Name: Ronan McCrory
From: Dromore, Co. Down
First Winner: Russian Diamond
How did you get started with horses?
I was always interested in racing; my great grandad owned a racehorse, so I guess my interest stemmed from there.
One of my friends' mothers trained, so I used to go and ride ponies for her, and she told me about the Racing Academy in Kildare. I applied and got onto the Trainee Jockey course there, and it was from there my love for racing grew.
What is your first racing memory?
I always loved watching the Grand National when I was younger, I was really attracted to the thrill and adrenaline of riding in a race - not only that but I loved the fact that you could have a job all to do with horses.
Who are you based with?
I did my placement when I was in RACE with Conor O’Dwyer and when I graduated in 2021, I went and worked for him full time and he gave me my first ride aboard Getaway Jack in January 2022.
I wanted to try and get more opportunities in point-to-points so I spoke to Sandra Hughes and she put me in contact with Shark Hanlon in the summer of 2022 and I have been with him ever since. He has been very good to me giving me plenty of opportunities both on the track and in point-to-points, so it was great to get my first winner for him in Ballyragget.
I would do a bit of schooling for Peter Croke and Richard Rath, Shark's yard is beside Duninga Gallops in Kilkenny, so I also try to school for other people there when I can.
Are any of your family involved in racing?
Besides my great grandfather no, my father owns a lorry company but since I have started riding they would follow it more now. Unfortunately, they did not make it to Ballyragget when I won on Russian Diamond, but a few friends were there to celebrate with me.
What is the plan for Russian Diamond going forward?
Shark is usually a man to sell, but I think he is going to hold on to him and give us young riders a few more opportunities in the yard.
What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?
I would like to just keep consistently getting rides, I will start to look for more outside rides now I am off the mark and hopefully ride a few more winners.
Who would be your biggest influence in racing?
I would look up to Ricky Doyle, he helped me out a lot when I was in Conor's yard and I am lucky now in Shark's as Shane Fenelon and Jody McGarvey both give me plenty of tips riding work and schooling.
Do you have any interests outside of racing?
Anything to do with sports, I used to play hurling back at home. I would follow and watch it all now.
Is there another young rider that you think people should watch out for?
I would have been in RACE with Joey Connolly, and he is based with Aidan Fitzgerald he is starting to get plenty of opportunities. Evan Nugent was in the year after me in RACE and is now based with Derek O’Connor, he rode his first winner back in January.