‘I love what I do for a living, I am aware just how lucky I am’

‘I love what I do for a living, I am aware just how lucky I am’
Ballybreen and Conor Ring (black with white stars) winning The Introducing Racing TV Novices' Handicap Chase fromReal Armani (red cap) and Hard Knocks. Picture: Healy Racing

CONDITIONAL jockey Conor Ring is thrilled that racing has resumed in the UK.

The 27-year-rider feels that having live sport back on the television will help lift a lot of people’s spirts during these unprecedented times.

Flat racing in the UK started up again last Monday and Ring admits that a lot involved in the sport took racing for granted before the lockdown, he feels they didn’t realise just how good they had it before it was taken away.

“Most of us involved in racing live in a world where nothing else matters only horses and racing, a lot of times we are detached from what’s happening in the outside world.

“We took the sport for granted when it was put into lockdown, we were left in shock.

“Jockeys are by nature a busy bunch, riding out plenty of lots every morning and then travelling miles to go racing, we suddenly found ourselves with buckets of time on our hands.

“I’m very grateful to my boss Evan Williams for keeping me on, when the lockdown hit, we had a handful of horses in training and between looking after them and doing other chores around the yard, I was kept busy, we also have a lot of cows to be milked.”

The Freemount native has kept his weight under control and his fitness levels up and he is very much looking forward to national hunt racing recommencing and the start of next month.

“Its great to have any kind of racing back, in fact, it’s great to have any kind of live sport back on the TV, I cannot wait for the jumps to come back in July.

“Evan has a few nice horses to go to war with this season, I’m in good condition and hopefully, I will get my chance on a few on them.”

It’s nine years since the former student of Boherbue secondary school made the decision to ply his trade across channel.

Since arriving in the UK, he has ridden winners in every season, the highlight been winning the prestigious The Peter March Chase in 2014, aboard Wychwood’s Brook.

Unusually, Ring’s family have no background with racehorses.

“My family didn’t have any background or history in racing, however, my father used to enjoy a bit of hunting and he brought a pony for me when I was 10.

“I learned to ride on him, and I really enjoyed it, after a while, I got good enough to go hunting every week”.

“All I wanted to do was ride horses; I was well and truly bitten by the bug.

“I went to RACE in Kildare when I was 15, and while attending there I was sent to Adrian Sexton’s training stables.

“Shortly after arriving at Mr Sexton’s and having finished my time at RACE, I received my conditional licence.”

Following his education and grounding at Sexton’s, the fledgling rider got a job at Michael Hourigan’s Limerick stables where he rode 30 times for the yard over a period of a year and a half.

“One day I informed Mr Hourigan that I would like to give racing in the UK a crack, and he was kind enough to get me a position with Evan Williams.

“I arrived at Mr Williams’s racing yard in September 2011 and haven’t looked back since.

“It’s a great stable to be attached to, Mr Williams has been very good to me since I came over, he has given me plenty of opportunities.

“I love what I do for a living, I am aware just how lucky I am. There are a lot of long hours involved in been a professional jockey but it’s all worthwhile when you get a winner at the end of the day.

My main target this season is to lose my claim, if I do achieve it, I will be absolutely thrilled.”

Conor Ring has built a reputation as a hardworking, honest rider.

When given a chance, he’s as good as the top lads in the sport, he is blessed with a terrific racing brain and he has the ability to always be in the right position during a race.

The north Cork rider is another jockey to keep on your side during the coming season.

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