Cork trainer Jimmy Mangan on the county's rich point-to-point heritage

Cork trainer Jimmy Mangan on the county's rich point-to-point heritage
Trainer Jimmy Mangan preparing to saddle his runner at Thurles back in February. Picture: Healy Racing

IN THE latest in a series from Horse Racing Ireland, JIMMY MANGAN gives an insight into his success as a trainer and what motivates him away the industry.

What was your childhood ambition? 

To be a top jockey. In hindsight, I should have concentrated more on that ambition, but I was young and careless at the time. I would always try to instill that in young aspiring jockeys today. You only get one shot at being a jockey so take it seriously and leave nothing behind.

Growing up, who was your sporting hero? 

Tommy Carberry was my idol. It’s funny because his son Paul is probably my favourite rider of all time. Both men had a gift that no mentor could teach, or practice could perfect.

What horse put you on the map?

Stroll Home winning the 1997 Galway Plate was a magic day and one that probably got my name in the national news for the first time.

Who is your favourite horse?

For obvious reasons, Monty’s Pass will always be the one who made all the graft worthwhile.

What is your most memorable racing moment?

Winning the Aintree Grand National in 2003. Everyone in our village of Conna had a few quid on him. Generations of our family aspired to have a horse like Monty’s Pass. My wife Mary rode the horse everyday at home and had him in peak condition. Barry Geraghty rode him with the ultimate confidence on the day.

That Grand National ‘dream’ was merely a distant fantasy all our lives, but Monty’s Pass made that fairytale a reality for everyone.

What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?

Cork Racecourse Mallow is one of the best in the country and a place I love to run horses and go racing. My daughter Jane rode her first winner there in 2011 in the colours of my brother Billy, so we have had some great days in Mallow.

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

I would probably be a bad farmer!

Trainer Jimmy Mangan and Sean Flanagan after Whinstone Boy won the Thyestes Chase in January. Picture: Healy Racing
Trainer Jimmy Mangan and Sean Flanagan after Whinstone Boy won the Thyestes Chase in January. Picture: Healy Racing

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

Envoi Allen. He is unbeaten and looks to have the world at his hooves. Hopefully, he stays sounds and fulfills his potential.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Apple tart and tea and lots of it!

What person do you admire the most and why?

John Magnier. I remember him milking cows at home in Grange and he has built his own empire from those foundations. John is still the same man today despite all his success as the man that milked those cows all those years ago.

Favourite dinner?

Sirloin steak medium to well with all the trimmings.

What is the hidden gem of your home county?

Honestly, Cork is home to some of the best point-to-points in the country. Regardless of whether I have a runner, I would go to a point-to-point every Sunday and it is down to the community effort across the countryside of Cork. It is a lovely tradition and one that is synonymous with this part of the country.

Arvicta and Johnny Hurley gallop through the overflowing River Bride to win for trainer Jimmy Mangan. Picture: Healy Racing.
Arvicta and Johnny Hurley gallop through the overflowing River Bride to win for trainer Jimmy Mangan. Picture: Healy Racing.

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

Be more professional. Everything has become more polished since my younger days and perhaps I should have anticipated the changes coming. I would apply myself more and leave nothing to chance.

Favourite saying?

Take care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself.

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