July 27, 2009 at 20:20 #12193
I would like to know more about Cathy Gannon. Does she have a web site? I do know that she was leading apprentice in ireland two years running and that she was indentured to John Oxx. I also believe that she is from a large center city family with little if any connection with racing. Her love of racing seems to be the driving passion of her life. At present she is riding winners on a regular basis. That is all I know about her .Can anyone help with more about this woman who loves to ride?July 27, 2009 at 20:35 #241188Imperial CallMember
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Judging by her accent, she’s most definitely from Dublin. Can’t think of many other Dubs that are jockeys apart from Robert Winston. Don’t know anything about her background unfortunately.July 27, 2009 at 20:38 #241189witParticipant
July 27, 2009 at 20:39 #241190Imperial CallMember
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Fished out a few articles for you:
http://www.irishabroad.com/news/irishpost/sport/WinningPost20070815.aspJuly 27, 2009 at 21:12 #241197
Thanks to you all for the lines on Cathy.Does she have a website or is she more reserved than the men? She seems to be riding winners daily just now.July 28, 2009 at 00:19 #241236Lincoln DuncanMember
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From the Racing Post a couple of months ago; couldn’t work out how to do the link.
PICK up a golf club. Take a swing. Sometimes the ball goes left, sometimes it goes right, sometimes it goes straight down the middle.
What have you done differently? Nothing. But if you expect it to go down the middle, it usually does.
Confidence is an invaluable asset.
"If you get on a few winners your confidence goes up, and that’s such a big help," says Catherine Gannon.
"Things seem tohappen for you.
When your luck’s out, and your confidence is low, the little things don’t seem to go your way." Little things like winners. Gannon, 27, knows all about riding winners, having been champion Irish apprentice in 2004, and she knows all about not riding winners too, having played a typical role in the old, old story about star apprentices losing their way after losing their claim.
There’s a cast of thousands.
Does 3lb make that much difference anyway? Not to horses, maybe, but it does to people. It does to trainers and owners, because a number in parentheses after a jockey’s name has a magnetic effect on perception. It makes people think they’re getting something for nothing. Rub that number out, and you’re apparently not getting anything. Consequently, neither does that particular rider. No rides, no winners, no confidence.
"Everyone goes through a dry spell when they lose their claim, it’s not down to the individual," says Gannon.
"There isn’t a lot, ability-wise, between most of the jockeys out there. It’s a lot about luck, and you needgood horses to help. Good horses boost your confidence." Gannon’s story is an instructive one..
One of eight children brought up on a north Dublin housing estate, there was always something in her that pushed her towards horses. She left home at 14 for the apprentice school at Naas and then went to John Oxx’s yard at Currabeg, a move that had a profound effect on Gannon on many levels.
While Oxx was putting an edge on Gannon’s embryonic talent in the saddle, his wife Catriona was taking the edge off her accent with elocution lessons. Both can be proud of their work and Gannon looks back on her time there with great affection.
"I was a bit wild when I was young," she smiles, without entirely disguising the glint in her eye at the memory. "I don’t know where I’d be without the apprentice school and Mrs and Mrs Oxx. I was at Currabeg for eight years and it was so hard to leave, I’d made so many good friends." During her time with Oxx, she came second in the apprentices’ championship in 2003 with 28 winners and won the title the following year with 33. With the title came the accolade of Irish TimesSportswoman of the Year, phenomenal recognition for both Gannon and racing and a source of great pride to her and her family.
Places and people are very important to Gannon. She is from a close-knit family, particularly her mother, whomshe phones twice a day. If the wrench of leaving home for Naas was bad enough, it can have been nothing compared to the decision to try her luck in Britain when rides and winners dried up the following year. Jockeys are hard people and Gannon necessarilyno exception, but in her case a soft centre is not far below the surface.
She found her new life difficult.
"I took a long time to settle in. I came over to work for Kevin Ryan and I was very homesick – every time I had a chance to go home I took it. I was a real home person, but now I’ve grown out of that a bit," she says.
"It took a long time to get it into my head that my career and my life was in Britain, rather than Ireland.
When I hurt my shoulder, which meant a long time off, I was disappointed to miss riding in races but half happy that it gave me the chance to spend more time at home.
Now I’m enjoying it a lot more, things are going well, I’m happier." Last year Gannon rode 22 winners, this year she already has 12 on the board, nine since the beginning of April. Now based in Lambourn, she rides out six days a week for Mick Channon, Sylvester Kirk, Tom Dascombe and David Evans – good names to be associated with when the question of riding winners arises – and has cemented a strong partnership with Evans and with the Diamond Racing syndicate, whose Diamond Laura couldbe the vehicle to take Gannon into better-class races.
The last 18 months – and especially the last two or three – have seen a profound uplift in Gannon’s fortunes.
She puts this down to her being more positive because, as she says, it isn’t down to a change of riding style or the adoption of a new working regime. "I’m not doing anything differently. I work hard and so does my agent, Neil Allan, but I’ve been working hard every year. I’d have to say it’s just the luck that’s changed." Gannon frequently refers to ‘luck’, because it’s a handy stick to lean on if you don’t want to give yourself credit whereit is due. She is also dubious about being interviewed, saying with a grin that it’s only because Hayley Turner is sidelined that she’s getting any attention from the press. Turner comes up again when discussing the tired old canard about the problems women jockeys face in a male-dominated sport. Few consider it a topic with any mileage; for a man or a woman, building a career is a struggle, and these days it scarcely matters which symbol adorns your changing-room door.
"Are you good enough? Are you in fashion? If you’re riding winners, people want you, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female," says Gannon, with a little asperity.
"Hayley’s broken through and the more publicity for women jockeys the better. There are a lot of good girls out there – Kelly Harrison, Kirsty Milczarek, Amy Ryan. Amy’s one of the best apprentices around, improving all the time and always wanting to do better. She’ll be next to make a big name for herself." I consider mentioning that one of the reasons that there are "a lot of good girls out there" is because Gannon herself, with her riding title, her awards and her fighting spirit, has been a role model to many. It would be a shame if she wasn’t aware of that.
Instead, we finish and she goes out to give 40-1 chance Superstitious Me the ride of her seven-race life, picking her upfrom a stumble on the home turn and driving her through a gap to challenge in the final furlong, only going under by a neck against the strong-arm finish of Franny Norton.The unshakable confidence of youth that helped her to that apprentices’ title has been replaced by a fresh confidence in herself – and the results are there for all to see.July 29, 2009 at 08:12 #241447
she is going through a purple patch right now.
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