buy, sell or hold.
I’ve also found time to get married (to Erin, a fellow rider whom he met during the Mongol Derby!) and we have a son, Theo.