NAME: Michael Halford
What was your childhood ambition?
To be a jockey
Growing up, who was your sporting hero?
Do you have a mentor?
My father was. I am very lucky to have some very good friends whose judgement I trust
What or where is your happy place?
At the top of the gallops watching the horses working
What sparked your love of racing?
My father was a farrier, so I used to go around the racing yard and go racing with him
What horse put you on the map?
Cockney Lass – she was owned by my dad and his good friend Eddie Dunne. She won her two-year-old maiden at the Curragh in the first year I was training. She was also placed in a Group race and we sold her then to Dermot Weld for a nice pot and she did very for well for Dermot too.
Who is your favourite horse?
Katiymann. He has been a great servant; he is a very special horse for us. My late father always wanted to have a winner in Galway, and the year that he wasn’t well, Katiymann won his maiden there.
Describe the feeling of training your first winner?
Relief!!! As I rode the horse as well. It was Kath-Der-Mar in the bumper at Wexford on July 2, 1984
What is your most memorable racing moment?
Certerach winning the Dubai Gold Cup in 2014
What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?
If you weren’t a trainer what would you be?
If you could train one horse, what would it be?
How do you cope with pressure?
I think I handle pressure quite well, but you should probably ask my family!
What mental preparation do you do for the big days?
They are all big days for me but if we have all the boxes ticked that is all you can do. Then try and enjoy them
How do you stay motivated?
It is easy when you love what you do. A good horse or two also helps!
How do you deal with dips in form?
Same as the highs. Sit tight, it is only temporary
Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?
I am not a huge sports follower, but I like watching any sport played at its best
Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation?
We only got Netflix recently. I watched ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and enjoyed it
What is your guilty pleasure?
Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?
I’m a fan of anything by Genesis, Black Eyed Peas and Christy Moore
What person do you admire the most and why?
Kevin Prendergast because he is a great trainer and an inspiration to have the enthusiasm at his age
Steak and chips
Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?
Holidays aren’t high on the agenda, but time spent in Dubai with the family is always good
What ambitions do you still have?
To train a Classic winner
What is the hidden gem of Kildare?
The National Stud
When you think of your home what immediately springs to mind?
How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions?
I am kept busy with the horses and cutting grass. It is also great to spend more time with the kids
If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be?
We are all in this together. There will be some good to come out of it eventually
If you were to go back to when you were 20 years old and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Drive on, follow your dreams
Accept don’t expect