Next Gen | Darragh Hanlon

Image © Healy Racing

Name: Darragh Hanlon

Age: 21

From: Downpatrick, Co. Down

21-year-old Darragh Hanlon from Downpatrick rode his first winner aboard his own Myleno in the older geldings' race at Necarne for handler Patrick Turley.

How did you get involved with horses?

I've always been horse-mad.

Mum and Dad bought us a pony to try out when we were all young and I sort of just fell in love with it. They let me go to the local riding school for lessons.

From there I got involved with the East Down Pony Club. Anybody local that had horses I just got myself involved with them. I was happy to sit on everything and anything and a lot of people helped me out.

From there as I got a bit older, I got a job. I always loved racing so through pony club and eventing I found my way there.

Do you work full-time or study?

Yeah, I work full-time at Paddy’s.

How did the purchase of Myleno come about?

I got him from Warren Ewing through Paddy. The plan was for him to give me experience and for him to be my first ride and then see how we get on.

When we first got him we threw him in the field for a while to put on some condition and freshen up.  When he was ready to return, we trained him out of Paddy’s.

Tyrella beach is close by, so we bring him down there plenty. He just started enjoying life.
He was in good form the week leading up to Necarne, and he likes a cut in the ground, so I was glad to see it rain! The ground was tacky on Friday, and the rain came and loosened it a bit. It helped us.

He's a very sweet and docile horse.

Do you know what the plan for Myleno is now?

He bounced out of his race well, so we entered him in a winners' race this weekend. We will see how that goes and make a plan for him from there.

If he runs well there he will be for sale - hopefully.

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

Unreal! It’s a buzz I’ve never had before.

Were your family there on the day?

Yeah, my Dad made it up and sure, he was on the phone to my Mum just after I finished! They were delighted. Dad got a good kick out of it.

Is there someone that you regularly seek advice from?

Yeah, Declan Lavery who is full-time with Paddy as well, he’s been very good to me and he looks after me. He is constantly giving me advice, on what to do and what not to do.

I’m very lucky to have that and he does that out of his own goodwill. So between Paddy and Declan, I’ve really landed on my feet.

Noel McParlan is great for giving me advice as well. I ride a few lots for him during the week.

Have you done the progression schooling course at RACE?

Yeah, I went down to The Curragh to do it, back in February.

It was brilliant! A lot of the lads from the course were doing it so there was a good vibe. Lads were helping each other. It was very good and the men working down there were very helpful.

Did you walk the track with someone?

Yeah, I walked the track with Declan. That was a massive help. I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise - it’s a tricky track!

What’s the best advice you have been given?

Just to keep trying.

Was it always your plan to take out your license?

Yeah, it was. It took me a while to find my way there, but I’ve always wanted to do it. I stopped eventing last season and I rang Paddy and started working there.

From there it just clicked, we get on well, he pushed me hard and I work hard. Between Declan and Paddy, they told me when I was ready to take out my license.

What level did you event to?

I evented to two-star level internationally. 

What are your ambitions for the remainder of the season? 

If I could win another race on Myleno it would be great.  

Who has been your biggest influence in racing?

I would have to say Paddy and Declan. I would still be eventing if it wasn’t for them, they’ve done a lot for me.

What would a typical working week look like?

I would be in Paddy’s most days, some days I might be away schooling and riding work.

I've ridden in schooling races for outside trainers so I would hope to pick up more rides next season.

Have you interests or hobbies outside of racing?

Yeah, I like rugby, I played rugby in school, we actually played in a school’s cup final! Once I left school I had to decide between horses and rugby. They’re very different sports; completely different shapes, and sizes!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I'm just very lucky to be in with very good lads. I’m very grateful for that.


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