Tipperary jockey Shane Crosse hoping to continue his steady rise in horseracing

BALLYLOOBY BROTHERS WITH BRIGHT FUTURES

SHANE CROSSE

Shane Crosse gets a first Group race win with Speak In Colours in the AES Renaissance Stakes at The Curragh. Pic: Patrick McCann

Young Tipperary rider Shane Crosse has been making a big name for himself in the horseracing world in the past few years including his first Group race win with Speak In Colours in the AES Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh in  2019.

Along with his brother Nathan, also a successful jockey, the Ballylooby boys both look destined for great success in their chosen sport for many years to come. 

NAME: SHANE CROSSE

What was your childhood ambition?

I always wanted to be a jockey.

Growing up, who was your sporting hero?

Probably my dad Matt and Tommy Stack. My Dad was a jockey and I grew up working in Tommy Stack’s yard.

Do you have a mentor?

My dad and my brother Nathan are a great help to me. I can’t go too wrong with their support.

What or where is your happy place?

Walking back into the winner’s enclosure – you can’t beat the feeling of a winner.

What sparked your love of racing?

My family and growing up around racing.

What horse put you on the map?

A filly called Too Precious trained by Joseph O’Brien. She won three in a row for me last November. I must also mention Speak In Colours, also trained by Joseph who I won my first Group race on – the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes on at the Curragh last September.

Who is your favourite horse?

It has to be Speak In Colours. (See picture above)

What was it like to ride in your first race?

Surreal in a way. I did a lot of pony racing, so I knew 90% of the job but it was great. It was a really exciting feeling leading up to the race. The race flew, it was over in a split-second, but I loved it.

How long does it take to learn race-riding tactics?

I am still learning! It took me the guts of a year before I started to get competitive against the professionals. It was easier in pony racing because I had a lot more experience on that circuit and I could stamp my authority. I’m definitely not there yet!

Describe the feeling of riding your first winner?

My first winner was G Force for trainer Adrian Keatley at Naas on April 13, 2018. It was brilliant but it took a while to come, I had ridden in about 30 races without a winner. It was also a bit of a shock because the horse hadn’t won since winning the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock for trainer David O’Meara in 2014. He was a great horse to get my first winner on.

What is your most memorable racing moment?

A good one was in Down Royal last May 31. Nathan and I both rode a double, taking four races out of seven on the card. Nathan won the second on Black Martini and the third on Polly Douglas. He had no more rides on the card so when he was leaving the track, he said I would never catch him. I went on to win the fourth race on Shakespear'sgalley and the sixth on A Wave Of The Sea. It was a great day for us both and great to steal a bit of Nathan’s thunder.

What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?

I love Gowran Park, I’ve had a bit of luck there. It can be a tricky track, but I think I have the hang of it.

If you weren’t a jockey what would you be?

I would love to be a professional soccer player. I was on the Tipperary County team for four years and I had to give it up for racing.

If you could ride one horse, what would it be?

Enable in in the Arc please!

How do you cope with pressure?

Good I think!!! I am a relaxed person. I do get nervous, but you have to learn how to deal with pressure and I think I handle it quite well.

What mental preparation do you do for the big days?

I try to keep it simple. I do my homework, like I do for all races. I try to find what the dangers are and try and make a game plan for my horse. Then I stick on my colours and get going.

How do you stay motivated?

Looking forward to riding good horses and riding the next winner!

How do you deal with dips in form?

Probably not great. I have to manage my weight so riding winners really helps keep me focused.

Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?

Tipperary winning the All-Ireland Hurling final last year.

Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation?

Breaking In on Netflix is really good.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Chinese take-aways all day long.

Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?

Any three Ed Sheeran songs will do me.

What person do you admire the most and why?

My brother Nathan. We are very close and is a great support to me.

Favourite dinner?

A Sunday roast.

Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?

I was in Tenerife last year and it was one of my best holidays.

What ambitions do you still have?

Someday be champion jockey.

What is the hidden gem of Tipperary?

The friendly people.

When you think of your home what immediately springs to mind?

How quiet and relaxing it is.

How are you occupying your time during  Covid-19?

I am riding out six mornings a week and I am running a lot, so I am keeping busy.

If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be?

Stay safe and healthy and follow all the rules. It won’t last forever.

What is the first thing you want to do when things go back to normal?

Get back into the winner’s enclosure!

Favourite saying/quote?

What is for you, won’t pass you!