We are delighted to bring you an interview with Rossa Ryan, a bright light in the apprentice jockey ranks under the watchful eye of Richard Hannon…
What is your first memory of horse racing?
My first memory that I definitely won’t forget and my father won’t let me either, was when my father won the Pat Taaffe chase in Punchestown in 2006 with a horse called One Four Shannon.
Did you always want to be a jockey?
Yes, always from a young age I wanted to be a jockey.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming an apprentice with Richard Hannon?
My journey to Richard Hannons started when I just finished pony racing. My father got a call from Richard in October to come over for a weeks trial and at the end of the week he ask me to sign on but the only thing was I was still in school, so on the 21st of January I started my new job in Richard Hannons as an apprentice and I have never looked back since.
How would you best describe your riding style?
The only word I can think of to describe my style of riding is a very flat back only because that was what my jockey coach Roddi Green use to always say.
We spoke to Oisin Murphy and he said he would love to be Champion Jockey, is this one of your targets?
In my eyes if you don’t have the target of trying to be champion jockey and that doesn’t push you to do that, then One day I honestly think the racing game isn’t for you. I can’t except being like everyone else, I would always have wanted to be the best at any sport I took part in even when I was in school or doing other things in life and that drives me to keep going and improving and trying to succeed.
Can you remember your first winner?
Yes my first winner was for a next door neighbour of mine, who use to have horse in training with my father a couple of years back. I remember my uncle’s were home from Australia and they came to Dundalk on the Wednesday but i wanted them to come Friday because i had ridden Solar Heat the time before and I thought she had a very good chance but no nobody brought me because it was my sister’s birthday and they all went into Galway for the Christmas market while I had got dropped to Paul Flynn’s yard in Athlone to get a lift up and back with him. It was a brilliant day and one I’ll never forget.
What has been your favourite moment as a Jockey to date?
My most memorable winner to date would have to be EL Astronaute for John Quinn in York during the big Ebor festival at York. Getting him up in that Class 2 handicap in front of that big crowd on one of the biggest days of the racing calendar. It was an unbelievable buzz when I passed the line in front.
Do you set season targets? And what motivates you?
Targets for the year will be to try and get on some good horses but the main one for me is to reach 100 in a year, I reached 78 winners last year and I just think there is nothing stopping me getting to 100. That’s what will drive me and I won’t be satisfied with myself till I do it that’s what drives me.
What Classic would you like to win?
If I’m honest I wouldn’t complain about winning a classic but the stand out would be the Derby that’s the top of the top for me.
If you could ride any horse PAST or PRESENT, who would it be and why?
The horse I would of loved to ride by a way and a far is Frankel. He just could do anything, Tom Queally could put him any where he wanted from running away with him in a classic to dropping out last in the Juddmonte International in York. In my opinion he was the best horse I have ever witnessed so far in my life.
And finally, could you give our readers a horse to follow for the season ahead?
A horse to follow for me is Floating Artist out of Richard Hannons yard. I won on him in his maiden and that turned out a very good maiden and was second in a listed race at Haydock next time to the fourth in the Racing Post Trophy, Great Shot of Tom Dascombe’s. I think he looks a nice prospect rolling into this coming season.
We would like to thank Rossa for the interview along with all the best for the season ahead and the future. We look forward to seeing Rossa in a winners enclosure in the very near future and are in no doubt, that the 100 winners will happen….
Pictures via the Internet…
Interview by Rich Williams