Jockey Ronan Whelan made a massive decision in March 2021 to ride A Case of You in stead of Mooneista; a decision that would pan out to be a very successful one.
The Kildare native was a well-regarded graduate of the pony racing circuit, having ridden 95 winners and being crowned the leading pony rider in 2008.
Whelan took his first ride on the racecourse at the age of 16 and rode his first winner on just his second ride on Jim Bolger's Seachtanach at Navan in June, 2009.
He rode his first winner at Royal Ascot when he partnered Jennies Jewel to land the Ascot Stakes Handicap on June 15, 2016.
Whelan rode his first Group 1 winner when landing the Moyglare Stud Stakes on the Patrick Prendergast-trained Skitter Scatter on the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh in September, 2018.
However, it was in March 2021 that Whelan partnered Ado McGuinness and A Case of You and enjoyed his most successful run to date.
They teamed up to win the Group 1 the Prix de l'Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in October 2021 and then they went to Dubai and won the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in March of this year. It would be the biggest win in monetary terms for both trainer and jockey.
Speaking on Friday Night Racing, Whelan discussed his first ride on A Case of You, and how it came about.
"I was very excited alright," Whelan said. "He had a good enough profile at that stage. He won his Group 3 at the Curragh, so we knew he was definitely a decent animal.
"Obviously we didn't know he would get to the heights he's got."
As a freelance jockey, Whelan had the option of riding A Case of You or sticking with the Jack Davison trained Mooneista, who he was set to ride that night in Dundalk.
"I was actually in line to ride Mooneista as well, the night that I rode him in Dundalk," Whelan said. "So, I had a bit of a call to make.
"He had a bit of a bigger profile than she did, so I had to make a call whether to get on him or stay with Mooneista that night.
"Ado said whoever rode the horse that night was going to ride him for the rest of the year."
Either way, Whelan would have done well with either horse, however his decision to ride A Case of You definitely turned out to be the more successful choice.
"Jack was very good to me," Whelan said. "He gave me plenty of rides and she was his best horse in the yard too. So, I kind of had to make the call.
"I knew that, similar to [A Case of You], whoever rode her that night the next start or two after was going to stick with her. Either way it wouldn't have worked out too bad, but the way it's worked out with him, it's gone well."
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