Many of the best sportsmen are just people who say nothing and get their job done, this is the same motto that Seamie Heffernan follows. Since joining the Ballydoyle operation in 1996, Heffernan has enjoyed many great days and had the chance to get the leg up on some wonderfully talented racehorses.
Seamie is now one of the most respected jockeys anywhere and a vital cog in the Ballydoyle wheel under Aidan O’Brien. It was back in the 2000 National Stakes at The Curragh that Seamie rode his first winner at Group one level, it is a testament to his longevity and determination to stay fit that he is still riding at the top level seventeen years later. During that time Seamie has worked alongside many brilliant jockeys who have had the mantle of number one rider for the Coolmore stud operation. The likes of Mick Kinane, Jamie Spencer, Johnny Murtagh, Ryan Moore and Joseph O’Brien have been lucky enough to hold that role and get on the more fancied horses in any race.
Despite that there still has been many big race victories. Including three Irish Derbies, an Epsom Oaks win in 2012 and two Irish Champion Stakes, alongside his great record in most of the top two-year-old races. Most would agree with me that his finest career moment came last year, when he executed a stunning and aggressive front running ride on Highland Reel to win the Breeders Cup Turf last year. While most eyes were on Found and Ryan Moore, it was Heffernan that stole the headlines and that ride really showed why Seamie is one of the most underrated jockeys out there. He is undoubtedly good enough to be first rider for Coolmore, but is rumoured to have turned that position down.
Perhaps he prefers to stay out of the limelight, and who can blame him not everyone enjoys being at the centre of attention. Lastly Seamie is a great team player and has a magic touch with the younger horses, it is especially important as when they are learning how to race against other horses that they have a positive experience on the racecourse, Heffernan is well known for not being overly hard on the two-year-olds and I think it really pays off when they are three or four-year-olds.
It takes more than one man to make a great team, and at Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien has a wonderful team of staff and a great right-hand man to rely on in Seamie Heffernan.
Article by Jamie Lindsey