A self-confessed chocoholic and coffee lover, Jessica Harrington is easily top of mind when one speaks of leading Thoroughbred trainers of the past hundred years. The Irish dual-purpose trainer is known for her great virtuosity and runs her training establishment in Ireland with her two daughters, Emma and Kate.
Harrington has her storied background in three-day eventing to thank for her foray into racehorse training. She was one of Ireland's top three-day event riders, having represented her country successfully at European, World and Olympic levels.
The decorated trainer has produced some of the best, including Jezki, Supasundae, Our Duke and Sizing John but its Moscow Flyer that she is arguably known best for. The son of Moscow Society by Nijinskywon ten Grade 1 contests including a never-to-be-forgotten second victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2005.
Harrington has three horses nominated and approved for the Dubai World Cup Carnival - Barbados, Harpocrates and Silence Please. In an exclusive interview with Ten Furlongs, the woman for whom horses have been her cynosure and way of life speaks about her plans for Dubai and Saudi, her thoughts about her style of training, buying horses and books.
Q: What are your plans for the DWCC and DWC 2021?
A: We haven't made any plans as of yet and we will see what the future holds.
Q: Please tell us more about Barbados, Harpocrates and Silence and your plans for them?
A: Yes, we do have three horses nominated and approved for the DWCC and what a great position to be in!
Silence Please is a nice filly, she has probably been a bit unlucky in the past and wants top of the ground ideally over a mile and a quarter. We are hoping Barbados will go to Saudi Arabia and thereafter he might come back to Dubai for the 2-mile race as he's a pretty good solid 2-mile group horse. Lastly, Harpocrates is unlikely to travel to Dubai this year but we will have an alternative plan of action for him.
Q: What sales do you typically attend each year? What is your process for choosing horses? Do you focus on pedigree and nicks to help you shortlist? Or do you prefer to inspect all the horses personally before getting into the nitty-gritty details of pedigrees and X-rays etc?
A: I would usually get to Goffs and Tattersalls Book 1 each year. With regards to the process in which we choose horses, Patrick Cooper from BBA Ireland would be familiar with the type of individuals that we are looking for annually. He would provide a selection of his top picks and thereafter I will view them and work from there. When choosing the right individual, pedigree is important but I prefer to inspect the horses physically first.
Q: How would you describe your training style and how has it evolved?
A: My training style would have derived from back when I was eventing and getting horses ready for three-day events. I would have applied that knowledge when I started training racehorses but I was also lucky enough to be able to visit various trainers in England, watch what they were doing and most importantly - ask a lot of questions!
Q: What books are you currently reading?
A: I am reading plenty! Any of the Michael Connolly books are great, I like all of those. Currently, I am reading Barry Geraghty's book and I'm finding it very amusing too.
Q: What is the next milestone for you? What can we expect from you in the future?
A: I would very much like to win races across the world such as America, Australia, Hong Kong. I've been lucky enough to win Group Ones in Ireland, England and France so that's the next stepping stone for me and the team.