Becoming a horse trainer has been an ambition for Daragh ever since he left school in Tipperary, Ireland, aged 16. And he has not only now reached his goal, but is also one of the youngest trainers in Britain.
However, it has taken him a bit longer than anticipated. Daragh’s original, ambitious plan was to be working as a trainer by the age of 25 in a bid to provide a stable financial future and provide for his family with a baby on the way. But it ended up taking a few years longer and he eventually reached his target just prior to his 30th birthday – and is now running the region’s newest yard, based at Cherrybank in Waterbeck.
He currently trains 11 horses, As well as the training, he is involved in all aspects of their care, including cleaning the stables. After initially applying for his National Hunt trainer’s licence last summer, it was only in November when Daragh was given the good news that he had been waiting for. He said: “It was the best feeling ever and a relief to be granted it.”
Prior to becoming a trainer, Daragh was a groom, then a jump jockey for ten years and rode 40 winners. That gave him an insight into the demanding role of a trainer, which he believes is ten times more difficult than being a jockey, with long hours and most days starting work at 6 am.
He’s been lucky to get advice from some of racing’s most high profile personalities, including Grand National winning trainer John Leadbetter. Grateful to his backers Scott and Janet Lowther, who own the Cherrybank site, Daragh said: “I’ve got unbelievable backing and it’s a dream come true.”
As he begins to make his impact on the sport, he also acknowledges the support of Karla Cole, who works in the office at Waterbeck. The new year got off to a positive start for Daragh who saw one of his horses, Metro Boulot Dodo, perform well at Ayr Racecourse on January 2, finishing in third place. It was a performance which made Daragh extremely proud and he said: “I was emotional for Dodo.”
Looking ahead, he knows there will be challenges in such a competitive sport, but says his focus will be on keeping his horses both healthy and happy and hopes to, one day, see them perform at prestigious courses like Aintree and Cheltenham.