North Cork's Brendan Murphy is making tracks as a trainer

North Cork's Brendan Murphy is making tracks as a trainer
Bonarc and David Mullins jump the last to win the Tulsk Mares Maiden Hurdle earlier this week. Picture: Healy Racing

RISING star of the training ranks Brendan Murphy was granted his trainer’s licence in late 2018.

The former top-class rally driver had to carry out extensive building and refurbishments to his yard in Kanturk to meet the required guidelines, according to Murphy the investment has been worthwhile.

“I am more than pleased with the way things are working out for me since I starting training. Annie Flor has been a great servant of the yard.

“She finished third on her first start for me, then a few weeks later I ran her in a handicap at Leopardstown and she supplied me with my first winner as a licensed trainer.

“Three days later she won again at Gowran. I am also delighted that I trained her to be placed in Group 2 contest at The Curragh. She has really helped to put my yard on the map. Every horse I ran bar one has picked up prize money, of course I’m happy at the way it’s working out for me so far.”

Murphy comes from a family steeped in horses, racing and breeding is in his DNA. His aunt Joan has been a prominent breeder for the past number of years, and she continues to be so. She is a huge asset to his yard and is very active at the sales.

“As a family, we have had great success with horses, both producing them and owning them, down through the years there have been Hennessy Gold winners, Group one winners in Belmont Park and a host of winners in Ireland, UK and in America.

“As a young lad the family wanted me to get involved, they bought me ponies which at the time I was nearly killed on, my passion was motorsport which I really enjoyed. I travelled England, Wales and Europe competing in rally and Formula racing.

“I had a lot of success winning Welsh National titles and Junior Rally Championship titles. Unfortunately, it had come to an end, I suppose you can say that I am now involved in a different type of horsepower, the kind that can kick back.”

Seven years ago, Murphy decided to get involved in horse racing. He freely admits that he needed something to fill the void and feed his demons. He started riding at hunts and soon discovered that he enjoyed it.

He worked for a while with Tony and Willie Mullins where he learned the tools of his trade.

He also worked with another Mullins brother, George, who runs a very successful horse transport business. Being involved in the industry led him to ownership.

He purchased Aurelia Cotta and gave her to Eddie Linehan in Glantane to train, she won twice in 24 hours in 2015 at Gowran Park and Leopardstown, the former rally driver was well and truly bitten by the racing bug now.

“I had great times with Aurelia Cotta, Eddie did a great job with her and Denis, his brother, gave her super rides, there is nothing better than the feeling when your horse crossed the line in front.

“Working for the Mullins brothers was brilliant, I soaked up as much knowledge of the sport as I possibly could.

“The one thing in particular that I picked up from Willie was that you are only as good as your staff, if you have a great, loyal workforce that you feel confident enough to delegate, then it’s half the battle. I am very lucky to have a great team behind me.”

The life of a trainer is a hectic one, long hours, miles of travel and endless amounts of office work.

“I ride out every morning at seven, I then might have to drive and pick a lad up, back to do a few hours of paperwork, ensuring entries are made and passports are in order, I make my final checks around the yard at midnight, then it’s to bed, rise, and repeat.

“Don’t get me wrong I love every moment of it.”

The popular north Cork man is looking forward to the season getting into full swing now that racing has resumed.

“I can’t wait to run a few exciting youngsters shortly as well as a few older campaigners, my main aim this year is to have a winner at Cork, that would be brilliant to have one at your local track.”

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