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Denis Hogan ends horse riding career on a high

Thursday, 6th August, 2020 11:24am
Denis Hogan ends horse riding career on a high

Denis Hogan

Denis Hogan ends horse riding career on a high

Denis Hogan



By Shane Brophy


Cloughjordan’s Denis Hogan ended the first phase of his horse racing career in style by riding a winner at the Galway Races and then immediately announcing his retirement from the saddle.

Aboard Bua Boy, Hogan won the Arthur Guinness Handicap Hurdle at the festival on Thursday, leading home a stable one-two with Alabaster with fellow Tipperary jockey Rachael Blackmore on board finishing runner-up. And crossing the finish line, the 33-year-old decided it was a fitting time to end his riding career to focusing on his growing training enterprise.

“It was great to be able to go out at a place like Galway after riding a winner,” he said.

“I had it in the back of my head for the past year or two that I would retire at some stage as I wasn’t giving riding my full attention.

“There were days in the past at smaller meetings where I had a winner and I was thinking of calling it a day because I am so busy with training and putting all of my attention into it.

“In 2019 when I rode a big winner on Moyhenna in Punchestown, I thought walking the track that day it would be a nice place to go out if she won and she did win but I said to myself afterwards I am not done yet.

“I did always think that Galway would be a nice place to have a winner and then go and I got the opportunity last Thursday and after I crossed the line and I had to make up my mind and I said to myself you are not going to get too many opportunities to go out like that so this was the time.

“I have had a great time of it and I really enjoyed it. I will miss it.”

It brought to an end a twenty year stint as a jockey, making his debut as a thirteen-year-old aboard Mulhuddart Maiden at Fairyhouse in April 2000 before three years later recording his first race winner in 2003 aboard The Dark Flasher for neighbour Charlie Swan at Killarney

“He was a great influence on my career and is probably half the reason I got into racing,” Denis said of Charlie Swan.

“Me and my sister used to hang out when Charlie opened the riding school next door and a few of us used to hang out there at the weekends. I drifted from there into the racing yard and then onto the Curragh as an apprentice with Michael Halford and then back to Charlie and now I am training myself.”

Hogan rode 155 winners, including two group 2 successes aboard Moyhenna and Youcantcallherthat, but over the last two years his focus has turned to training as his stables in Boherna goes from strength to strength with 54 winners over the last twelve months earning over half a million euro in prize-money. And it is that responsibility to the owners that are sending good horses his way which has forced him to fully focus on training.

Hogan explained: “While I enjoy the riding we are in a very fortunate position of being offered some very nice horses from a lot of big owners and I have a duty to them really to give it my full attention, and my staff, my family, my fiancée Sarah, I have a lot of other commitments nowadays and it is important to look after them as that is where the future lies.”

Hogan’s performance at the seven-day Galway festival is an indication of the growing reputation of his stables as he ran 25 horses with three winners, including Darkened and Mulzamm, with another fifteen horses being placed. It has been an excellent summer for Hogan since horse racing resumed following the lifting of restrictions on June 8th.

“At the start of the lockdown we had a lot of horses leave the yard, a lot of horses went to grass and a lot of staff were laid off and we didn’t really know what was going to happen,” Hogan explained.

“There was a lot of negative talk about racing in general but to be honest I didn’t see the season going this well. Once we got going again on June 8th, we hit the ground running with Make A Challenge winning a listed race and Sceptical went onto do great things in Group 1 company. We have had sixteen winners since that.

“I knew we had some good stuff here, but it has really after snowballing and gathering momentum and a lot of new owners and clients have come our way and we are in a very fortunate position. We hope the horses remain healthy and we have good staff and the quality of horses is improving all the time so there is lots to look forward to.

“Our flat horses are definitely outshining our jumpers, but we haven’t run many of our jumpers yet. A lot of them will run from autumn into winter so we’d be expecting a few nice jump horses to appear on the scene shortly.”


Sceptical loss for Hogan


In the week he retired from race riding to concentrate on training, Cloughjordan trainer Denis Hogan has been dealt a devastating blow with the death of sprinter Sceptical.

The four-year-old cost just €3,000 at the sales and proved a real star for Hogan and owners Hilltop Racing. He won four races in a row, including the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Naas, before travelling to Royal Ascot for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, finishing a close third under Frankie Dettori to Hello Youmzain and Dream Of Dreams. The son of Exceed And Excel then went on to the July Cup at Newmarket, where he found only Oxted too good.

He had been due to run in the Rathasker Stud Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh this weekend, however, he suffered a fatal injury on the gallops in Boherna, Cloughjordan yesterday (Tuesday).

"He was a horse of a lifetime and a game changer for my training career and everyone at Boherna,” Hogan said.

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