Thursday, May 21, 2020

Trainer Michael Halford
Photo: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

NAME: Michael Halford

What was your childhood ambition?

To be a jockey

Growing up, who was your sporting hero?

Lester Piggott

Do you have a mentor?

My father was. I am very lucky to have some very good friends whose judgement I trust

What or where is your happy place?

At the top of the gallops watching the horses working

What sparked your love of racing?

My father was a farrier, so I used to go around the racing yard and go racing with him

What horse put you on the map?

Cockney Lass – she was owned by my dad and his good friend Eddie Dunne. She won her two-year-old maiden at the Curragh in the first year I was training. She was also placed in a Group race and we sold her then to Dermot Weld for a nice pot and she did very for well for Dermot too.

Who is your favourite horse?

Katiymann. He has been a great servant; he is a very special horse for us. My late father always wanted to have a winner in Galway, and the year that he wasn’t well, Katiymann won his maiden there.

Describe the feeling of training your first winner?

Relief!!! As I rode the horse as well. It was Kath-Der-Mar in the bumper at Wexford on July 2, 1984

What is your most memorable racing moment?

Certerach winning the Dubai Gold Cup in 2014

What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?

The Curragh

If you weren’t a trainer what would you be?

Unemployable!!!

If you could train one horse, what would it be?

Enable

How do you cope with pressure?

I think I handle pressure quite well, but you should probably ask my family!

What mental preparation do you do for the big days?

They are all big days for me but if we have all the boxes ticked that is all you can do. Then try and enjoy them

How do you stay motivated?

It is easy when you love what you do. A good horse or two also helps!

How do you deal with dips in form?

Same as the highs. Sit tight, it is only temporary

Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?

I am not a huge sports follower, but I like watching any sport played at its best

Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation?

We only got Netflix recently. I watched ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and enjoyed it

What is your guilty pleasure?

Ice-cream

Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?

I’m a fan of anything by Genesis, Black Eyed Peas and Christy Moore

What person do you admire the most and why?

Kevin Prendergast because he is a great trainer and an inspiration to have the enthusiasm at his age

Favourite dinner?

Steak and chips

Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?

Holidays aren’t high on the agenda, but time spent in Dubai with the family is always good

What ambitions do you still have?

To train a Classic winner

What is the hidden gem of Kildare?

The National Stud

When you think of your home what immediately springs to mind?

My family

How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions?

I am kept busy with the horses and cutting grass. It is also great to spend more time with the kids

If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be?

We are all in this together. There will be some good to come out of it eventually

If you were to go back to when you were 20 years old and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Drive on, follow your dreams

Favourite saying/quote?

Accept don’t expect

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