Gavin Sheehan – Jockey Profile

Gavin Sheehan
License: Flat & Jumps
Date of Birth:
Lodge Hill, Shelfield Green, Alcester, Warwickshire
Flat & Jumps
Notable Horses:
Cole Harden, Annacotty
Titles Awarded:
Biggest Wins:
  • £170,850: Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade 1) – March 12, 2015
  • £28,475: Trophy Chase (A Handicap) (Grade 3) – January 24, 2015
  • £21, 072: Bet365 Hurdle (Registered as The West Yorkshire Hurdle) (Grade 2) – November 1, 2014

About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin Sheehan was crowned champion conditional jockey of the British 2013/14 jumps season, completing a dizzying leap through the ranks to a point where he is already considered one of the fastest rising stars in the sport.

The 21-year-old from Dunmanway, West Cork, in Ireland has fast become the punters’ friend, achieving a tremendous winning strike rate over the last couple of seasons and proving highly adept, in particular at getting the best out of young racehorses in ‘bumpers’, also known as National Hunt Flat races.

Unlike most successful Irish jockeys Sheehan does not come from a racing family and discovered his passion for horses by watching Hollywood cowboy movies!

He didn’t get a horse when starting out on the road to becoming a jockey; his parents instead took the cheaper option of buying the young Sheehan a donkey on which he learned to ride and even took part successfully in donkey races as a teenager. He soon moved on to the fiercely competitive Irish pony racing scene before graduating to proper racehorses, riding as a young amateur for local trainers in Limerick and Cork.

It was obvious to anyone watching that Gavin Sheehan had a natural gift for riding and, with the support of the Grand National-winning Noel Fehily (who hails from the same small town in West Cork), he landed a job as a conditional rider for the Charlie Mann stable, moving to England at the age of 18 to face the new challenge. Young Sheehan managed to partner seven winners during his first season in Britain, then more than trebled that total the following year, ending the campaign with a very promising 24 victories.

Mann’s fortunes were on the wane though and it was at this point that the young Lambourn-based trainer Warren Greatrex moved to invite Sheehan to become his stable jockey, a big appointment and a huge leap of faith for Greatrex. The decision proved inspired, the two young men getting on famously and fast developing a serious sporting partnership. Sheehan ended the 2013-14 season with a total of 50 victories, many of them for Greatrex, enough to give the conditional jockeys’ crown.

Already in the 2014/15 campaign Sheehan and Greatrex have made a tremendous start, Sheehan clocking up an impressive 24 winners by early-August at a stunning strike rate of 31% – 1% higher than the 19-times jumps champion Tony McCoy, a man in whose footsteps many long-time observers of jump racing believe Sheehan could well follow.

Sheehan has an overall career strike rate of 29% when riding for Warren Greatrex, but is also well worth noting when teaming up with trainer Charles Egerton (57%), as well as Suzy Smith (30%), and his former boss Charlie Mann (20%).

Lingfield has proved the most successful track for Sheehan in percentage terms, having ridden 5 winners from 12 mounts at an impressive (42%). He has a 33% strike rate at both Taunton and Warwick, 30% at Wetherby, and 26% at Worcester, Newton Abbot, and Plumpton [1].

There is little doubt that the talented Gavin Sheehan has a tremendous future ahead of him if he can avoid serious injuries in what can sometimes be a brutally tough sport or drug scandals like Frankie Dettori suffered almost terminating his career. Friendly and outgoing, he is already gaining popularity with a number of leading trainers and the sky is definitely the limit if luck stays on his side.