We recently had the pleasure of an exclusive interview with Co.Meath handler Keith Henry Clarke.
Tell us about yourself and your achievements?
I am 35, I rode professionally for about 15 years riding some great horses and for owners . Working for so many good trainers and to pick up the training skills and qualities I could pick what I liked from their training styles. Trainers such as Tony Martin, Tom Foley ,David broad and Sir Mark Prescot. I even went to Australia to learn more about their fractions and times. It has definitely given me advantage .
How did you get into racing?
My mother grew up with horses so I have her to thank, she is a Geraghty . Her father bred the famous Golden Miller.
How many horses do you have in training?
My yard can only stables upto 24 but we are always developing . So I have 24 in my yard my brother Ivan keeps a few on rest . We also have horses on pre training and breaking with Kenny Mac Crossan and with Joe Rogers of Ballintry Stud . We also put horses out on grass with Sandra maye. So all in all we would have about 35 horses on the go .
Tell us about your facilities?
We have 24 monarch stables, a 6 horse walker. Plenty of grass turn out paddocks, our gallops are Wexford sand. With a four furlong circle on to a four furlong straight with a little climb in it. We also have a grass gallop for 6 furlongs. On which we have starting stalls , hurdles and chase fences.
What is the best thing about being a trainer?
To be honest , when u get that one horse that gets you up in the morning, that when you think of them when your at home you get excited, to me that’s the best thing .
What would you change about Irish racing?
Race day Experience for owners.
They worry about entertaining the one day a year race goer who hires a suite for him and his clients or friends. When we need to focus on how our owners are treated. For me it’s simple treat our owners like a VIP and make sure that every other race goer can see it, so they can aspire to having a horse in training or a share in a Synicate. Every owner with a 10% Share in a horse should have an AIR card and every Racecourse should have owners lounge of the highest standard. If we can’t look after the people investing the most money in our sport how can we possibly grow are fan base against other sports. They buy their horses and have to pay for the training, they pay a premium in entry fees to racing them and the Racecourse get paid for TV rights that the owners horses generate, but on most Racecourse they are treated like every other race goer this is not good enough and needs urgent attention.
Dundalk Stadium seems to be a happy hunting ground for you do you buy horses intended to race there?
Yeah of course, it’s a great facility. It means I can train all year round .
Give us a few horses to follow this winter season?
Most memorable moment of your career?
Only a short time training but I would have to say a horse called New World really sets the trend by winning his maiden hurdle by 8 lengths, Poitin winning 7 races for me in Dundalk, Noble Dancer a 2 yr old who won first time out and then we sold her to America and finally Jeremy’s Joy winning the Connaught Oaks this year.
Outside racing how to you unwind?
It’s not easy to unwind but when I get the chance to take my motorbike out, that really helps to relax
Give us a life quote or motto you live by?
If you want something so bad , go get it, no one just going to give it to you!!
Devoted to my horses dedicated to my clients