Neil Callan winning at Royal Ascot BSI

Neil Callan On What It’s Like To Win At Royal Ascot

We recently caught up with Irish jockey and BoyleSports racing contributor Neil Callan after his opening race win at Royal Ascot.

Winning The Royal Ascot Opener

It was an amazing start to the week winning the Queen Anne on Triple Time.

Last year I rocked up with only one ride for the whole week and got lucky on 40/1 shot Rising Star for Marco Botti and the team. This year I have a better group of rides for the week and Kevin Ryan had been telling me Triple Time was probably the best horse that he’s trained. So there was a little bit of expectation this time, although I still came here as an underdog.

There’s nothing I like better than coming in as an underdog and there’s no confidence booster as good as winning, especially so early in the week.

The race was a bit difficult because the way I envisaged it was going to be run was completely out the window as soon as I jumped out of the gates. Obviously you’ve got to find out the best horses in the race where they’re drawn, their style of racing and then see your own horse’s style of racing and which vicinity of the draw they are to you.

Ryan Moore is the best jockey riding in the world at the moment I think, so you always keep an eye on him. But you have to concentrate on your own horse and I just had to use my initiative and concentrate on getting the horse to relax.

I’ve got nice horses for the rest of the week. They’re probably not fancied in the betting, but I’ve proved it can be done and hopefully things drop right and we can prove ourselves again this week.

What Frankie Dettori Means To Horse Racing

Frankie Dettori is synonymous with Royal Ascot, every sport has its pin-up and Frankie is ours; his record speaks for itself. He helps then propel Royal Ascot and the whole sport to another level.

To be the party-pooper and topple Frankie at the start of the week – obviously I’m very happy for that, but Frankie was the first one to congratulate me and give me a hug when we got back into the jockeys’ room.

There’s massive respect for Frankie from the rest of us, but he also hands out a lot of respect to the rest of us when we do win, so it’s a mutual thing. He has a lot more top class rides to come this week and I’m sure he can leave the Queen Anne second behind him!

Return From Hong Kong 

I obviously had to be a bit open minded when I came back from Hong Kong because I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m a long time away from the sport in England. I followed it and kept in touch with a lot of people and I was still riding at a very high level and winning big races in Hong Kong, you need to have your feet on the ground and be proving yourself on a daily basis.

So the fact that I came back and hit the ground running last season, that was the tester season for me. To be able to come back this season as strong, if not stronger, and especially to come and do it on the big stage Royal Ascot, it’s just pretty amazing.

It just proves to yourself that you’re nothing without the support and you’re nothing without the hard work that goes with it.

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