Folks, anyone who followed my Trainer Q and A pieces over the last lockdown may have found a winner or two, but they were very interesting pieces nonetheless. This time around we have Troytown-winning trainer Ronan McNally.
Based in County Armagh, Ronan McNally has a small, but select, yard that has gathered pace in recent times with some noteworthy victories. Ronan also runs a kitchen business so that keeps him busy.
The yard is family-based with his son Kian – known to so many as Tubs – a constant figure on TV and also social media. Kian is involved in pony racing and in his first fully-fledged pony race in Dingle, he finished second to Sam Ewing, who is now based with Ger Lyons.
Following the success of The Jam Man in the Troytown at Navan on November 8th, Kian got a lovely present of the goggles worn by Paul Townend to success in that race. It simply shows the character of the young man and Paul Townend’s generosity in that excellent gesture.
In terms of success this season, it has been nothing short of phenomenal for the small team. Dreal Deal has gone up through the ranks with ease and Maxine O’Sullivan has given the horse some excellent rides.
To get See Double You back on the track at the age of 17 was an excellent training performance and Ronan had mentioned that the horse is still enthusiastic about the game and hopefully we will see him again soon.
The Jam Man has been a revelation for the yard winning a Grade B Handicap Hurdle before only recently landing the Troytown at Navan under an excellent ride from Paul Townend, who saved ground along the inside of the track.
It is a credit to such a small and select team that they are doing so well.
I thank Ronan for his time and wish him all the very best for the future.
NAME ; RONAN MC NALLY
WHERE ARE YOU BASED? ARMAGH
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN RACING? I WORKED FOR JOHN WOODS, WHO TRAINED IN ARMAGH.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO TRAIN RACEHORSES? WAS JUST BY ACCIDENT REALLY; AROUND ELEVEN OR TWELVE YEARS AGO I TOOK A HALF-SHARE IN A FILLY ON THE FLAT AND TRAINED HER MYSELF.
HOW LONG IS YOUR NORMAL WORKING DAY? START AT 6AM AND USUALLY GET TO SIT DOWN AND CHILL AT ABOUT 10PM.
HOW MANY HORSES HAVE YOU IN AT THE MINUTE? WE HAVE FIVE IN AT THE MINUTE.
DESCRIBE THE FEELING OF YOUR FIRST WINNER AND WHAT HORSE WAS IT?
WINFORJOE, THE WEE FILLY THAT I FIRST TRAINED, SHE WON ON HER SECOND START FOR ME, I RODE HER MYSELF, AND THE FEELING WAS OF SATISFACTION, I WAS ECSTATIC.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH DIPS IN FORM OF THE HORSES?
WE TRY AND TRAIN THEM THE SAME, IT’S A SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR ME, I WOULD TRY AND FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM AND IT’S USUALLY SOMETHING CAUSING A HEALTH ISSUE, MAYBE POOR HAY OR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE.
ONE HORSE TO FOLLOW FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? THE JAM MAN
FAVOURITE RACECOURSE AND WHY? I LOVE NAVAN (WHERE TH JAM MAN WON THIS YEAR’S TROYTOWN).
TOUGHEST COURSE TO TRAIN A WINNER?
I’M SURE THAT’S PROBABLY GOING TO BE CHELTENHAM, THAT’S WHERE EVERYONE WANTS TO TRAIN A WINNER, I’M SURE I WILL GET ONE THERE SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.
ITS GREAT TO SEE YOUR YARD FAMILY BASED, WITH YOUR SON KIAN “TUBS” SCHOOLING THE HORSES, HOW IS HE GETTING ON WITH THE PONY RACING, HE SEEMS LIKE A GREAT CHARACTER IN THE YARD?
YES TUBS IS A MASSSIVE CHARACTER IN THE YARD. HE SEEMS TO BE KNOWN BY EVERYONE IN IRELAND AND THE UK, LOL! I’M KNOWN AS TUBS’ DAD BY MOST PEOPLE! DUE TO COVID, PONY RACING WAS LOST THIS YEAR AND THAT WAS A MASSIVE LOSS TO HIM.
HE HAD RIDDEN PLENTY OF WINNERS IN THE LOCAL PONY RACES PRIOR TO THAT. IN HIS FIRST FULLY-FLEDGED PONY RACE DOWN IN DINGLE HE WAS SECOND, JUST BEATEN BY SAM EWING. TUBS WAS ONLY NINE SO THAT WAS MASSIVE FOR HIM. HE IS A JOY TO HAVE AROUND THE YARD AND KEEPS EVERYONE SMILING.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WINNER ;
SPLIT BETWEEN SEE DOUBLE YOU WINNING AT THE AGE OF 16 AT ROSCOMMON AND THE JAM MAN WINNING THE GRADE B HURDLE AT NAVAN (QUESTION ASKED PRIOR TO THE JAM MAN WINNING THE TROYTOWN)
THE RISE THROUGH THE HANDICAP WITH DREAL DEAL HAS BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF PHENOMENAL: IS THIS SOMETHING YOU SAW AT HOME OR WAS IT A GRADUAL PROGRESSION?
IT HAS BEEN A GRADUAL PROGRESSION. WE THOUGHT HE WAS NICE WHEN WE BOUGHT HIM AND HE STARTED OFF WELL AND THEN WENT BACKWARDS. HE WAS WEAK AND GOT ASPERGILLOSIS INTO THE YARD. WE GAVE HIM TIME AND, WHEN HE GOT HIS HEALTH BACK IN TACK AND HAD TIME TO MATURE, HE STARTED TO PROGRESS NICELY. HIS WORK WAS NICE AT HOME BUT WE COULDN’T HAVE IMAGINED HE WOULD DO WHAT HE HAS DONE ON A RACECOURSE.
CONGRATULATIONS ON THE JAM MAN BEING SUCCESSFUL IN THE TROYTOWN AT NAVAN; AN EXCELLENT TRAINING PERFORMANCE AND A CRACKING RIDE FROM PAUL TOWNEND. WHERE ARE WE LIKELY TO SEE HIM NEXT?
HE WILL HEAD TO ENGLAND TO CONTEST A GRADE ONE STAYING HURDLE, POSSIBLY ASCOT.
TO GET SEE DOUBLE YOU ON THE TRACK AGED 17 WAS A MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT TO YOURSELF AND TEAM; HOW DID HE COME OUT OF HIS LAST RACE?
YEAH, IT WAS GREAT. HE IS A WEE LEGEND. THINGS DIDN’T WORK OUT ON THE DAY BUT HES 110% AND HE SHOULD RUN AGAIN IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS, PLEASE GOD.
IF YOU WEREN’T A TRAINER WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE DOING NOW?
WELL, I STILL HAVE THE KITCHEN BUSINESS SO I WOULD PROBABLY SPEND MOST MY TIME CONCENTRATING ON THAT.
FAVOURITE FOOD? STEAK, CHIPS AND FRIED MUSHROOMS WITH PLENTY OF RED SAUCE.
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF RACING?
DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ANY REALLY. I USED TO PLAY GAA AND SOCCER, BUT ANY SPARE TIME IS NOW SPENT DOING SOMETHING WITH TUBS.