Baby Kate ridden by jockey Brian Hayes at Cheltenham in November 2023 – BSI

Kevin Doyle’s Venture Into The World Of Horse Racing & Cheltenham E/W Fancy

Former Republic of Ireland and Reading striker Kevin Doyle has spoken exclusively to BoyleSports ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

He tells us all about his new career breeding future racehorses, recounts stories about the Irish squad’s passion for horse racing and gives us an interesting each-way tip for the Cheltenham Festival.

Doyle Recounts Cheltenham Trips As A Player

My first year at Reading in 2005/06 was my first trip to Cheltenham, we were going very well at the time. We were basically promoted to the Premier League and it was the day out to celebrate.

It was only three days at the time, Cheltenham, from what I remember, and we have gone many years since, with Reading and different clubs.

When things are going well, we used to go with a day out for team bonding, and when things were going poorly it was an excuse to go to the manager and say maybe we need a day away to get a bit of team bonding to try turn the ship around, but that never seemed to usually work!

I’ve been enough times now, it’s mad and it’s busy – I love going to my local pub and watching the races there.

It’s nice to just be in the local pub, forget time, have a few bets and do it that way. But if Baby Kate runs, I will go. If she ends up running the bumper I will go there on Wednesday.

Passion Of Irish Players For Horse Racing

Yeah, we had plenty of players over the years with that Reading team. Plenty of lads interested.

Stephen Hunt was one of them and he has had shares and horses and syndicates, I think over the years. Shane Long was another one thinking of the Irish lads, Noel Hunt as well.

We all had a dog together with the assistant manager Wally Downes which won the Puppy Derby. Bush Paddy it was called.

With the Ireland team as well, we’ll be home with Ireland and John O’Shea was a big one to set up syndicates with the Ireland team and get a few of us involved over the years with different horses.

With Ireland, maybe we’d get an afternoon off and we’d go to Leopardstown or the Curragh together.

Doyle’s Love Of Horse Breeding

We breed our horses here in Wexford, in Ireland, National Hunt horses. My father would have done less for a long, long time, so when I finished football, it was half in the back of my head.

I was going to move home anyway, I wanted to move back to Ireland, back to Wexford and build a house here as well as get stuck into horse breeding, something I love doing. So you’re always trying to do something you love doing, and I love doing it.

I’m very lucky, it’s difficult after finishing playing football, it’s very easy to stick with what you know. I played football from six years of age, all the way through, basically, nearly every day until I was 34.

The easy thing is to stick at that and go coaching. I’ve done a little bit of it and helped out my kids teams, but it’s not something that I wanted to take on and continue in that side of things.

I wanted to try something different and, luckily, I could come home and get stuck into this.

What It Takes To Become A Breeder

You just get stuck in and do it, but there’s lots of sides to it obviously, you know, you either like it or you don’t like it.

Like anything in life you have to have a bug for it and I think with horse racing of people just, you know.

For me it’s the racing and breeding side of it which gives me great pleasure. My dad has mares as well, and my first mare’s due in seven days’ time or so, so this is my favourite time of the year.

You know outside of our horse racing, when you see the first foals on the ground and you’re seeing what they’re like, and that you know, whether your choices were correct.

Also, it’s seeing new life come into the world which gives you dreams and hopes.

Mullins Dominance in Racing Is A Natural Part of Sport

I think in every sport you have dominance, whether it’s in football with Man City and, before that, Manchester United were dominant for how many years.

For most of my childhood as a Man United fan, we were winning everything, you know, one man started leading it all in Sir Alex Ferguson.

It just goes like that, I think it doesn’t last forever. Willie at the moment has an unbelievable setup and a team around them of people as well.

But it’s just human nature, it won’t last forever. He’s got the hunger and the desire to make sure to try and prove every year and get better and better and try and make it last as long as possible.

Dominance just happens in sports, it will be cyclical, it might last another 10 or 15 years and it might annoy a lot of people but things don’t last forever.

It’s not a cast iron guarantee. It was three or four years ago when Henry De Bromhead won the Gold Cup, the Champion Chase and the Champion Hurdle.

*Willie Mullins is 1/6 to be the Top Trainer at next month’s Cheltenham Festival per the latest Cheltenham betting odds at BoyleSports – a testament to his dominance.

Montecam Won’t Be Going To Cheltenham

No, he won’t be there, he hasn’t done enough to warrant going to Cheltenham. He’s a nice horse, but you need to win a race or two, and he hasn’t so he won’t be going.

Hopefully he’ll improve over the next year or so.

I bred Baby Kate and she is entered in the Champion Bumper. She’s one I have released to a syndicate, Patrick Mullins’ friend’s syndicate called Gorm.

She was meant to run on the Sunday at the Dublin Racing Festival but she unfortunately got an injury a day or two before, so she didn’t go. It’ll be a big ask for her in the Bumper but, as an outside bet for anyone, she’s very good odds.

She’s 18/1 at the moment for an each-way bet and has been to Cheltenham before, where she won a listed Mares race in November.

She has a bit of track form and she did that impressively so, you know, the fact she’s travelled and knows the system and seen the place.

So maybe as in each way, she’s back in training now after only being off for a week with that bruise so she might make it.

*You can back Baby Kate to win the Champion Bumper at 18/1 with the latest Cheltenham odds at BoyleSports.

A Successful Era Of Irish Sport

It’s a good time with the rugby team doing very well, obviously. There’s a good buzz around the place, but it seems to be that there’s lots of negatives and lots of people complaining.

I suppose about national hunt racing in particular and the dominance as well, so what comes with success and us doing well also brings the other side to it and not everyone, I suppose, is having the same sort of success.

It translates to the soccer team as well, you know, when one team, it always seems to be the case and one or two things are doing well sporting wise, someone else is struggling.

It’s just a country that’s mad about sports, you know how we do it with Gaelic games as well.

The amount of money and volunteers that goes into each of those sports. I don’t think I can see another country who has such a breadth of sport with such a small population of just four and a half, 5 million people,

You know, sport is just massive, every week one of my own kids will be playing GAA or hurling. Our kids don’t play rugby, but a lot of kids play rugby as well as lots of interest in horses and pony riding.

It’s, you know, it’s just a country that’s mad for sport, we’re very good at a lot of things.

Thoughts On The Dublin Racing Festival?

I was there on the Sunday. It’s so condensed with so many good races. We had a great day there on Sunday.

I suppose the complaint is that it’s a bit one-sided and Willie Mullins wins every grade one, but that’s just the way it is.

You still get to see fabulous races and fabulous horses and that’s a great day. We shouldn’t be complaining, we’re always finding fault in things, but on the whole fabulous.

*Prices subject to fluctuation

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