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"It's a bit strange" | Seamie Heffernan on winning races behind closed doors

Seamie Heffernan joined Friday Night Racing on Off The Ball in association with Horse Racing Ire...



Racing

"It's a bit strange" | Seamie Heffernan on winning races behind closed doors

Seamie Heffernan joined Friday Night Racing on Off The Ball in association with Horse Racing Ireland where he chatted bout his long career of success riding for Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle.

Heffernan guided Santiago to glory in the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Derby at The Curragh at the end of June, a meeting held like all others since lockdown behind closed doors.

The rider admits the experience of going racing, even when winning Classics, is now very different.

"It's a bit strange, there's nothing to get the adrenaline going quite like going racing," said the Ballydoyle rider.

"Whether it's watching, if you have a part of a horse, taking part, watching it in the ring. Seeing if horses are getting hot, just watching everything that is about to happen.

"Then when it happens, your heart rushes, it's amazing. Okay, for the odd horse, it doesn't pan out tactically, but I miss a big part of the people not being there."

Galway

Heffernan will not be at Galway as he will be serving a suspension picked up in France that follows his quarantine period, but he thinks it will not be the same without punters.

"There are no pluses in not having the people there," said the Derby-winning jockey, "but at least it will keep the thing [industry] going.

"Breeders are going to breed their few winners, owners are going to get their prizemoney, but hopefully, it'll get a few more people into the game and it's really interesting. The kick and the buzz and the different way you feel when you have a winner will cancel all of that out."

When asked about how to get more people racing, Heffernan admitted more could be done but is cautious about forcing people.

"There probably is more can be done, but you can't push people in either. All you can do is encourage them, and get them to have a go and some people will like it and some won't.

"The Irish are renowned for being the best horse people in the world, you can get a farmer with a horse and it's just a natural thing. The horse will follow them. It's something that we have and don't utilise enough, I think."


Read more about

Aidan O'brien Ballydoyle Galway Races Irish Derby Royal Ascot Seamie Heffernan The Curragh The Derby

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