Racing to Glory

10 Mar , 2017  

Ireland has produced it’s fair share of horse trainers over the years and for this month’s edition of Irish Tractor & Agri, we profile the long-serving Pat Fahy.

A life time interest in our four-legged friends has seen Pat work with horses for many years. Having initially started out as a jockey, the Carlow native earned his spurs so to speak working with a number of trainers before starting out on his own in 1991.

From his stables in Ellen Lodge in Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, Pat has trained many winners over the years, which have given him so many great memories.

“It is always nice to have a winner and you would remember the majority of them. Of course, there have been ups and downs along the way, but it is something I love doing,” said Pat.

“I would have picked up a lot of experience working with the trainers before I set up my own stables. We started from humble beginnings with only a horse or two here, but now we have between 30 and 35 at most times.”

Pat’s motto of ‘making a plan and sticking to it’ has certainly stood him in good stead over the years as he is one of the most highly respected trainers in the game.

His experience allows him to tell very quickly whether a horse will be a winner or not and Pat admits that he will not keep a horse that he feels has no chance.

“If a horse is not good at all, you can nearly tell straight away, so there is no point in wasting the owners money. With other horses, it might not be just as clear, you have to give them a chance and maybe a race or two, before you will fully know if they are good enough or not.”

Pat feels that every horse he has in the yard at the moment has a great chance of success, but one of his favourites is Morning Assembly.

Pat knew when he first saw him that this was a horse with great potential.

“Steve Parkin wanted to have a horse with me in order to help me out,” says Pat. “For me. Not for him. That’s the type of guy he is. We couldn’t get anything at the Land Rover Sale or the Derby Sale, but as soon as we saw this fellow at the August Sale, we knew he was the right horse. He topped the sale at €15,000.”

The Shantou gelding surprised his trainer when he won on his racecourse debut in a Punchestown bumper in February 2012. Fahy would usually be happy with a good run on debut. Learn from your debut and move on. How far were you beaten? Can you make a racehorse out of this fellow? No doubts on that front here.

“To win a Grade 1 race was great. It’s not that we’re used to it, but we have done it before. And sure, there’s nothing thought of big winners around here in Leighlinbridge, with Jim Bolger and Willie Mullins both just down the road. You’re almost expected to win these big races around here!
Pat added that every winner counts for time, regardless of what type of race that they run in.

“It’s important for us to have all types of winners, get ordinary horses to win, get fillies to win. This fellow has to go and do it now. We have been around for long enough. The days for dreaming are over. But we are enjoying this lad immensely. It’s great to have him around, and Steve Parkin and Joe Foley are great guys. You have to enjoy these days.”

Having been off track for two years, Morning Assembly made his return to racecourse action in Fairyhouse at the end of January.

He was just touched off in a photo finish by Bridgets Pet, before finishing second behind Smashing in the Red Mills Chase in Gowran Park in mid-February.

The horse then went to the Cheltenham Festival, and he ran a cracker finishing 4th behind Un Temps Pour Tout in the Festival Handicap Chase.
“There is little doubt that he remains a very good horse and one hopes now that his troubles are behind him.”

Pat also mentioned some young horses that we’ll see at some stage over the next few months and he remarked: “The Green Lady, Aunt Berry and Good To Flow are three nice fillies that will go the bumper route. Their work has been good and I like them. The Green Lady was a winner back in April.

“I think they’ll be competitive, but like most of mine, they will improve with experience. They have done everything that has been asked of them at home. I also have two unnamed four year old fillies by Westerner and Stowaway who I like and they look sharp enough to go the bumper route.

“We have a few for the flat as well and I have two lovely two-year-olds by Casper Nector and Mastercraftsman. They are cantering away and we like them. There is also a nice three-year-old filly by Vale of York.

“Ballybacka Queen is back and she looks great. I’d say we might get her covered this year, but the aim is to win a stakes race with her. She went close to doing that last year and she is a lovely mare and I’d love to have a few more like her.”

Pat Fahy
Ellen Lodge
Racing Stables,
Co Carlow

Telephone: 086 8182414

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 4 No 8, October 2016