West Cork trainer still has a passion for hurling and racing 

West Cork trainer still has a passion for hurling and racing 
Rocky's Silver with David Kiely, Conor Orr, Phillipa Baird and James Dullea after winning the Betdaq Handicap Steeplechase. Picture: Healy Racing

IN this week’s Horse Racing Ireland series of questions and answers with trainers and jockeys from Cork, we speak to trainer James Dullea and put him under the spotlight.

What was your childhood ambition?

To hurl for Cork or to be a jockey.

Growing up, who was your sporting hero?

It is a dead heat between Brian Corcoran and Davy Russell.

Do you have a mentor?

Various people at different stages of my life were and are great support to me.

What or where is your happy place?

In the winner’s enclosure.

What sparked your love of racing?

Going point-to-pointing as a child every Sunday.

What horse put you on the map?

Newmill – I was working for John Joseph Murphy and I led him up when he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in Cheltenham in 2006.

An unbelievable experience and atmosphere.

Who is your favourite horse?

Moscow Flyer.

Describe the feeling of training your first winner?

Pure elation.

Dog Barrel Hill won a maiden hurdle for us at the 2011 Christmas Festival at Limerick.

What is your most memorable racing moment?

Dog Barrel Hill’s win at Limerick. You never forget your first winner.

What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?

Tramore, because I am lucky there and Leopardstown because it is the pinnacle track for me.

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

A farmer.

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

Tiger Roll.

Tiger Roll
Tiger Roll

How do you cope with pressure?

Pressure is for tyres.

What mental preparation do you do for the big days?

I stick to the routine, focusing on the job at hand.

How do you stay motivated?

By looking forward to the young horses that we have coming through.

How do you deal with dips in form?

I take the long view outside of racing.

What is your favourite sporting moment?

Cork winning the double in 1990.

Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation?

The Green Mile.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Tayto crisps.

Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?

Journey - Don’t Stop Believin’

Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger

Avicii - Without You

What person do you admire the most and why?

My wife – for obvious reasons.

Favourite dinner?

Bacon and cabbage.

Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?

West Cork

What ambitions do you still have?

Train a Cheltenham Festival winner.

Trainer James Dullea and jockey Conor Orr. Picture: Healy Racing
Trainer James Dullea and jockey Conor Orr. Picture: Healy Racing

What is the hidden gem of Cork?


When you think of Cork what immediately springs to mind?

The people and the scenery.

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

I am busy breaking young horses and enjoying spending more time with my family.

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

This too shall pass.

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

Be brave.

Favourite saying/quote?

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

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