Spotlight on… Paul Mulrennan
At the age of 16, Paul Mulrennan said he had no idea what he wanted to do when he left school.
Despite being part of a successful Gaelic football team, Mulrennan’s height meant he would be disadvantaged if he were to continue the sport and his careers advisor encouraged him to give racing a go.
16 years on, Mulrennan now sits second in the Stobart Jockeys’ Championship with eight wins after a sensational start to the 2015 season.
A double at Scottish track Hamilton on the second day of the season was backed up the following day when Rusty Rocket (9/4) won at Catterick on his only ride of the day.
On Friday (8th May), Mulrennan fired in a treble at Ripon when steering Holy Grail (5/1), Nameitwhatyoulike (6/1) and Especial (9/2) to success before landing a further winner on Saturday 9th May aboard Barney McGrew (11/4) to send him clear at the top of the standings.
Not content with domestic success, Mulrennan then made the journey to France the following day where he landed the Prix de Saint-Georges Group 3 spoils aboard the Michael Dods-trained Mecca’s Angel at Longchamp.
The duo teamed up back in Britain the following day as Mulrennan reinforced his bid for his maiden championship by guiding Easton Angel (11/8) to success at Musselburgh.
Dandino is a horse Mulrennan was closely associated with and the colt’s rise in profile coincided with that of his jockey. Wins in the King George V Stakes at Ascot and the Vincent O’Brien Handicap at Epsom had connections dreaming of a tilt at the St Leger and other Classic races. Ultimately, Dandino would not quite step up to that level, but Mulrennan has continued his success.
Despite having not sat on a horse until he was 16 – he cites Kieren Fallon and Johnny Murtagh as having done similar – the Yorkshire-based jockey’s form is no fluke and, like all of his weighing room colleagues, he has made plenty of sacrifices in order to ride winners.
Back in March, Mulrennan cycled 10 miles from his home to Wetherby whilst wearing a sweatsuit in order to shed a vital couple of pounds for his rides later in the day. It worked and he rode a double that day, before starting this season in fine form.
Yet his biggest win as a jockey may well have come back in 2009 when, at Catterick, he emerged from a photo finish as the victor. Whilst the race may not have been the highest-profile contest, the jockey who he overcame in the finish was his wife, Adele.
As he told the Daily Mail at the time: “I would have got some stick off the boys [in the weighing room] if I had let her beat me. I won’t tell you what she called me going over the line!”