Kate Harrington talks new racing job and family success in exclusive interview

Kate Harrington talks new racing job and family success in exclusive interview

Category : Horse Racing

KATE HARRINGTON is looking forward to a Supasundae.


Thursday January 01, 1970

In fact, as part of Racing TV’s Irish team covering the Dublin Festival, she cannot wait for the whole weekend.
Kate Harrington is starting her new role on Racing TV
Harrington, 29, will be giving armchair racing fans the benefit of her knowledge during the star-studded Leopardstown meeting.
If that wasn’t enough, she’s also heavily involved with some of the leading fancies for the big races as assistant to her mum, top trainer Jessica Harrington.
It’s probably a good job a shoulder injury has stopped her riding in races for the time being, as she appears to have more on her plate than a hungry docker.
Supasundae leads a powerful Harrington squad into action over next two days. He will attempt to repeat last year’s victory in today’s Irish Champion Hurdle. Press Conference, Magnium, Jetez, Alletrix and Got Trumped are others heading into battle.


Thursday January 01, 1970

TASTY APPLE’S Your in-depth guide to Saturday’s Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown

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Jezki tackles the valuable Ladbrokes Hurdle five years after winning the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but there will be no Sizing John. The ground is not soft enough to risk the 2017 Gold Cup hero.
That’s still some list to keep an eye on but Harrington will have to focus on every single runner over the next couple of days.
She will join presenter Nick Luck in the parade ring to talk punters through the horses before the races and then analyse the action on Racing TV.
It’s the first time she has worked in broadcasting and Harrington admits it was a surprise when the channel came calling.

Jessica Harrington, Kate’s mum, has plenty of chances over the weekendSportsfile – Subscription
She revealed: “It came out of the blue. I just got a message on Twitter saying my name had been thrown around a bit and would I be interested in talking about possibly joining the team.
“When an opportunity like that comes along it’s not something you can turn down.
“I’m really starting to enjoy it.
“I’m a little bit more relaxed now and there’s a few less ums and ahs. It’s a good challenge and I hope in the next few months I’ll get a good bit better at it.

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“It’s made me look at a race completely differently. Before, I would only ever look at mum’s horses but now I look at all of them. It gives you a much greater interest knowing you have to comment on it afterwards.
“I’m also more efficient at home. I have to do my jobs before I go to work for Racing TV.”
It’s hardly a surprise there’s no mention of lie-ins and lead swinging. Every horse’s name on mum Jessie’s big-race trophies has been engraved with the chisel of hard graft.
One of those names matches the many pictures on the walls of the Harrington family home in Moone, a dozen miles south of The Curragh.

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Dual Champion Chaser Moscow Flyer thrust the Harringtons into the big time the best part of 20 years ago.
He even helped turn a teenage Kate from eventing to racing.
She explained: “I loved eventing and didn’t have a great interest in racing until I got to ride Moscow Flyer in the charity race at Punchestown. It was always a joke I would ride him in a charity race. He’d been in retirement for a year and I opened the Irish Field one day and there it was, Moscow was coming out of retirement for the race.

Kate Harrington rides Woodland Opera to victory last yearGetty Images – Getty
“I never knew. Mum said if she had told me I’d have backed out but as it was in the press I had to do it. I don’t know how they let me up on him. I was 17 and had never ridden in a race. It was amazing. We got clapped out of the parade ring and clapped down to the start. When we came back in they were about ten-deep around the parade ring.
“I thought this must happen every day of the week!”
After taking out her amateur jockey’s license, another two-mile chasing great was entrusted to her. Nicky Henderson, a great friend of her mother, gave her the ride on a twice-raced five-year-old in Punchestown’s Champion Bumper four years ago.

Kate was the last jockey to get beaten on the top class AltiorGetty Images – Getty
Harrington laughed: “It’s my claim to fame, the last person to be beat on Altior.
“I still tell Nicky I nurtured him. He was a big, weak horse and I didn’t give him a hard race.
“I rode him out the day before and I’d never sat on anything like him. For such a young horse he was absolutely huge. The stride on him was phenomenal.”
Altior could only finish sixth behind Bellshill that day. Plenty of success has followed for rider as well as horse.

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Harrington, who spent three years working for Aidan O’Brien in the days of Camelot, Australia and Highland Reel, has ridden more than 30 winners as an amateur. Injury has kept her out of the jockey’s changing room since but it’s not stopping her.
As she helps prepare the horses for Ireland’s big pre-Cheltenham meeting she reports Supasundae in fine form: “Supasundae did a good bit of work at The Curragh on Tuesday morning,  Robbie Power was delighted with him.
“He’s a very stuffy horse and always takes one or two runs to get fit. He’s definitely come out of his run at Christmas  really well.
“When he won last year it was a bit of a surprise because he was just having a run to sharpen him up for the Stayers’ Hurdle.

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“We’ll know more about which direction we go at Cheltenham after the weekend.
“Mum has always said she probably made the wrong decision last year when the ground was soft but we didn’t even have him in the Champion Hurdle, we were always going for the Stayers’.
“This time if the ground is good we might go for the Stayers’ again but if it’s soft we might stick at 2m for the Champion. Mum will decide.”
Some might think having reached 70, Harrington snr might be ready to put her feet up and leave it to Kate and older sister Emma. But the family formula is clearly working.

Alpha Centauri with winning connections after her Royal Ascot successSportsfile – Subscription
Last summer Alpha Centauri gave them Classic glory in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. She went on to win another three Group 1s to add top Flat prizes to their Gold Cups and Champion Hurdles.
Harrington smiled: “Mum didn’t start training until she was 42 and look what she’s achieved.
“She’s not going to be slowing down any time soon. I’m just enjoying the best of both worlds.”
Kate presents for Racing TV, home to 61 of the leading racecourses in Britain and Ireland and the only place to see every race of the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend. See racingtv.com for more.


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