Ger Lyons and the HRI 30-question challenge - no problem!
With horseracing action set to return next Monday 8th June top trainer Ger Lyons took the Horse Racing Ireland 30-question challenge for the Meath Chronicle this week in the ninth of our series.
1. What was your childhood ambition?
I always wanted to be a jockey – end of. Nothing else would do.
2. Growing up, who was your sporting hero?
Steve Cauthen and Walter Swinburn.
3. Do you have a mentor?
No, I have paddled my own canoe from the start but I’ve plenty of people I admire and whose opinions I respect.
4. What or where is your happy place?
At home in Glenburnie (Kiltale) with my dogs and cutting grass
5. What sparked your love of racing?
Growing up beside Peter McCreery in Clane. When I saw the horses working every morning, I wanted to be involved. The McCreery’s are life-long friends
6. What horse put you on the map?
I can’t pick out one horse, but I think the consistency of our horses and our improvements to the yard since 2000.
7. Your favourite horse?
I don’t live in the past, so my favourite horse is Siskin. All my hopes and ambitions lie with him at the moment.
8. Describe the feeling of training your first winner?
My first winner was Maelalong in Navan on 12th October, 1994 and it was fantastic. We had very few horses at the time and I had one two-year-old and we went to Navan and won under Johnny Murtagh. I thought I would be champion trainer after the win – it couldn’t’ happen quickly enough for me. I get a great buzz out of every winner. The day I don’t get that buzz, I will have to stop training.
9. Your most memorable racing moment?
I loved Siskin winning the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last August, it was a Friday evening; it was lashing rain and I enjoyed it immensely. We looked beaten going to the start so to win was a brilliant feeling. The goodwill shown to us afterwards was absolutely fantastic.
10. Your favourite Irish racecourse?
I love Naas, Navan, Leopardstown, but Naas wins it because I grew up there and its a lucky track for me.
11. If you weren’t a trainer what would you be?
I would probably work in sports journalism, I love watching sport, talking and reading about sport.
12. If you could train one horse, what would it be?
13. How do you cope with pressure?
I get angsty and agitated. I think I have gotten better over the years, but some might disagree!!!! Tread carefully around me coming up to the big race days. I find there is pressure every day in racing, but I think I am better with it.
14. What mental preparation do you do for the big days?
Nothing – every day is the same, the routine is constant. I am a little bit like a racehorse, I like consistency and routine
15. How do you stay motivated?
I am very competitive. I have to think I’m going to have a winner every day I go racing and that keeps me motivated. Employing a team of staff keeps me motivated too.
16. How do you deal with dips in form?
I am very pragmatic. I keep doing what I am doing, and it will turn around. I used to think every winner we had was a fluke, but I now have confidence in what we do, and training winners isn’t a fluke anymore.
17. Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?
I loved Manchester United winning the Champions League. I love Ryder Cups and a good All-Ireland – I love all big sporting occasions, the atmosphere, and the sporting moments they create – I wish I went to more big sporting events.
18. Can you give us a Netflix/film recommendation?
The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan documentary
19. What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and TV
20. Desert island discs – your favourite three songs?
I listen to everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem and everything in between. I couldn’t pick three songs because I love music, especially anything from the 80s
21. What person do you admire the most and why?
I admire my mum. She reared eight kids and when she was finished rearing us, she ran a creche. In her 70s she got her degree from Maynooth. She achieved so much and did a good job on her eight children while being a scratch golfer
22. Favourite dinner?
Steak - crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside with chips and onions
23. Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?
24. What ambitions do you still have?
I want to be champion trainer and train as many Group 1 winners as possible
25. What is the hidden gem of Meath?
I have two: Glenburnie (where I train) - no one knows it is here and while it’s not a hidden gem, Trim has transformed since we moved here in 1992 to a beautiful town
26. When you think of your home what immediately springs to mind?
My dogs – Enzo, Socky and George. My daughter Kerri comes to work in the yard, and I babysit her two dogs, Louis and Peanut
27. How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions?
Working as normal. We finish working horses at 12 noon every day. I’ve a great sun trap in my garden so I spend some time there, listening to music, I am walking my dogs and there is plenty of lawn mowing – I am appreciating this time with no pressure
28. If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be?
Enjoy the peace and the slower pace of life because we are going to be back in the rat race before we know it. I hope we will all learn from the experience
29. If you were to go back to when you were 20 years old and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be in such a rush.
30. Favourite saying/quote?
What's meant for you won't pass you.