Cheryl McClean, winner of the Newcomer Award at the 2019 Godolphin Staff and Stable Awards, spoke about her career on Friday Night Racing.
McClean is an Exercise Rider and Groom with Willie McCreery’s yard at the Curragh and was very humble when speaking about receiving the award.
“Well, nothing makes me any better than anybody else. I suppose it’s my dedication and my passion for the racehorses.
“It’s a job I’ve always loved. I get up in the morning and I’m actually looking forward to going to work.
“I treat every day differently. There’s always a smile on my face going around work. You never really see me sad. So it’s just my passion for it really,” McClean said.
The County Down native puts a lot of hours into her work but is grateful to be in a job she thoroughly enjoys.
“If you were to go racing, most of the racings voluntary and I go racing a lot. You may not be back until 10 or 11 o’clock at night.
“It only really lasts in the summertime because of the flat season, so obviously we’re busy. But it’s something that if you love it you’ll do it.
“I’d hate to be in an office. Being outside, being practical, being around the horses, being around people - it’s just what I love really,” McClean commented.
Getting involved in horse racing
McClean doesn’t come from a horse racing background and aimed to go to the Curragh to make a career in the field.
“Yeah, I did [go to the Curragh] just because there are so many trainers, so many tracks, so many places of work to take the horses. So I thought it would be a big place to go.
“I did a foundation degree in horse management. That was in Enniskillen in County Fermanagh.
“That looked into everything - nutrition, grassland, welfare, business. It was a brilliant course. I graduated there in May 2016.
“That’s where I picked up the racehorses and I knew I wanted to work with racehorses then.
“I just liked the thrill of it and the speed as well. There’s nothing more exciting when you’re riding a horse and just flowing along,” McClean said.