Q and A with Shane Quinlan
Q Introduction – Where did you grow up and when did you first sit on a pony (if you did)?
A I grew up in a small village called Glanworth in county Cork. I didn’t have any interest in horses until I was 13 as my brother had been riding for a few years before I got the urge to take an interest. We started riding at a place called Ballykenly stud not too far from our home. It was also a livery yard and held pony camps and hunter trials each year.
Q When did you first start riding thoroughbreds and what / when and where was your first ride?
A I first got into thoroughbreds when I went to the racing school in Ireland. I got work placement with Michael Halford who was a flat trainer and spent 18 months there before I turned my attention to jump racing to where I work for Peter Fahey for another 18 months. I had my first ride in November 2013 at limerick racecourse in a handicap hurdle.
Q What was your first winner point-to-pointing and what do you remember about the ride?
A My first winner pointing was on a horse called Emgee for Andrew Campbell and I remember I had to push him for a long way and jumped the last upsides to go on and win by 2 lengths. I then got off jelly legged with 2 and a half stone of lead and saddle to try haul back to the weigh in 27 degrees heat which to an Irish person is unbearable at the best of times.
Q How many winners in total have you ridden in point-to-points and under rules?
A I’ve had 22 winners in total 16 under rules 5 pointing and 1 in Norway.with the latest being a win on Parlour Maid for Richard Hawker at Lingfield on 15th January in a Novice Handicap Chase
Q You have worked for some well- known trainers – who has been the greatest influence on you?
A I’ve worked with lots of good people and have gotten good advice and help from them all which I’ve taken on board to what I think has helped me along the way.
Q Are there any riders that you seek to model yourself on and why?
A I think I’m quite a calm rider so I tend to watch a few jockeys and take bits of their riding styles into account I.e. Noel Fehily, Ruby and Paul Moloney when he was riding.
Q What is the best horse you have ridden and why?
A The best horse I’ve ridden in a race was Roman flight for David Dennis as he was a classy horse when he was in form and I also had my first ride in England on him at Cheltenham which turned out to be a winner so it was a great start.
Q You ride under rules for Dai Williams. He has been involved in racing a long time – how did the connection start?
A Dai trained not too far from where I do some work with yearlings near Swindon and I had a friend on the same yard where he had his horses so when I had been up helping them out I got talking to Dai and it started from there. He is very laid back like myself and I think that is why the connection works. Long may it continue.
Q There are a number of Quinlans in racing – are you related to any of these and if so which ones and how?
A If I got a £1 for every time I was asked that question I would probably be a millionaire by now haha. Until last October I was related to none of the other jockeys until my brother Colin came to England and he has had a handful of rides.
Q Who are you hoping to ride for this coming point to point season?
A I will hopefully keep riding for the likes of Jonathan Tudor, Harriet Brown, Stuart Penny and whoever else I can get in contact with.
Q Are you available for schooling if any trainers are seeking an experienced rider who could ride in races during the 2018/19 point-to-point season?
A Yes I always try make myself available to meet with new people and help out where I can.
Q What interests do you have outside horses and racing?
A Outside of racing I try play a bit of golf, but I’m also in the Insurance industry which I do as another job so don’t get much time nowadays.
Q What is the funniest moment you can tell us from your experiences racing or point-to-pointing?
A I had just started pointing and I got put in touch with a man in his late 60’s to ride a horse for him at Cold Harbour. When I met him I found it very hard to judge him as I couldn’t tell if he was being serious as he was quite a character and loved a story. He went on to start telling me about the horse I was going riding and started off with ‘I bet you’ve never ridden a horse in a race like this fella! I questioned him to why that was? He started telling me about the gelding and how he wasn’t really a gelding as he was missing all his man parts to which the questions that I started to ask myself were unanswerable. The rest of the conversation went over my head as I was still baffled and scratching my head about this horse I was heading out to ride shortly. The rest is history. Pointing is great as you get to meet characters like this along the way.
Q What is your favourite point-to-point course and why?
A I would say Larkhill just because it’s a nice big galloping track and you have plenty of time around there to get a horse into a rhythm.
Q What would be your ultimate riding ambition?
A My realistic ambitions at this moment in time would be to try ride out my 7lb claim under rules and start picking up a lot more pointing rides. But an ultimate ambition of mine would be to get placed in an Aintree fox hunters.