An Interview with John McConnell

John McConnell

Hey guys!

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!


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