On The Gallops With Racehorse Trainer Shane Duffy

On Saturday morning I was invited to racehorse trainer Shane Duffy’s racing yard. As the double gates opened and going up the avenue to Shane’s yard based just outside Errill County Laois, I could not help but notice how clean and tidy everything around me was, and my first impression was a good impression. 

Met by his assistant trainer and his father Paddy with a firm handshake and smile that could light up a dark tunnel, both my dad and myself felt very welcome. Quickly after Paddy had introduced himself, we were met by the man in charge of Daisy Hill Farm, and were met with the very same warm welcome from the County Laois trainer.

Although the weather did not play a part in our visit, it certainly did not dampen our spirits on that morning as we were shown around all the yard, introduced to staff who again were all very friendly and welcoming. 

On Daisy Hill Farm there are two barns, one which is for the fillies, and the second barn which is for the colts and geldings. Shane also has facilities such as a horse walker, lunge ring, schooling strip which has hurdles in place, a man-made stream for his horses to cool down their legs after using his circular sand gallop. Having watched his horses on the gallops and using the stream afterwards I could see how happy his horses were and how calm and relaxed each horse was going through the stream, and what really stood out to myself was how well behaved his young horses were, this simply goes down to how Shane’s  horses are handled, broken and ridden from a yearling onwards and the valuable time his staff puts into his horses. 

After watching two lots riding out on his gallops, we were then kindly brought into Shane’s house for breakfast with his staff as well. As we all sat down for breakfast, I couldn’t help but excuse myself from the table when my eye was caught by the walls in the kitchen by a lot of the winners Shane has trained, from “Lady Lyrath” winning at the Listowel Festival, “War Room” winning around Bellewstown Racecourse and Dundalk Racecourse, “RorysLittleSister” winning at Cork Racecourse, and this is just to name a few.  Both my father and myself could have sat there all day and listened to Paddy telling us his great memories and stories from his early days in racing up to this present day. 

Purring Along Winning at Galway Photo Credit IrishRacing.Com

After the break Shane and his staff loaded up the horse box with four horses to take away galloping up to Johnstown gallops where his horses cantered up the grass gallop, first of all to warm up, then worked up the gallop the second time with Shane leading the string as all four horses finished upsides, giving all four horses the confidence and experience without overdoing it. 

Shane has sixteen horses in training, and although a lot of people may not think it is a lot, the same hard work, early starts, late evenings, mucking out stables, bringing horses away on days to either gallop or schooling is all done by himself. Shane also has a few horses that will be going to the Breeze Up Sales next year, and I can assure you he has and always has had some very smart young horses go through his yard, and one that stood out to myself was a half sister to Carla’s Way trained by Simon Crisford who had ran on Friday in Santa Anita in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1). It is safe to say that Shane knows the time of day when it comes to racing and breeding. Having worked for top trainers over the years such as Jim Bolger, Christy Roche, and Michael Halford just to name a few. Shane has been around some of racings top horses like “Grimes,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Likeabutterfly” just to name a few as the list goes on.

In my opinion Shane Duffy has unbelievable knowledge in the racing game, and I would highly recommend anyone out there wanting to put a horse in training with him, not only is Shane knowledgeable, the one thing that stands out to myself and anyone who knows Shane is he will always guide someone in the right direction, he’s honest, hardworking, loyal, and he can certainly train winners.


On The Gallops With Racehorse Trainer Shane Duffy

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