‘There is nothing more fun than having a winner. But there are plenty of aspects you can enjoy along with that’

Henry De Bromhead. Credit: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Henry de Bromhead is putting his shoulder to the wheel as racing looks to attract new owners and followers but for now, the Co Waterford trainer, who has already been among the winners at Aintree this week, is looking forward to Valseur Lido taking part in today’s Grand National.

Henry de Bromhead is putting his shoulder to the wheel as racing looks to attract new owners and followers but for now, the Co Waterford trainer, who has already been among the winners at Aintree this week, is looking forward to Valseur Lido taking part in today’s Grand National.

Q: Is Aintree one of those weeks you really look forward to?

A: It is always a great meeting. We have a few going over which is good. Having a runner in the Grand National is always exciting and we are looking forward to Valseur Lido running. We have plenty of runners because Aintree have got some really good races there, plenty of Grade 1s and we have been lucky enough there over the years.

Q: Has it been a case of trying to find the key to Valseur Lido this year, given that he has been good enough to win three Grade 1 races?

A: He is obviously not performing as he used to. He got hurt a couple of years ago and he has never really seemed right since then. But he is a very good horse on his day. He had a great run in the race last year. If you look at him turning in he was going as well as anything and he just faded out of it. He is a stone lighter this year. It is great to have one in there.

Q: You have enjoyed a great partnership this season with Rachael Blackmore, who takes the ride on Valseur Lido, and provided the fuel for her remarkable challenge to be champion jockey.

A: She is great to work with. She wants it as much as we do. She is a very good rider, horses jump well for her and she is a good communicator, which is very important after a race. We are very lucky to have her.

Q: Sizing Europe and Sizing Tiara have been among your Cheltenham stars in the past and it must have been great to combine with Rachael for two more in March thanks to A Plus Tard and Minella Indo?

A: It was brilliant. You have plenty of ups and downs through the week but to come away with two winners, you have to be delighted. We have plenty of nice young horses going forward but that was brilliant.

Herny de Bromhead.

Q: And Minella Indo was giving Rachael her first Grade 1 winner, which must have been pleasing.

A: We were delighted with that. She is a huge part of our team and for her to ride her first Cheltenham winner, and actually it only dawned on me after it was only her first Grade 1 winner. That was surprising because she has ridden so many winners for us now and everyone is just used to her riding at the top level. For us to provide those winners for Rachael was a real bonus.

Q: You have had a few more runners on the flat in recent seasons. Will you have a big team for the new campaign?

A: We would have a few but not many, no. Our main focus is obviously the jumpers. We would have a few there which we might try to sell on. It’s interesting but we will be busy with plenty of jumpers during the summer. We will have a handful of flat horses as well.

Q: Honeysuckle appears to be a highly talented mare who missed her intended engagement at Cheltenham. How is she?

A: She is really good, she just wasn’t 100% before Cheltenham so we decided we would give it a miss. She is in the Grade 1 mares’ novice hurdle at Fairyhouse in a few weeks, so that is our main aim now.

Q: You are one of 30 trainers opening your doors free of charge to members of the public as part of the inaugural Racehorse Trainer Opening Morning initiative. Why?

A: It’s a good initiative. Basically, it gives people an opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes in our yards. It’s a chance to come and have a look around, to see how we operate and get to meet all the team, get to meet the riders and just get a feel for the whole thing. It’s a good concept and hopefully it will give people a taste of being involved in a racehorse and it might then encourage people to actually get involved.

Q: It will help demystify it for people a bit I suppose, won’t it?

A: Hopefully. There is a lot of work goes in. There are very dedicated people working with horses. They have busy, long days. The industry is a massive employer for the rural economy. There is a lot going on. It’s probably nice for people to see that and get a taste for it.

Q: As an industry, racing people seem to be aware of the bigger picture that way.

A: You try to get everyone involved. We are there to provide a service. It’s people hobbies, it’s their fun. We need to try and make it an enjoyable experience and a fun experience for them. There is nothing more fun than having a winner. But there are plenty of aspects that you can enjoy along with that.

Q: And apart from maybe attracting owners, is it about maybe attracting more people to go racing even as fans?

A: Absolutely. It’s about opening our doors and trying to get people in, be it to the track, to the yard. Hopefully it will be well subscribed and supported, and people knock a bit of fun out of it.

The inaugural Racehorse Trainer Open Morning will take place across 30 training yards around the country on Saturday May 18. Racing fans attending the open morning will receive a tour of their chosen yard and its facilities, watch the racehorses on the gallops, meet the skilled team that look after the horses 365 days a year and get to ask the trainer any questions about the business. It is a free event but visitors must pre-register. For more information on how to register, visit www.racehorseownership.ie/openmorning

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