Former Irish Grand National winning jockey Paddy Flood was on Friday Night Racing and spoke about his time as a jockey in Australia.
While Flood had fond memories of his time Down Under he was in no doubt about whether Ireland had a better system for jump racing than Australia.
“I don’t think there’s anywhere better than Ireland to be honest, jump racing wise.
“Now I won’t say they were burnt out flat horses, they’re not, they’re nice type of horses but I never rode a horse over there that galloped through the line. Even a two miler, you know in that sort of way, you would here. You’ve a good horse that jogs around and its a full horse through the line,” Flood commented.
Flood decided to head to Australia when he was at a crossroads in his life and ended up staying in the country for much longer than he had originally anticipated.
“I went back riding for Dessie and freelancing and stuff and I think I broke my shoulder three times in a year and I was just riding so bad. My head was wrecked you know? I wasn’t drinking at the time either and I think I was coming to that stage where something had to give.
“I didn’t know where to go. I hadn’t a clue. I knew there was Irish boys down in Australia in Melbourne and I said aw maybe if I give it a crack for six months, get fit and get going really well again and then come home. But six months turned into nearly four years,” Flood said.
The Kildareman enjoyed the more casual approach the Australians had towards being a jockey but did find the rules around stewarding in the country quite unusual.
“Racing over there is very punter friendly. The punter gets a fair shout at everything. If you rode a horse that led its last five starts and you didn’t lead on it, you get brought in by the stewards to ask why. It has to be announced over the public to tell them this is what’s going to happen today,” Flood explained.
Flood is back in the country full-time now and is working as a jockey trainer at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education.