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C


heltenham has been described as the Oscars of the horse racing world. Every year thousands of


Irish people flock to the Prestbury Park course to place their bets and chase the dream. Irish trainers and jockeys have had great success at Cheltenham in the past, and great heartbreak. It will be a busy Cheltenham for


Knockeen based horse trainer Henry De Bromhead. Henry has been steadily building a name for himself since he took over the stables in Waterford from his father back in 1999. The De Bromheads originally came from France and have equestrianism in their blood. We caught up with Henry…


You must be very excited about Chelten- ham this year! With fancied horses in many races, particularly the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup, you must fancy your chances of winning? “Cheltenham is super. There’s so much hype surrounding it. All season we seem to be gearing up to it. It can be a lonely place when it’s not going well for you. But, if things are going well, there’s nowhere better. This year we have a very good team:


Petit Mouchoir in the Champion Hurdle, Champagne West in the Gold Cup, Sub Lieutenant in the Ryanair Chase, Special Tiara in the Champion Chase. We have a runner in all the top races which is very exciting. Although Cheltenham has been good to


Henry in the past, he admits his heart lies at home at his local racing ground, “I have to say, I love Tramore. It’s always a great place to have a winner. I enjoy different festivals for different reasons.” However overall, Tramore racecourse is the winner, “It’s a great place, great fun and it’s great to be surrounded by all your friends.”


Most racing commentators re- mark on how well your horses jump – is there a special train- ing schedule you use? We do plenty of schooling and we do dressage like work to get the horses more agile. We also try and get the horses to enjoy jumping.


Henry de Bromhead and his wife Heather after Sizing Europe won at Cheltenham


and of course at home. Dad also rode as an amateur and went into training horses. I have never ridden as an amateur.


Has the way racehorses are trained changed much since your grand- fathers/father’s time? Yes, very much so. Martin Pipe revolution- ised training methods with his interval training – leaving no stone un- turned to get the very best out of each horse.


“We


Does your father still take an interest in your progress? Yes he does - Dad is on the gallops every morning and he has just celebrated his 80th birthday.


have a runner


in all the top races which is very exciting.”


Your father must have ridden as an ama- teur on every race course in Ireland – did you ever ride in a race? My Grandfather was an amateur jockey, he was one of the few amateurs that was given a license to ride against profession- als in those days. Apparently, he was a very good rider. He used to ride in India


You had an urge to train race- horses from a very early age. Can you explain what it was that drove your ambition? Growing up with dad training, I found the whole business


fascinating but realised how tough


it was. He had a couple of lean years and it soon hit home what a competitive game it is. I used to know the form inside out, aged 12. I was just passionate about the whole racing scene, but I have to admit there was a time when I set out on an ac- countancy course and could have followed another career.


Can you tell our readers a little about your


Champagne West saw his odds for the Cheltenham Gold Cup cut after his recent win in the Goffs Thyes- tes Chase at Gowran Park


own start in racing? The name Sir Mark Prescott often crops up…. I started work with Coolmore, I then moved to Robert Alner and I ended up as Assistant Trainer to Sir Mark Prescott, which was a very exciting position.


Training racehorses is a full-on, 24/7 exis- tence. How do you switch off? If you ask my wife Heather she would say I don’t switch off! I’m very lucky to work in racing – it’s my passion as well as my job. I enjoy watching the good horses and races, even when I don’t have a runner. The twins Mia and Jack, and Georgia, all ride so we enjoy watching them at Pony Club and shows. Sometimes we’ll go and watch rugby together. They also like coming to the races with us.


Finally, do you encourage people to put syndicates together or racing clubs? Yes we do, it is a great way for people to get involved in racing. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.


WATERFORD 13


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