Today’s interview is with Irish flat and national hunt trainer John McConnell, I hope you enjoy!
Me: What’s your favourite day of the racing calendar?
John: Grand National Day.
Me: What’s the goal for you and the team? Grand National, Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle. What’s the dream?
John: The Grand National. I grew up watching both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals every year but the Grand National continues to captivate me to this day. Just to have a runner would be so fulfilling and is a childhood dream of mine.
Me: If you could train one horse that is currently in training elsewhere, what horse would you choose and why?
Me: Pinatubo. He looks like a superstar in the making and I quite fancy winning a Classic or two.
Me: How supportive are other trainers with any help and advice?
John: It does vary but generally everyone is fairly supportive within the industry.
Me: Who do you look up to in the racing game?
John: Gordon Elliot because he hasn’t come from a privileged background. He had a great Cheltenham festival and I have the height of respect for him.
Me: Do you ever get any down time? What’s your favourite thing to do when you do get some spare time?
John: Very rarely but I like comedy gigs such as David O’Doherty, Micky Flanagan, etc.
Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?
John: Don’t get me started on those people or I’d be here for a day. It’s not cruelty, here end’th the lesson.
Me: What is your ‘horse to watch’ that you train?
John: Happaugue he’s won twice this year in Dundalk and is constantly improving.
Me: What’s your favourite racecourse to visit?
John: Punchestown. It’s my home track and hosts the best festival of the year.
Me: What’s your favourite race to watch back over the years?
John: Dúl Ar An Ól winning for us in Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday 2010. We landed a nice gamble that day.
Me: What are your opinions surrounding discussions of banning the whip?
John: It’s pandering to the anti’s and the whips these days are so cushioned that they are pain free for the animal.
Me: What is your best piece of advice for a young person following their passion, whether that be in racing or something else?
John: It’s better to live one day as a lion than one hundred years as a lamb. I gave up veterinary to follow my dream and I would have greatly regretted it if I hadn’t.
Firstly, as always, I want to say a massive thank you to John for giving me his time. I think John has a bright future ahead, he has goals for him and his team and such a smart business brain, I can see brilliant things coming from his yard.
I really hope you enjoyed this interview!