Upton jockey Wayne Lordan: Plenty to look forward to when racing returns

Upton jockey Wayne Lordan: Plenty to look forward to when racing returns
The scene at Dundalk for a behind closed doors meet when Lequinto and Wayne Lordan won. Picture: Healy Racing.

WHEN the first four Classics of the 2020 Flat campaign in Britain were deferred during the week it came as no surprise to anyone.

Both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, the Oaks and the Epsom Derby are the latest sporting events lost to the coronavirus. While it seems only a matter of time before the same happens here, our horses will still have to be ready for the resumption of racing on both sides of the Irish sea if and when that happens.

Wayne Lordan won the 1000 Guineas aboard Hermosa at Newmarket last season and outlines how the Ballydoyle team are coping right now.

“We are like everyone else really as our sport has been put on hold. Now thankfully we are able to exercise the horses every morning. So our normal day is to be in for 7am in the morning. 

"Aidan (O’Brien) will have a plan for every rider and we work the horses until about 12.30pm. Normally then we would go racing but that’s obviously cancelled right now. But I’ve a couple of small kids to keep me busy in the afternoons.”

One of the big challenges that face most jockeys is weight. Lordan can ride light which is a massive advantage with so many competitive handicaps. Being able to choose from a number of horses certainly helps in this game.

The Upton rider started out with fellow Cork man Thomond O’Mara before sharing his time between Tommy Stack and David Wachman. Following the retirement of the latter Lordan moved to Ballydoyle which has proved a master move.

Aerclub and Wayne Lordan win for trainer Henry de Bromhead. Picture: Healy Racing.
Aerclub and Wayne Lordan win for trainer Henry de Bromhead. Picture: Healy Racing.

“Everything has worked out well and riding horses with Ballydoyle will always give you a chance in the big races. I’ve been really lucky in my career to have ridden winners all over the world and at the biggest meetings.

“Winning the 1000 Guineas for a second time on Hermosa was the highlight for last season. So we are all eager to get back racing here but it like looking into a crystal ball trying to figure out when we will get back. I’m very lucky with my weight and I don’t need to go out running or do extra fitness work.”

The Guineas meeting was due to take place on May 2 and 3, with the Investec Derby Festival following on June 5 and 6, but both meetings will now be rescheduled 'once racing has resumed in Britain'.

“I really don’t know what is going to happen but I’m assuming we will be able to travel over to England anyway. These are huge meetings and all the Classics have massive ramifications for the breeding industry. 

"But right now I’m like everyone else really and just doing what the medical experts are saying. There are certainly plenty of very nice horses here at present.

“From the two-year-old colts Arizona won at Royal Ascot while Armory won three races and had a very high level of form. Those two horses will probably turn up at some of the bigger races whenever that is. And Innisfree was another who ran to a very high level of form. With racing cancelled the horses are just ticking over and we haven’t pressed any buttons yet.

“But all these colts are well capable of mixing it with the very best. Love was our stand out filly and she won the Moyglare which is a Group 1 contest. She had a great season and looks to have wintered very well.

“She holds entries in all the big fillies Classics so she is another one to keep an eye on. If she can be another Hermosa that would be great.”

So just like all the other sports racing will have to be patient. Flat racing in Britain is initially supposed to resume on May 1. It’s hard to see that happening at present. Over here there has been no time frame although we did race for a time behind closed doors which worked very well.

“To be fair to everyone across the industry, it did really work. We all kept our distance and between races, all the jockeys went out to our cars until ready to ride again. It worked really well so Irish racing will resume behind closed doors.

“It was important to demonstrate that we could achieve that before all racing was cancelled. We are all just hoping for the best right now but we have plenty to look forward too when we get back on a racetrack.”

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