I’m really pleased to announce we have a new team member on board who will be covering Irish racing for The World Of Sport. Like me, he has a passion for horse racing and, food. I know we’ll get on like a house on fire!
To find out more about what Shane does and has done, and to keep up with his thoughts on Irish racing, please visit his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. Links have been introduced for you to get easy access to those.
Best of luck, Shane and thanks for coming on board!….over to you!
So, as you all know by now I have joined this team to cover the Irish Racing. Huge thanks goes to Ron for not only taking me on board, but indeed the lovely mentions on his daily newsletter this morning. Without further ado, let me introduce myself.
My name is Shane Rooney, I am a 23 year old Horse Racing Fanatic from a small, rural town in Co. Galway. I am not qualified in journalism, actually I am a chef by trade. Saying that however, my passion for the sport outweighs any piece of paper telling me what I am or am not – here is my story so far.
Since a young age I have been surrounded by the wonderful four legged animals. Both my uncles bred and trained show jumpers for as long as I can remember. My eldest cousin Fiona Claffey was an outstanding amateur show jumping jockey in her time and her husband, Damien Griffin is a professional in the sport, based in Lissyegan Stables in Ahascragh Co. Galway. There was little or no way I could avoid the horses. It was either like it or lump it, I was always brought along to shows to see the uncles’ horses jumping. However, a career in this line of work was not what I wanted at this age, as I had a massive desire to become a chef.
I went to college, got my papers in Culinary Arts in Athlone Institute of Technology and went on to work for some extremely reputable places. Two of the most renowned were The Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone, Co. Westmeath (under Chefs Gavin O’Rourke and Martin Duffy), and in the scenic village of Ballyvaughen Co. Clare, at The Wild Atlantic Lodge under Chef Daniel Lynch. At 22 I decided a career change was needed, as I had done nothing else and wanted to try something new while I was still young.
This is where Horse Racing came to the fore. I’m a tall, stocky built man, but I was in Clonmel one day at the races where I saw a jockey who was half a foot taller than me at least, and that was where the dream of becoming a jockey was born. I went into Stephen Mahon’s yard for experience in a racing establishment, where I worked hard to lose the weight needed. Unfortunately, I was blinded by simple arrogance and meeting the weight was impossible. So, I focused on media, where The Peaky Blogger was introduced.
The page absolutely thrived on Facebook, then it took off on Twitter and it is slowly starting to grow on YouTube. On these pages, I focused on being the best I could be. I wrote articles on everything racing, produced podcasts and even posted the odd winning tip now and again. For a lad that was virtually unknown in the industry it went to the stage where almost every yard in the country heard about Shane Rooney, or The Peaky Blogger, in a matter of weeks.
One thing in particular I am passionate about is the breeding industry. I am not involved as of yet, but I am looking for a nice broodmare that wouldn’t necessarily break the bank and sometime in my lifetime, I aim to breed at least one champion racehorse. I go by the simple motto in life, “If you say you would like to do something, you will live in a dream for the rest of your life. If you say you will do something, then it will eventually be achieved.”
To cut a long story short, I have passion and drive coming out of my ears. I may not have the qualifications saying what I am or indeed what I am not, but that has not stopped me nor will it ever stop me reaching the highs I have met, and will continue to meet. The dream of being a National Hunt jockey in Ireland is no more, but I have bigger and better things ahead of me. I can and still will ride leisurely as a hunting jockey, or if an opportunity presents itself to me I would love to show jump at an amateur level down the road as a pastime.
If you want to see more in terms of The Peaky Blogger, here are the links to my pages: