IRC Q and A: Tom Queally
Greatness is not measured by press popularity
After riding 59 and 88 winners in 2006 and 2007 respectively, Queally recorded his maiden century in 2008, a year that also saw the beginning of his association with the legendary Newmarket-based trainer, Sir Henry Cecil. As first jockey to Cecil, Queally rose to fame aboard Midday and Frankel.
Tom’s breakthrough year was 2009, in which he won his first of five Group One races aboard Art Connoisseur in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. In August, aboard Midday, he won his fourth Group One event, the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood; and in November he again rode Midday to victory in the richest win of his career, the US$2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita in California.
Tom’s winning association with Frankel started in a Maiden Stakes at Newmarket in August 2009 and ended 13 wins later in the 2012 Champion Stakes at Ascot. The World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings Committee rank Frankel as the best racehorse they have assessed since their ratings were introduced in 1977, by a margin of two points.
Tom’s career hasn’t blossomed since the retirement of Frankel. A thoughtful, quiet man who was never comfortable with the limelight around Frankel, Tom hasn’t enjoyed an easy relationship with the press, to the extent that he was wholly excluded from one prime documentary about Frankel, and an associate said: “Tom Queally musty be the only jockey in history who was unbeaten on a superstar and got criticised for it!”
He took out a National Hunt licence is 2020, motivated by his “love for riding all horses” and told the Yorkshire Observer: “My job is a jockey. It doesn’t matter whether it is Flat or jumps. I’m very capable of riding a racehorse; it doesn’t matter what code it is in.”
Tom’s not sure where the next few years will take him and his many fans are hoping that he will remain as active as can be. True greatness is not measured by the number of press interviews done, and true racing enthusiasts know that.
EAMONN CULLEN caught up with Tom Queally for our quick-fire Q&A, for which we thank them both.
- Full name? Thomas Peter Queally
- Date of Birth? 8th Oct 1984
- Steak or sushi? Sushi
- Superstitions? When I rode in the big races always had some item that was new, a new pair of goggles/whip or Gloves
- Fav Holiday Destination? Austria, for skiing
- Which: BMW or Merc? Neither, Audi
- Who inspires you most? No one really…..My Granny Anne Power always said “ You will meet a lot of people as good as you but few better” – Always be true to yourself.
- A night out or a night in? Years ago Big night out nowadays Quiet night in, enjoying cooking and entertaining at home.
- Left-handed or right-handed? Right
- Rolex Or Breitling? Omega
- What annoys you the most? Bad Manners, Ignorance, Pernickety Racing Press
- What’s your party trick? None
- Funniest person you have ever met? Tony Elves (ex agent)
- The Derby or The Melbourne Cup? Derby
- Strict whip rules or no whip at all? Whip is essential for any horseman but common sense should always prevail.
- What is your biggest phobia? No phobias.
- Most embarrassing moment? I am Thick Skinned and hard to embarrass, I have had it all fired at me down through the years
- Colts or fillies? Have a great liking for a kind sweet filly
- Golf Handicap? I play twice a year, badly
- Proudest Achievement? Riding as Stable Jockey for Henry Cecil and Barney Curley till the end of their training careers
- Economy or business class? Economy
- Your star sign? Libra
- Single or taken? Taken
- Bath or shower? Hot tub in the garden and the garden hose!
- Read or Netflix? Read
25 (a). Last Book Read? Curse of the Rainbow Jersey by Graham Healy
- Joker in the weigh room? Liam Keniry
- Worst dressed Jockey? Shane Kelly
- Would you rather ask for permission or ask for forgiveness? Permission but not afraid to do it my way
- Nominate someone for our Q&A next? Padraig Roche, Curragh Trainer
Horses to watch this season:
Bolshoi Ballet, forget about the Epsom Run
Merry Douyan trained in Ireland by my brother Declan Queally
Chosen charity for readers to donate to: Direct Aid for Africa, founded by Barney Curley. I’ve seen their work, first-hand.
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