Q&A with Colm Murray
Twelve months on from being the proud strapper of Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai NZ Oaks winner, Jennifer Eccles, Colm Murray is now the training partner of Shaune Ritchie. We caught up with Colm to chat about his new role, Jennifer Eccles and how connections of horses in tomorrow's Group 1 feature at Wellington Racing Club may be feeling...
How did you get involved in racing? We always had ponies growing up. I first went to ride racehorses for Denis Quinn one summer and just loved it. I joined the racing academy before getting my jockey’s licence. I rode a couple of winners, but decided to concentrate on the training side of things.
Trainers rise early! What motivates you to get up in the morning? Getting out to see the horses. We have 30-something 2-year-olds in our barn and although not many are racing yet, it’s so exciting to see all the young stock coming through. Every day you walk into the barn, you’re seeing progress.
In your eyes, what make the NZ Oaks such a great race? The trip, the atmosphere, the big Trentham track – when they jump and get around that first bend. When Jennifer (Eccles) won last year, she drew barrier 18. She jumped, got across and was given a beautiful trip. The way she finished off the mile and a half was pure magic.
Can you explain how connections are feeling in the days leading up to a race like the NZ Oaks (especially when they have a $1.70 favourite shot, like Jennifer Eccles was!) I’d say they’d be excited; we were excited. We headed down from Cambridge the day before the race – the trip itself is exciting, you then settle your horse in, you’re anxious to get up in the morning and see how they’ve travelled. When you get on-course there’s a real atmosphere and the nerves definitely kick in then.
What makes Jennifer Eccles such a great racehorse? Determination. Grit. She’s tough as nails. I ride her most morning and she makes me sweat more than I do her! Every time she goes out onto the track, be it for trackwork or on raceday, she leaves everything she’s got.
How has life changed for you since getting becoming Shaun's training partner this season? Busy! I get to enjoy new tasks - doing interviews like this for example! I enjoy talking to the owners, making decisions with Shaune, there’s more to think about than just putting the horses on the walker and tacking them up. We have a great team of staff which makes our job a lot easier.
What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the racing industry? Work hard and keep working. Take any opportunity you can get. Keep your head down and it will pay off – it did for me.