FORMER Coláiste Treasa student Bryan Carver continues to be one of the rising stars of national hunt racing in the UK.
The 23-year-old conditional jockey, who is based with leading jumps trainer Paul Nicholls, has enjoyed another fruitful season, the Kanturk native has recorded 28 winners under rules so far this season.
“I’m over the moon the way this season has gone for me, I’ve had 100 more rides than I had last term, I set myself a target of riding 30 winners in total for the season and so far I’ve ridden 28 and there are a few weeks to go yet. Fingers crossed that I can reach my target.”
The well-spoken jockey is also delighted that the sport continued behind closed doors during the recent lockdowns in the UK. The talented horseman has been kept busy during these difficult times.
“We are lucky that the sport continued during the Covid restrictions, since we resumed last July, we raced every day, the strict protocols that were put in place by the BHA insured that everyone was kept safe and that racing could continue.
“It is very strange to be riding a meeting without the public attending but it’s something we have all got used to.
I found Cheltenham particularly weird, leaving the parade ring you had to remind yourself just where you were and the status of the race you were about to ride in.”
As we know the Irish enjoyed a record-breaking festival while the British trainers had a disaster, Carver can’t quite put his finger on the reason for this.
“It’s hard to explain just what went wrong for the UK trainers this term, all I can think of is the Irish trainers aren’t afraid of taking each other on with their good horses. They do battle with each other at all the big meetings and they seem to have a clear road map worked out to Cheltenham.
“It’s great to see that the Irish riders based on both sides of the Irish Sea are riding on top of the game, and long may it continue.”
Carver is the envy of a lot of jockeys, he is based with one of the best trainers that the sport has ever produced.
“I am very lucky to be working for Paul Nicholls, he is a great supporter of mine and is very generous in letting me ride for other trainers when I can. I am working with the best horses on a daily basis, we are kept busy every day during the winter period. We will start getting a bit quiet from now on but having said that we will have about 30 horses for summer jumping which I’m looking forward to.”
Carver differs from most of his weigh room colleagues as he doesn’t come from a family steeped in racing, he didn’t sit on a racehorse until he was 16.
“I was in Transition Year in school when I first rode a horse. It happened by accident really, my first cousin is Killian Leonard who rides on the flat back home, he invited me one Saturday morning to go along with him to Mick Winters yard.
From the moment Mick got me up on a horse I just fell in love with it and went along every weekend after that.
"I spent a little time at Louis Archdeacon’s as well, he was very good to me, it was Mick and Louis that have played big parts in getting me started as a jockey. I have a lot to thank them for.”
The aspiring young rider plied his trade in the point-to-point fields for a while with little success. Mick Winters suggested to him that if he was to take riding seriously and give it a go he would have to move to the UK.
“David Noonan’s uncle Timmy was my postman at the time, and he asked me one day when he was dropping off our post what I would like to do after finishing school. I told him I would like to give riding a try in the UK.
“He contacted David who is based with David Pipe in England and between them, they arranged for me to travel over and I’m in the UK ever since.”
Bryan Carver works six days at Paul Nicholls’s world-renowned stables and on his day off he schools for other handlers who are based near him. With the continued support of these trainers and from his boss, Carver is sure to enjoy a stellar career.
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