Tommy Harrigan is an apprentice jockey now working for Simon Dow in Epsom. He had his first winner on 3rd July at Yarmouth at 5.10 in The Trafalgar Restaurant Hands and Heels Apprentice Series Handicap Stakes (class 6 ) (Part of the Racing Excellence Initiative).
In 2008, I was doing a long reining exhibition at Michael Attwater’s racing stable on open day with my Thoroughbred, Melmott. At the yard was a young lad who wanted one thing and one thing only and that was to be a jockey. He was learning to ride and wanted to ride a thoroughbred. Of course this presents problems, he could just ride a trot, but could not ride well enough to take on a difficult racehorse. Most racehorses are tricky rides unless very well trained or old.
So Karen and Michael asked me if I would take him on and soon he was up on ‘Smelly’ every weekend. He walked and trotted him and then once I deemed he was good enough he had his first gallop. it is a difficult art to master, to balance, not to pull, to communicate with your voice and heels, but not to interfere with the speed and balance of the horse. I think it is one of the ultimate sports. Tommy was doing well. ‘Smelly did take him for a ride once or twice and frightened the daylights out of him when he pretened to bolt, but Tommy is tough and took the joke well. They made a good pair.
I had to put my horse down in May 2011 as he had become too tricky to manage and was in clearly in pain from earlier injuries. But he had done his job with Tommy. Tommy went on to work for Roger Ingram and then went to Newmarket where he was apprentice to Gay Kellaway.
While he was with Roger Ingram he had his first ride at Lingfield. We all went and it snowed. You could hardly see a hand in front of your face. But Tommy did well. Now I am delighted to announce that he has had his first winner. I cheer him on. it is a tough business, you have to keep your head on get up early and graft, it has to be one of the toughest business to be in but so rewarding, for horses are rewarding. Well done Tommy, and well done to his Mum for sticking with him and helping him every bit of the way.