Louth Village man Sean Bird enjoyed a Bank Holiday to remember as he rode his first ever winner at the Curragh racecourse in Kildare on Monday afternoon. The 22-year old is an apprentice for top trainer Ger Lyons but was riding on Monday for Gerry Keane aboard Ginsburg who sprang a 28/1 surprise in the PG Duffy & Sons Citroen Apprentice Handicap.
It was a well-earned victory for Sean who has had a number of near misses this year and had previously ridden over 100 horses thus far without a winner up to Monday. According to Sean he got a huge buzz when he passed the winning post ahead of the field.
“It was an amazing feeling and I was delighted to do it for Gerry who has been very good to me. I am an apprentice with Ger Lyons and they were all delighted for me back in the yard. The horse was a big price but I thought we had half a chance as it had rained the day before and he likes a bit of cut in the ground. He ended up winning quite cosily by three and a quarter length so I could actually enjoy the last few strides knowing I had the race in the bag.
“My dad Raymond would have always had horses around the place and I grew up doing an awful lot of hunting and pony clubbing and a bit of show-jumping as well and I got into horse racing through a local trainer called John Larkin who I met at a showjumping event in Cavan and he asked me if I wanted to ride out for him. I was in school in the Dundalk Grammar school at the time and for transition year John organised for me to go down and work with Johnny Murtagh down in the Curragh and I learned a hell of a lot throughout that year. I stayed with Johnny until I did my Leaving Cert and then I became an apprentice for Ger Lyons straight from school.
“I had a couple of near misses at Dundalk stadium with Ger’s horses over the winter so it was just brilliant to finally get one over the line. Hopefully this will open a few doors for me now and get me some more rides and down the line the plan is to become a professional jockey as I just love everything about the life,” stated Sean.