We are delighted to bring you an interview with Sean Davis. Having spent last season battling with Cieren Fallon for the Apprentice Championship, Sean has now turned Professional. We talk about his journey to the top, last season’s tense title battle and find out how Sean is during this testing time….
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I’m 21, I’m Irish I come from a town called Maynooth in county Kildare, I lived there most of my life with my Mother and Father, Liz and Paul, my older sister Ciara and younger brother Daire.
I don’t have too many hobbies outside racing, the only sport I follow is Boxing, I boxed as a kid and into my early teens and it’s a sport I love.
Can you remember your earliest racing memory?
My Earliest Racing memory was when I was 9/10 years old, we spent a lot of time at my aunty Marys and she always made me and my brother pick a horse for the Aintree Grand National…
We all had a bet and watched the race in the pub, it was my first time watching horse racing and I loved it.
When did you decide you wanted to become a Jockey?
I never enjoyed school and spent more time out of it then in it, my cousin got me a job in a small Point to Point yard in County Meath with a man called Sean Mahon, who took me under his wing and I spent a lot of my teens there working and learning to ride.
Gary Halpin had been working there before me and was having success as a jockey, I knew him growing up and it inspired me to want to be a jockey.
What advice did you seek on your path to becoming a Jockey?
Obviously being close friends with Gary Halpin before I got into racing helped me a lot on my path to becoming a jockey & Gary gave me a lot of advice early in my career.
How did you go about finding an Apprenticeship?
When I decided I wanted to be a jockey Sean Mahon advised me to go to RACE (Irish Racing Academy) so my parents got me all the forms and we signed up.
I had to go on a weeks trial and luckily I was accepted, It’s a 10 month course and after 5 months I was sent out to work for Trainer Michael O’Callaghan, I worked hard there and as my riding improved Michael signed me on as an apprentice.
I was his first ever Apprentice and I’m grateful to him and his Father Michael Senior for the great opportunities they gave me at the start of my career.
Can you tell us about your first ride as a Apprentice?
My first ride was at Limerick on a horse called Bob’s the Business, he was a tricky ride, got very upset in the stalls and when they opened he ran away with me. We went 10 lengths clear and was like a rabbit in headlights turning into the straight, it all happened very quickly.
How many rides did it take to land your first winner?
I’m not certain of the amount but I think it was 25/30 rides before I rode my first one.
You and Cieren Fallon had a heck of a battle last season for the Apprentice Jockey, that must have been quite exciting, can you tell us about what it was like from your perspective?
It was very enjoyable, my first season where I felt I was on a competitive level with the other jockeys and not just making up the numbers, thankfully I had massive support from Richard Fahey and I was going racing every day with plenty of horses to ride. I was doing 2 meetings 2/3 times a week, always on the go, studying form, watching replays and ringing trainers.
It was a lot easier to stay focussed and ride consistently because you were racing everyday and if you felt you messed up on one you had the chance to get it right the next day rather than go a couple of days without riding.
It was a great experience.
You had a fantastic season last year, what are your aims for this season?
It’s my first year as a professional Jockey so I’m hoping to keep the winners coming, I’d like to prove myself and be seen as more than capable of competing with other top professionals and keeping my fingers crossed to get on a nice horse that could give me a big day during the year.
What was your favourite race from last season?
Fairy Stories getting her 3rd win on the bounce at Redcar, I think she won a length but she gave me a great feel throughout the race and I knew after going a furlong I was on a winner.
If you could ride any horse PAST or PRESENT, who would it be & why?
Sea the stars, he seemed relatively straight foward, very genuine and tough.
The races he won are the very races every jockey wants to win and he was trained by John OX, who is a true Gentleman.
How are you coping with the current situation?
I’m coping well, I’m riding out for Michael Halford in the mornings and spending the evenings at home, my partner Sinead is keeping me busy mucking out and riding Ponies.
We would like to thank Sean for his time & wish him all the best for the future as we know it will be a bright one…
Interview – Rich Williams
Pictures – Sean Davis, Gary Halpin & Michael O’Callaghan(All Twitter)
Sea the Stars(File)