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Next Gen | Luke Burke Ott

Image © Healy Racing 

Name: Luke Burke Ott

Age: 18

From: Ballyhoulihan, Co.Cork

Luke Burke Ott rode his first point-to-point winner on Owen O'Flynn's, Inchidaly Copper, trained by his father Alexander Ott at their local track, Dromahane. 

How did you get involved with horses?

My father used to break horses when I was younger and my mother runs a riding school, Valley View Equestrian.

I have been around horses all my life, so I've been riding horses since I was very young.

I did a lot of hunting with the Duhallow Foxhounds and I also did a bit of eventing as well for my mother.

I had a nice eventing pony called Valley View Sammy. He was an all-rounder really, he won two point-to-point pony races in Dromahane and Tralee!

When I was eleven, I started pony racing and I did that for three seasons. I rode thirteen winners in all. 

My first winner came on a 12.2 pony called Tail To Tail for Jerry Daly, .

Most of the winners were for my dad on a pony called Pacman, he won six races.

I rode ponies for Ernest Tyner and Edwina Finn as well.

Do you work full-time?

Yeah, I work full time with horses. I did my leaving cert last year, so this is my first year going full-time.

How did you find transitioning from studying to working full-time with horses?

I was used to riding out before going to school in the mornings and again in the evenings after school. It wasn’t a huge change for me.

What would your typical week riding out be like?

I was riding out breeze-ups for Tadgh Ryan and Susan Finn, they will be finished soon enough.

I ride out for Michael Winters a few days a week and for Dad every day.

Every Wednesday and Saturday I go to Dromahane galloping and schooling and I would go to Glencairn as well on a Tuesday.

How did the ride on Inchidaly Copper come about?

My Dad has been training him for the last two years, we ran him in two point-to-points. My brother Alex rode him on both of those occasions, he fell on his first run and was second on his next run.

He won three in a row for us after that, Chris O’Donovan rode him as my brother was out injured with a broken collar bone.

It was then that I really got to know the horse because I got to ride him out every day since then.

He had run over hurdles before we got him, so he already had a handicap mark. He went into training with Micheal Winters to run on the track.

He won in Downpatrick with Alex on him but unfortunately, he got a tendon injury. He was left off for a year to recover.

When he was ready to return to training my dad had his trainer's license, so we ran him over hurdles last summer.

He wasn’t showing us that he was the same horse at all, so we decided to go back to point-to-pointing with him.

A lucky decision for me!

Were you expecting a big run from him?

Yeah, I fancied him all right. I thought it didn’t look like an overly strong race and he had won in Dromahane before. He won his winners of two race there. 

The only doubt I had was that it was his first run back since last season and that he hadn’t shown the best of himself on the track.

What is he like at home?

I ride him out all the time at home, he is a very easy horse once he is cantering! He can get a little hot beforehand, cantering on the spot before going onto the gallop.

Do you know what the plan for Inchidaly Copper is now?

He will probably go back to track now for a handicap hurdle.

Did you get some kick out riding your first point-to-point winner?

I did! He was brilliant, he jumped super.

How did it compare to riding your first track winner?

There was no expectation in Tramore, and I didn’t really know anyone there.

In Dromahane though, I felt a bit more pressure as it was our local track and the horse went off favourite!

There was a bit of relief when he won, whereas Tramore we weren’t expecting it, it was a surprise.

Were your family there on the day?

My father was there, my granny was there and a few of my aunts and uncles.

My mother couldn't make it, she was bringing my sisters' showjumping.

When she does get to watch, she would be pretty nervous!

Is there someone that you regularly seek advice from?

My brother Alex, he would give me a lot of advice. He’s in America now, he’s doing quite well. He has ridden eight winners since he went there.

He goes through all my races with me and gives me tips on what he would have done or what I should have done differently.

Chris O’Donovan and Mikey O’Connor would have given me help along the way as well when they were riding out at Michael Winters.

What’s the best advice you have been given?

My father is always telling me when I’m riding a race don’t back yourself yet one hundred percent as a jockey.

Pick out the good riders, pick out the horse you think is going to win the race. If you’re near them, you can't be in too bad a position.

Who is your biggest influence in racing?

The first trainer I started riding out for was Michael Winters when I was fourteen and I still ride out for him now.

He gave me my first winner on the track, he was a big help to me and a great influence.

My parents as well, my father went out and bought ponies when I was pony racing and he drove us to the races every Sunday, he has been a big help to me.

Was it always your plan to take out your license?

Yeah, when I was very young I was interested in racing and since I started pony racing, all I've wanted to be is a jockey.

What are your ambitions for the remainder of the season? 

I won't be getting too carried away, I'm delighted to get my first winner. If I could ride one or two more winners, I’d be very happy.

Do you have any interests or hobbies outside of racing?

It's just horses in general, I still hunt a lot and I have a few half-bred horses for breaking and selling.

Do you want to add anything else?

A big thanks to owner Owen O’Flynn for giving me the ride on Inchidaly Copper. He has had horses with us for a long time now and it was great to ride a winner in his colours.


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