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'The last few years have been a slow rebuild' | Philip Rothwell

Calum Atkinson
Calum Atkinson

17:51 7 May 2021

Trainer Philip Rothwell joined Friday Night Racing on Off The Ball to talk all things racing and he reflected on some of the ups and downs of his career.

The Wicklow-based trainer was on a high after his yard landed three winners at last week's Punchestown festival.

"The last two years have been very positive for me," Rothwell explained. 

"Last year, we had a decent season. I was really happy with it, the horses ran well all year. 

"Then Covid came and racing stopped for a few months. We stopped in a positive place though. 

"We have had a good season again this year. I think we’ve had a dozen winners or maybe a few more since Christmas which has been wonderful. 

"I have very good staff, a very supportive family and brilliant owners so that makes life a lot easier." 

Rothwell, who has been training for over 20 years discussed how the last few years have been a "slow rebuild".

"I started off 20 years ago buying cheaper horses and we have had just over 300 jumps winners trained in Ireland now," he said.

"For a couple of years, I was able to stay in the top-6 trainers in the country with results.

"Then the economic crash came along and we probably lost an owner who was the most prominent in the place at the time. We went from having a full yard of 45 horses to maybe 10 left.

"I started training when I was 20 and I felt like I was back there, we had made no progress. Even though I had ten really good years, we had built the facility up at home but then it seemed that we were back to square one all over again. 

"The last number of years has been a slow rebuild."  

Rothwell

Rothwell was asked if he ever considered stepping away from the sport during the difficult days of rebuilding his yard.

"I’d often looked at other things but that was with a view to supplementing what I’m doing," he explained. 

"Whatever age I live to, I’ll die galloping a race horse, that’s for certain.

"I love it, if you didn’t love training national hunt horses you wouldn’t be doing it because the economic gain is not huge. 

"The biggest thing that I worry about is that I can’t provide enough for my family. That if I was doing other things that it might be economically more lucrative.

"However, I had friends who came over to visit and they just said to me 'look around you, the facility you have and the family home you have, It’s a great place for the kids to grow up'. 

"I’m very positive that way and I love life at home. That makes up for an awful lot of the stress and pressure."  

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Friday Night Racing Horse Racing Ireland Philip Rothwell Rothwell Wicklow

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